Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Laughlin Barker

Laughlin Barker

Honored June, 2007


Laughlin Barker

Much of the lasting legacy of Laughlin Barker can be seen in bricks and mortar, iron and steel, and, of course, vigas and adobe. As a builder and Realtor, he has been a champion for some of the most significant structures in Santa Fe. He spearheaded the effort to preserve and improve the portal of the Palace of the Governors on the Plaza. He was a major supporter of the Plaza bandstand across the street. Numerous edifices, new and old, all over town show his deep respect for Santa Fe's unique architectural style. And the single largest building in the community, St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, was successfully funded and erected when he was chairman of the hospital's board of directors.

It adds up to a deep and abiding love for the city his grandfather chose after the Civil War, and where the family is firmly rooted still. Laughlin was born here, and graduated from Santa Fe High School. Then for several years he was away, attending the U.S. Naval Academy and pursuing a military career as a fighter pilot and squadron leader, before retiring with the rank of commander. At that point, in the early 1960s, he and his wife, Rene, and their six young children decided to make their home in Santa Fe.

Entering the real-estate business, Laughlin quickly became both successful and prominent. He has been local and state president of the Realtors Association, and also regional vice president of the national board. He is a past president of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. He has served on many boards and committees. He was a founding director of the community-oriented Capital Bank.

Yet his deepest commitment--and most rewarding accomplishment --is his family. As stated by one of his nominators: "He has insisted on a standard of excellence, both personal and business, that asks his children and grandchildren to reach higher and be stronger and better than they think their ability permits. The results are proof of his success. They work hard and give back to their communities."

As a final word, the nominator added: "Lastly, Laughlin Barker is quiet about his accomplishments. He makes his important and innovative contributions without talk or fanfare. It is his legacy."

Story by Richard McCord

Photo © 2007 Steve Northup