WASHINGTON -- The son-in-law of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Michael McLaughlin, died Sunday while snorkeling near Tulum, Mexico.
Schakowsky and her husband, Robert Creamer, Evanston residents, had gathered their nine children and grandchildren for what was to have been a weeklong vacation while Congress was on break to mark Schakowsky turning 65 last May.
McLaughlin, 38, a New York filmmaker and editor, was married to Lauren, 35. She is the daughter of Creamer and his former wife, Day Piercy, a former Chicagoan now living near New York who was well-known in Chicago for her work on women's rights.
On Sunday afternoon, McLaughlin was snorkeling by himself when a bystander on a beach saw that something looked wrong. Creamer, Schakowsky and Lauren McLaughlin sped out to the scene in kayaks while a neighbor called an ambulance. Michael McLaughlin was taken ashore, but it was too late.
"He was one of the most loving, creative people that I have ever met and he and my daughter had an incredibly loving life," Creamer said.
McLaughlin grew up in Marin County, north of San Francisco, and studied film at Columbia. Lauren McLaughlin runs an early childhood education consulting business and child care center that trains preschool teachers. The couple, married seven years, lived in Queens.
Schakowsky lost her daughter-in-law, Fiona, in July 2005, after a yearlong battle with cancer. She was married to Schakowsky's son, Ian.
"The loss of Michael leaves a big hole in all our lives," Schakowsky said.