Harold was the only child of John Henry Laughlin and his second wife Lizzy Murray. He attended rural Minert school, Postville (Iowa) High School, and
business college in Des Moines, Iowa and worked for a while at International Harvestor. In 1914 he bought a 140 acre farm in Washington Prairie near Decorah, Iowa and farmed there for 8 years. In 1917 he married Jo Schroeder and they were the parents of John and Bruce. In 1922 Harold and Jo moved to North Dakota and bought land near Blabon. They acquired 1280 acres of land, a home in Finley, and a winter home in Brandenton, Florida. Harold was a member of the Steele County Commission and the County Welfare Board for 20 years. He was also elected to the Board of Directors of Farmers' Union Oil Company of Finley and was the secretary for 13 years.
Harold and Jo traveled, making trips to Mexico City and driving the Alcan Highway through the Yukon. For their last 10 years, they wintered in Florida due to Harold's heart problems.