Paul W. McElroy Jr.
1920 — 2013
WAYNESVILLE — Retired Lt. Col. Paul William McElroy Jr., age 93, passed away Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, at his home after an extended illness.
He was born Sept. 1, 1920 in Waynesville to Chief Warrant Officer, Paul William McElroySr. and Marie Thurnau McElroy. He lived on Love Lane until the family moved to Panama City, Panama, from 1928 to 1932. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1937 and graduated from Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia in 1938. During this time, he became an Eagle Scout. He attended William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where he met his future wife, Doris Colkitt. In 1941 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he reported to full active duty at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. In 1943, he was stationed in Bassingbourn, England with the 91st Bomb Group – 8th Air Force as a navigator/pilot flying B17 Bombers. His primary aircraft was a B17 bomber called the Bloody Bucket. He returned to the states and in 1944 married Doris Colkitt. In 1952, he was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was involved in the Korean Air Lift, transporting wounded troops and supplies to Japan. He moved back to Haywood County in 1954.
Paul had a passion for life and the outdoors. He was involved with the Haywood County Boy Scouts and was the head scout master of Troop #2. He was the Air Force Assistants Officer for the NC wing of the Civil Air Patrol Flying Search and Rescue Missions for Downed Aircraft. He was an avid golfer and was a member of the Waynesville Country Club. He and Doris won many of the club golf championships over the years and won the Governor’s Cup several times. Before his illness, Paul was the club’s oldest “Active” member.
Paul is preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Doris Colkitt McElroy; his parents, retired Chief Warrant Officer, Paul William McElroy, Sr. and Marie Thurnau McElroy; stepmother, Josephine Medford McElroy; and one sister, Dorothy McElroy Lawrence.
Paul leaves to cherish his memories two daughters, Rebecca McElroy Cedrone of Waynesville; Susan McElroy Davis and her husband, Alney James Davis, of Winston-Salem; a half-brother, William L. McElroy and wife, Joann McElroy; a half-sister, Myrna McElroy Campbell and husband, Jim Campbell; four grandchildren, Johanna Webb D’Auria, Andrew James Davis and wife, Tanya, Paul Victor Cedrone and wife, Denise, and Ashley Cedrone Powell and husband, Jeremy; seven great-grandchildren, Daniel Webb, Pierce D’Auria, Austin J. Davis, Dane and Rhyyn D’Auria, and Brooke and Jaxon Cedrone.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation and gratitude to their father’s Care Angels, Melissa Rathbone, Betty Nixon, and Bobby Rogers for their support, gentle loving care and compassion shown to their father during this very difficult time. They would also like to express their appreciation to the members of Haywood County Hospice and Home Health Care for their support and guidance.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, at First United Methodist Church of Waynesville with the Rev. Sanford L. Giles Jr. officiating. The family will receive friends from 12:30 to 2 p.m. prior to the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Red Cross, 100 Edgewood Road, Asheville, NC 28804 or to a charity of one’s choice.
For those who desire, an online memorial register is available at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.