Robert I. McElroy

Jan 30, 2014

Lt. Colonel Retired

WAYNESVILLE — Robert Imboden McElroy, Lt. Col., retired, 82, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at The Homestead.

He was born at Fort McPherson, Georgia, son of the late George Roland and Pinkie Jewel Swain McElroy.

He spent his pre-military years in attendance at various elementary and high schools over the nation.  He graduated from high school at Marion Military Institute, Marion Alabama, in 1949, and continued there through his first two years of college.  Transferring to the University of Alabama, he continued in ROTC and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the regular army in 1952 after earning his B.S. degree.

Upon completion of his branch course in Field Artillery at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Lt. Col. McElroy was ordered to Korea where he served with the 3rd Inf. Div as artillery liaison officer and battery commander.  Subsequently, he volunteered for Army Aviator Flight Training and after graduation, was assigned to Ft. Benning, Georgia.  He served as an aviation staff officer with Headquarters, Third U.S. Army and as operations officer with a Strategic Army Corps missile battalion at Ft. Sill.  Terminating the latter tour, he was ordered to the Canadian Defense Staff in Ottawa, Canada, and served in a joint staff capacity with the Canadian Army Aviation Section.  Subsequently, he was selected for a command position with the U.S. Army Security Agency where he formed and trained an experimental aviation unit and employed it in an overseas combat theater.  Returning to the U.S., he was assigned to the Combat Developments Command at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.  While serving with CDC, he earned his master’s degree in educational guidance and counseling at American University.  Completing his tour in Washington, D.C., he was assigned to the University of Tennessee as assistant professor of military science where he remained until  his assignment to Carson-Newman College until March 1972.

Lt. Col McElroy attended the Field Artillery Officers Advanced Course, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the Armed Forces Staff College.  His  awards included the Legion of Merit, 11 Air Medals, and three Army Commendation Medals.  He also earned the master Army Aviator Badge and various other campaign and service ribbons.

Bob resided in Haywood County since early 1970 and had been active with the Haywood County Arts Council and served as a volunteer criminal court mediator. He was also a former ski instructor at Cataloochee Ski Resort and Vail/Beaver Creek Ski Resort.

He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Paula Ferree McElroy; three daughters, Dolly Ann Fox and husband, Carter, of Clinton, Tennessee, Mary Kathryn Hampton and husband, Allen, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Margaret Louise Yarbrough and husband, Charles, of Columbia, Maryland; three sons, Robert I. McElroy, Jr. and wife, Janet, of Knoxville, Tennessee, Gurth Christopher Baron of Edmonton, Alberta Canada, and Paul Ferree Baron and his wife, Brandon, of Raleigh, North Carolina; one sister-in-law, Doris K. McElroy, of Hixson, Tennessee; and 10 grandchildren, Seth and Jordan Fox, Hannah, Austin, Dillon, Alli, and Josie McElroy, William Kirkpatrick Baron, and Trey and Piper Louise Yarbrough.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, at First Presbyterian Church of Waynesville with the Rev. John P. Lindsay officiating.  Internment will be at Grace Episcopal Church in the Mountains.  The family will receive friends immediately following the service at the church.

Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Waynesville Building Fund, 305 N. Main Street, Waynesville, NC  28786.

Wells Funeral Homes & Cremation Services of Waynesville is in charge of arrangements.  An on-line memorial register is available at