Richard Patrick McElroy, 85, passed away at his home in Waxahachie on March 18, 2011.
Pat was born on Dec. 5, 1925, in his “beloved” Waxahachie, where he lived most of his life. The son of Myrle and Ed McElroy, Pat was the youngest of five children. He was known as “Pat” to his friends, “Daddy” to his children, “Papaw” to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, “Uncle Pat,” to his 13 nieces and nephews, and “Ole Purple” and “Silver” to his golf buddies and friends.
Pat attended Ferris Ward Elementary School and was an Eagle Scout. After graduating from Waxahachie High School in 1942, he attended college at North Texas Agricultural College (now UTA), until he was eligible to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps on his 18th birthday. He then joined his three older brothers in World War II and worked during the war as a radar operator, tower control operator and GCA operator.
After the war, he attended Texas Christian University and received his bachelor’s degree in business in 1949. A true Horned Frog, he was loyally devoted to TCU sports (in good times and in bad), covered his golf cart in TCU purple, and barely went a day without proudly wearing a piece of TCU purple clothing. In fact, his devotion to TCU resulted in his nickname, “Ole Purple.”
It was at TCU that he also met his future wife, Jean Claire Stinson. They were married in Corpus Christi, Texas, on June 24, 1950. They lived for most of their married life in Waxahachie, where Jean Claire was a fourth-grade school teacher, loving wife and wonderful grandmother. Pat affectionately called her “his bride” for the whole of their 36 year marriage until her death in 1986.
Upon graduating from TCU, Pat worked for Texas Power and Light Company. In their first year of marriage, Pat and Jean Claire lived in 13 different cities and could pack all of their belongings into the back of their car. He then sold dictaphone machines in the 1950s and also worked as a salesman for Container Corporation of America. In the early 1960s, he joined Waxahachie Federal Savings & Loan Association as its managing officer. He remained as Chief Executive Officer until his retirement in 1987.
Pat was an active member in Waxahachie’s civic and social life. He was a lifetime member of Central Presbyterian Church. He recently proudly proclaimed that he was the oldest active member of the church. He coached Little League baseball and served on the Waxahachie City Council from 1988-1994, during which time he served a term as mayor. He was also a member of the Optimist Club and many of his friends will remember his calling of bingo numbers during the annual Optimist Carnival. In 1991, he was honored by the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce as Waxahachie’s Outstanding Citizen.
Pat was an avid golfer and a lifetime member of Waxahachie Country Club. Until only recently, he played golf regularly at the club with his buddies, whom he affectionately referred to as the “geriatric crowd.” Pat lived on the golf course for many years and was very proud of all his holes-in-one. He was also a faithful member of Waxahachie’s renowned “Fun Club,” where he delighted in his lifelong friendships and regularly entertained those friends with his poetry recitations.
In 1995, Pat married Mattie Lou Smith, with whom he had been friends in high school. Pat and Mattie Lou were very involved in Waxahachie events, and remained active participants in the lives of his children and grandchildren and their many nieces and nephews. Mattie Lou was a constant and loving wife to Pat for the 15 years of their marriage. Pat loved to say, “I am a very lucky guy, as I’ve hit the jackpot twice.”
Pat was preceded in death by his parents, Myrle and Ed McElroy; his brothers, John McElroy, Bodie McElroy and Tom McElroy; his sister, Jeanne McElroy Robinson; and his loving wife of 36 years, Jean Claire McElroy.
Pat is survived by his wife, Mattie Lou McElroy; his son, Pat McElroy Jr. and his wife, Valerie; his daughter, Cathy McElroy Moore and her husband, John; his grandchildren, Maggie Moore Beavers and her husband, Bret, Brooks Moore and his wife, Kassie, Remy McElroy Davis and her husband, Ryan, Molly Moore Hagan and her husband, Jonathan, and Trent McElroy; and his great-grandchildren, Hank Patrick Hagan and Claire Victoria Davis. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
The family appreciates all the care-givers that attended to Pat during his final days, and particularly Clara Robinson, who has cared for Pat and Mattie Lou for many months.
The memorial service will be held at the Central Presbyterian Church in Waxahachie at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 20. A visitation will be held in the parlor of the Central Presbyterian Church before the service, beginning at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Waxahachie Foundation and the Central Presbyterian Church of Waxahachie.