William J. “Bill” McElroy, age 96, 4 Crooked Stick Road, Bloomsburg, passed away peacefully from natural causes on Saturday, August 15, 2020, at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, surrounded by his beloved family.
Born on Feb. 29, 1924 in Syracuse, New York, he was a son of the late Richard and Pauline (Berkowska) McElroy. He was a 1942 graduate of Onondaga Academy in Syracuse and earned a M.S. degree in business administration from Syracuse University in 1951 on the G.I. bill.
Bill enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and served in the Pacific Theater as a fighter pilot flying his beloved P-38. He continued serving as a flight instructor with the 174th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard in Syracuse, retiring in 1964 with the rank of Major. He then went to work in finance for Hewlett Packard Corp. retiring after 25 years. After living in Florida for several years, he moved to Bloomsburg in 1997 to be near his family.
He loved flying, growing roses, playing golf and being surrounded by his family. He was a member of St. Columba Catholic Church, Valley of Bloomsburg Post 273, American Legion, Ft. McClure Post 804, VFW, the Quiet Birdman Society, the Susquehanna World War II Veterans and enjoyed attending the Bloomsburg Senior Center.
Bill returned to Syracuse after his war service and married the love of his life, the former Gloria Russi. She preceded him in death on Sept. 26, 2004 and a granddaughter Amanda C. Patti died in 2017.
He is survived by three daughters: Catherine, wife of John Rude, Bloomsburg; Cheryl Howlett, Bloomsburg; Christine, wife of Don Larson, Mine Hill, N.J.; five grandchildren: Linda D., wife of Harold Lampasso, Emily Larson, Madeline Larson, Katherine, wife of Kevin Toolan and Patrick Howlett; four great-grandchildren: Morgan, Sabastian, Connor and Alesandra; one great-great-granddaughter, Ana and many nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 11 a. m. in St. Columba Catholic Church, 342 Iron St., Bloomsburg, by his pastor, Monsignor Robert E. Lawrence. Interment will take place on Wednesday in Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Syracuse, New York. Viewing will be on Monday (today) from 6-8 p. m. at the Dean W. Kriner, Inc., Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 325 Market St., Bloomsburg.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, 11 Museum Road, Reading, PA 19605.
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