Pastors' Memoirs

Alvin T. McElroy, 1906-1998

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  The Rev. Alvin T. McElroy was born in Winder, Georgia, and was the son of Alvin T. McElroy and Loretta Jones McElroy.

  He came to Virginia from Georgia at the age of 17, seeking a job in printing. He joined Schoolfield United Methodist Church at that time and remained a member until his death.

  He was first married to Rosa Mae Carlton McElroy and they had four children. She was his mate for 61 years which included his years of the ministry. He was later married to Madeline Martin McElroy.

  He spent most of his adult life in Virginia, where he worked for Dan River Mills, Inc. He later became a farmer and while working his fields he felt he had "the call" to do God’s work and so he became a "fisher of men." This decision led to a meaningful life benefiting humankind.

  He entered Duke University and, with God’s help, he accomplished his goal to become a minister. After completing his ministerial studies, he began his preaching duties. Among his churches were Woolwine, Payneton, Gretna, Powhatan and the Eastern Shore.

  Alvin McElroy was a "people’s person," as his interaction with people was very good. He was loved and respected by young and old alike. He loved music. In his 21 years of ministry, he started and encouraged his church choirs. He felt that music was a joyful part of religion.

  When the Rev. McElroy retired from the ministry, he hooked up a trailer and traveled the United States. He and Loretta finally settled in Danville, Virginia, in 1972, for he said, "There is no finer place and it is home."

  He was married to Rosa for 61 years. After she passed away he was at a church reunion, and met up with his teenage sweetheart. They were married when they were 80 years old. They had 10 very happy years together.

  As a synopsis of his life, one must consider that he was born during a time of hardship and raised a family of four during the Depression. He overcame many obstacles, and during his ministry he led many people to Chris. . . therefore his life was meaningful. My Dad always said, "I’ve been blessed." And he was.

— Virginia McElroy Strader



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