Rod McElroy passed away August 19, 2011. Rod was born in Carberry, Manitoba on January 14, 1956 to Margaret and Gerald McElroy. He was the third of what would be five strapping, young, lads in the McElroy clan. Rod’s father worked for Cargill Grain and the McElroy’s got to experience living in many small towns across the Prairies. Rod himself, moved eight times by the time he was eighteen. In every town where he lived, Rod excelled as both a student and an athlete. Being the middle son, Rod had to learn to run fast which became a useful skill to have as an athlete and coach.
After graduating from high school in Vegreville, Rod enrolled at the University of Alberta where he met his future wife, Heather. The story goes, that Rod first met Heather after he failed to woo her roommate. Fortunately, the charms that did not impress the roommate won over Heather and they were married in 1977. One year later Rod attained his Bachelor of Education and took, what was at the time, a one-year “temporary” position at William E. Hay Composite High School.
They move to Stettler meant forming new friendships and many of these began when Rod became a member of the Pumper’s slow-pitch team. Along with his teaching colleagues and basketball buddies Rod gained a network of friends that he cherished and could always count on.
There was no doubt about it; Rod was born to be a teacher. His natural skills and love of students won over his colleagues who took him under their wings and provided him with a strong foundation for his 34 year long teaching career. Rod shared his love of sport with the many teams that he devoted his time to coach. Being the new guy, Rod wanted to impress. In his first year, he coached basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, badminton, and track and field teams. Even though he spent countless hours in the gym, Rod managed to start a family. His first son, Chris, was born in 1984 soon followed by Pat in 1985.
After many years at William E. Hay, Rod felt he had earned the chops to deal with junior high students and took his one-man coaching show to Stettler Junior High School. While there, Rod went back to the University of Alberta to attain his Masters degree in Education.
With his new degree in hand Rod moved into administration, becoming the Vice Principal of Stettler Elementary School in 1991. After fourteen years of helping and inspiring students, the apprentice was ready to become the master and Rod proudly took the helm as principal. Stettler Elementary benefited from Rod’s creativity, ingenuity, and fun-loving vision. He created and implemented many new programs and secretly inspired students with his superhero alter-ego, “Zero the Hero.”
Rod had nothing but praise and admiration for the people he worked with. They were an inspiration to him and an extension of his family.
Wherever Rod was, mischief followed. He was always involved in any pranks that were afloat, several of which have gone into the annals of history. (Think missing door hinges, water guns, “In the Jungle”). Despite his many professional accomplishments, Rod was most proud of his children. He was the best father and spent many hours teaching, coaching, cheering for and driving Chris and Pat to their various sporting activities. He shared with them the glory of winning and the agony of defeat. Most of all he instilled in his boys the importance of doing your best, being good people and making “good choices”.
Rod will be sadly missed by his sons Chris and Pat, Heather, his brothers Kerry (Sue), Kevin (Maryanne) and Travis (Suzanne), many nieces and nephews, brother and sisters in-law,friends and the multitude of loving teachers and colleagues he has worked with. He was pre-deceased by his parents and his brother Wayne.
Rod enjoyed life and would not want his friends and family spending too much time grieving his passing. He would want us to have fun each and every day and “carpe diem.”
Funeral Services will be held at Heartland Chapel of Stettler Funeral Home on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 1:00 PM with a Bar-B-Que to follow the service. Memorial donations may be made at the ATB for a Scholarship in Rod’s memory or to the Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.stettlerfuneralhome.com