Cover photo for Dee Russel McElroy's Obituary
Dee Russel McElroy Profile Photo
1936 Dee 2018

Dee Russel McElroy

June 9, 1936 — September 27, 2018

Dee Russel McElroy, beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend, slipped quietly and peacefully from this world on Thursday, September 27, 2018, surrounded by the love and presence of family and encompassed by God who entrusted him to us. The prayers offered for all of us have provided solace, sustenance and comfort, and will continue to do so as we find our way through the coming days and weeks.    Dee was born in Wharton, Texas on June 9, 1936, to Charles (Mac) and Hessie McElroy. Brother, Robert, was born twelve years later. Special to Dee were first cousins Tom and Mary Ella Risinger, children of his mom’s identical twin sister, Bessie. In his early years, Dee raised many chickens with his mom and rode his bicycle to milk his cow every morning. He and his childhood friends had intimate knowledge of the Wharton storm sewer system and the Colorado River based on personal explorations! During high school, Dee played multiple instruments in the band, sang in the choir, and started playing piano by ear. He also got serious about his studies when one of his teachers, Elma Morris, challenged him by saying if he didn’t straighten up, he wouldn’t amount to anything. Following high school, Dee went to the University of Texas and pledged Sigma Nu where many of his lifelong friendships were forged. Patsy Roecker, high school girlfriend, followed him to UT and their relationship flourished. Dee and Patsy were married in 1957 at First United Methodist Church Wharton. After a stint in the US Army in Richmond, VA, and due to his dad’s declining health, Dee took charge of his father’s insurance business and soon branched out into real estate sales, appraising and consulting. Eventually, he became the executive vice president of Gulf Coast Medical Foundation, steering that organization through the sale of the local hospital and transition into a non-operating, grantmaking foundation.  He accepted leadership roles in many organizations and on many boards: Security Bank and Trust, Colorado County Federal Savings and Loan, Wharton County Junior College, Wharton Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Medical Center, Wharton Lions Club, and First United Methodist Church of Wharton.  He taught an adult Sunday School class for many years, spending hours each week in preparation. His quiet, unassuming leadership in each organization was genuine and heartfelt. Dee loved teaching his three daughters to hunt, fish and gig frogs at the Peach Creek Ponderosa in Hungerford, and endured countless dance and piano recitals with a smile on his face. He instilled a love for music in all three girls through hours of guitar-playing and family singing. He encouraged and supported the exploration of their personal gifts and interests while enjoying his own time playing tennis and jogging. A love for American West culture and cowboy lore grew in Dee as he and Patsy traveled numerous times to Wyoming and Montana for hunting, pack trips and art collecting. Patsy and Dee enjoyed spending time at their second home in New Braunfels hosting friends and family on a regular basis. They eventually moved there full-time, pouring themselves into support of New Braunfels and San Antonio charities, and cultivating new friendships. For the most part, Dee lived a blessed, fulfilled, rich life – loving parents; three children who have each found love and joy; a true partner for life in Patsy, with whom he traveled extensively, served faithfully, entertained lavishly and danced joyfully for almost sixty years; and a God who undergirded him throughout life and now welcomes him home. Those Dee most cherished include: daughter Melissa and husband, Richard Burnham, of Missouri City TX; daughter Shelley and husband, Jim Williams, of Concord NC; daughter Kimberly and husband, Tom Shirley, of New Braunfels TX.  Grandchildren are Hunter Wingfield (Wharton); Austin Wingfield and wife, Shelby, and son, Wyatt Russell (Missouri City TX); Haley Williams McGahey and husband, James (Charlotte, NC); Chad Williams (Salt Lake City UT); Jameson Williams (Salt Lake City UT); Sophia Shirley (Austin);  Colton Shirley (New Braunfels); Amy Burnham Guzman (Sugar Land) and husband, Joseph, and children, Mateo and Victoria;  Jason Burnham (The Woodlands) and wife, Lauren, and children, Addie, Aidan and Sam; Sara Burnham Dickinson (Missouri City) and husband, Curtis, and daughter, Lessa; and Rebecca Burnham Goodman (New Braunfels), husband, Louis, and daughter, Ada Mae. Also those who have been his loving family over the past few years are his caregivers: Melanie Alcock DeVall, Nela Castilleja, Jenny Davis, Lindsey Garza, Briana Green, Robin Herrera, Kathy Johnson, Kim Kuriata, Tina Molina, Relly Stiggers, and Rosa Villarreal. Dee’s heart may no longer be beating in his chest, but his heart continues to beat in all of us. A remembrance and celebration of life will be held at First United Methodist Church Wharton on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 3PM. A private burial will take place at Wharton City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Hope Hospice in New Braunfels, First United Methodist Church in Wharton, or Wharton County Recovery Team for the West End Initiative (Hurricane Harvey recovery in Wharton’s West End).
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

1717 Pioneer Avenue, Wharton, TX 77488

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