John L. McElroy, age 82, passed away January 2, 2005 after a long hospitalization with Dementia-Alzheimer. John was a long time resident of Murrieta, California, and was one of the founding fathers of that city.
John was born in Tower Hill, Illinois and as a young boy moved with his family to Alberta, Canada. When he was a teenager the family returned to the United States and after serving in the Air Corps., he relocated to Los Angeles where he opened an auto body shop. He married Stephany Hampson, a young actress who was working for Howard Hughes at RKO studios. John and Stephany had three children - Gary, Coleen and another son.
John became a builder and a land developer. While living in Burbank he built houses in Van Nuys and the surrounding area. In Anaheim he built the first industrial subdivision. He moved to Corona in 1962, where he developed the Mountain View Golf Course.
In the mid sixties, John and his brother Lynn, purchased a million acre ranch in Brazil that they later donated to the American Boy Scouts.
In 1968 John purchased acreage in Murrieta and began farming; growing oats, wheat and barley.
In 1988 John spearheaded a group that formed the Murrieta Citizens For Cityhood. He was assisted in this effort by his companion, Carol Kravagna. He became president of that group and donated time, money and cars to the effort. On July 1, 1991, Murrieta became a city. In 1989 John McElroy was named Murrieta Citizen Of The Year.
All of his lifetime, John had a love for aviation and owned more than a hundred airplanes - single-engine planes to war surplus bombers. He also collected antiques; juke boxes, radios and antique autos. His favorite was a 1929 La Salle that he won awards with.
John is survived by his children, Gary and Coleen Coombs, and another son, sisters Marion McElroy and Loa Wilson, grandchildren Dustin McElroy and Austin Coombs. His brother, Lynn McElroy and two sisters, Ina Bruns and Gladys Lembicz, preceded him in death.