“BEAR” Neil A. McElroy, age 73 of Cridersville, passed away on Thursday, January 20, 2022, at his home. He was born March 25, 1948, in Lima, Ohio to the late Nathan Eugene and Berthamae (Mechling) McElroy. On August 24, 1974, he married Lori E. Dawson, who survives.
As a young man, Neil served his country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, sustaining severe injuries. For his service, he was the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Former owner of Lima Car Care and retired truck driver, Neil was a lifelong motorcycle and classic car enthusiast. His passion for motor vehicles displayed itself in many ways, from his avid support of racing of all types to the many project vehicles of his own that he worked on over the years.
Most recently Neil was the owner/operator of the Bear’s Den in Cridersville, where his legacy lives on. Those who knew Bear will remember him as ornery and stubborn, but also generous. He was a lifetime member of the DAV, a member of the VFW and AMVETS, and frequent contributor to the annual ABATE Toy Run. His many friends will all agree that he had a heart bigger than he was.
Additional survivors include 3 sons – Dan D. (Virginia) Neal of Cridersville; Neil Kenneth (Cheryl) McElroy of Marietta, OH; Nathan A. (Shauna) McElroy of State College, PA; 2 daughters – Brandi, and Laurene ‘Laurie’ Lewis-Cale of Parkersburg, WV; 9 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren (and one on the way); 2 brothers – Nathan D. ‘Denny’ (Janet) McElroy of Baltimore, OH, and Gary M. (Debbie) McElroy of Wapakoneta.
A gathering in Bear’s honor will be held from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at Bayliff & Son Funeral Home, Cridersville. Military rites will be conducted by the VFW at 5 p.m.