John McElroyJohn E. McElroy III, husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, public servant, and cop died a second time on Friday, January 15, 2010. This time, he won’t be coming back.
John E. McElroy III, husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, public servant, and cop died a second time on Friday, January 15, 2010. This time, he won’t be coming back. John died for the first time a number of years ago of a sudden cardiac event. Later, eyes twinkling, he would tell family and friends he’d died but was “rejected” and “sent back.” John retired early from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation where for 19 years as a Special Agent, he pursued and brought to justice corrupt public officials, white collar criminals, and domestic terrorists. His innate skill and acumen in complex criminal investigations was derived from his engineering degree from the University of North Dakota, a law degree from Washburn School of Law and five years as a Shawnee County, Kansas Deputy Sheriff. Legend goes that he drove faster than any human being ever drove a law enforcement vehicle on the roads he helped build in an earlier career with the Kansas Department of Transportation. In 2003, Governor Kathleen Sebelius appointed him Executive Director of the Kansas State Gaming Agency, a position he held at the time of his death. This was an acknowledgement of John’s designation as a Certified Fraud Examiner, his skills and knowledge of complex financial transactions, law enforcement, criminal investigation, and human behavior. John and his staff at KSGA dedicated themselves to effective regulation of Native American casino gaming in Kansas. Born on February 26, 1944 in Santa Monica California to John E. McElroy, Jr. and Natalie Chaloner McElroy. John is survived by his wife, Martha Hodgesmith, son, Matthew McElroy and Matthew’s fiancée, Jessica Pool of Topeka, Kansas. Peter McElroy of Jamestown, ND, Professor James McElroy (wife, Dionne; daughters Emily, Heidi, and Julie) of Ames, Iowa, and sister Cathy Davis (Bart, husband; daughter Meghan, son, Michael) of Jamestown, ND and former wives, Mary McElroy and Annette McElroy of Topeka, Kansas. Betting on the third time being the charm, John married Martha Hodgesmith on June 3, 1995 at John’s home in Topeka, Kansas. John’s enduring commitment to continuous romantic gestures to Martha throughout their marriage culminated in his dedication to ensuring their home was physically, universally accessible for persons with disabilities. John was an active fresh and salt water sailor, achieving certified ocean captaincy; loved driving fast, year round, in beautiful convertibles, was enamored of all tractors and heavy equipment; was enthralled to own, wear, and use gadgets galore; became a budding RV enthusiast, and was a fierce advocate for the use of a Segway as a mobility device for persons with disabilities. John successfully advocated for and obtained Segway access to a Topeka shopping mall. John told great stories, pissed people off, sent bad people to jail, sought justice where justice was demanded, respected people for who they were, was a passionate mentor, made people laugh and now has the tears of many on his passing. Though one tough and unyielding old bird in some ways, he was a stalwart and caring friend with a rapier wit and the kind of warmth that can only come from a kind, kind heart. He accepted his fate and wasn’t afraid to die, as the life he was given the second time around wasn’t wasted. A memorial and celebration of John’s life will be held on the afternoon of Saturday, February 27, a day after his 66th birthday, at Grace Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas. To continue John’s s commitment to “doing the right thing”, contributions can be made to the Music Ministry, Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka, Kansas; Kansas Land Trust, www.klt.org, Midland Hospice, www.midlandcare.org, and Segs4Vets at www. Segs4Vets.org
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