Daughters: Plane crash victim was a loving father of seven

COURTESY PHOTO | David McElroy was a fun-loving guy who had may hobbies and loved his family, his daughters said.

If Dave McElroy set his mind to something, he did it, his daughters said.

When he wanted a motorcycle, he went out and bought one. Went out and got himself a boat, too.

“He lived life to the fullest,” said his 25-year-old daughter Dana.

So it was no surprise to Mr. McElroy’s family when more than a decade ago, he took up flying. Now, in the days following the Sunday plane crash in Shirley that claimed the life of the Orient builder and a woman to whom he was hoping to sell his plane, his family is left wondering what exactly happened.

“It’s a very fragile time,” said daughter Kaitlin, 19. “Everyone’s asking what went wrong. We’re trying to figure it out ourselves. Ultimately, though, we just want to make sure everyone knows what a great dad he was.”

And you’d have to be a great dad, they joked, to always have a smile on your face despite being the father of seven children. The oldest of Mr. McElroy’s four girls and three boys is a 26-year-old daughter. His youngest, an 8-year-old girl.

His daughters said that even as he continued to find new hobbies to keep that smile on his face, he always made family his No. 1 priority.

“He was just a great, great family man,” Dana McElroy said. “He always made everyone laugh.”

Mr. McElroy grew up in Sayville as the second oldest of four children. He made his living as a developer and was even profiled in a 2001 New York Times story that referenced the sprawling waterfront homes he built along the North Fork from Cutchogue to Orient.

Asked to describe her father in one word, Dana offered two: “Trustworthy and dependable.”

Kaitlin said her dad was simply, “Fun.”

“He loved boats, cars, planes, jet skis, quads, you name it,” she said. “He always had things people told him he could never do, and then he did them.”

Visiting hours for Mr. McElroy will take place Friday, Aug. 24, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Bayport-Blue Point Funeral Home, 683 Montauk Highway in Bayport.

A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, Aug. 25, at 10 a.m. at St. Lawrence R.C. Church on Montauk Highway in Sayville. Interment will follow.

Donations may be made to McElroy Children’s Fund, c/o Bridgehampton National Bank, P.O. Box 1567, Southold, NY 11971.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier post mentioned visiting hours on Thursday. The funeral home later amended its release. The visiting hours above reflect the update.

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