YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Johnny McElroy of Youngstown died unexpectedly on Saturday, February 20, 2021, at the age of 74.
Born in Youngstown on August 12, 1946, he was the third of nine children born to Edward, Jr. and Catherine (Glenel) McElroy.
Whether as a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, or the legendary “Number 12” Youngstown State University basketball player, Johnny McElroy was a standout throughout his life.
Growing up as one of the handsome, athletic and popular “McElroy Brothers,” Johnny developed a competitive spirit early in life, playing multiple sports including baseball and basketball. He was an exceptional basketball player for the North High Bulldogs in the early 1960s but was an even more remarkable player for the Youngstown State University Penguins.
Johnny had a gift–an athletic ability rare then and now. Under the leadership of Coach Dom Rosselli, Johnny played for the Penguins from 1965 to 1969, where he led the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons and propelled his squads to an overall record of 73-29 during his four years at YSU but it was on February 26, 1969, in a game against Wayne State University at South High Field House, that Johnny made history and cemented his legendary status as one of Youngstown State’s finest players. In that game–a college game, no less–Johnny scored an astounding 72 points, smashing the record books. He scored more points by himself than Wayne State’s entire team–by 11 points! Only one time since then has any Division II men’s basketball player scored more points in a single game.
Johnny also holds the YSU records in three other offensive categories, including most field goals in a single game (29), most field goals in a single season (310) and most points in a single season (729). He is also ranked first for most points per game for a single season, averaging 28 points. Further, Johnny ranks third for his 52-point game against Illinois Wesleyan on December 28, 1968; tied fourth for free throws in a single game at 14 and fourth in most points in a career with 1,942 points–all at a time long before three-point shots were allowed in the game.
In 1987, Johnny was inducted in the Youngstown State University Athletics Hall of Fame and his Number 12 Jersey remains one of just five to be retired.
While Johnny McElroy could set a basketball court on fire with his grit, determination and skill, it was his kindness, charisma and charm that people were drawn to. Yet, from the time he was just a little boy, Johnny was drawn to only one person–and that was DeLoise Robinson, the love of his life.
Johnny and DeLoise met as children in grade school and grew up in the same Youngstown neighborhood. Though she went to East High and he went to North, they dated in high school. They married in 1969 and were blessed with three daughters, Ursel, Cicely and Holley. Together practically their whole lives, Johnny and DeLoise were first and foremost the very best of friends. They were a team. They complemented each other, balanced each other and took care of each other.
While at Youngstown State, Johnny studied Business Administration.
He began his career at Republic Steel and concluded at Youngstown Sheet and Tube, where he worked for many years.
Though Johnny no doubt had the potential to be one of the great pro-basketball players, family came first. His priority was his wife, his daughters and later his grandchildren. Johnny showed his love for them through his actions. He always provided for his family, never leaving them to want for anything.
Johnny loved to watch sports, especially the Los Angeles Lakers and keep stats. He had many, many friends and was someone you just wanted to be around. Johnny was fun and though he wasn’t fancy or flashy, he had a magnetism about him and a quiet assuredness. People didn’t just like Johnny, they respected him.
Simply put, Johnny was a good and decent man. He was a generous, selfless soul, who always wanted the best for others over himself. Even if he tried to hide it, Johnny was also a little sentimental. He loved his girls and he was very proud of them. He took great satisfaction in his children and grandchildren doing well. He enjoyed sharing stories about his parents and siblings and appreciated the company of his friends.
It is love that was the force behind Johnny McElroy and what will forever bind together his beloved family. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 51 years, the former DeLoise Robinson; his daughters, Ursel McElroy, Cicely McElroy and Holley Richardson; three brothers, Raymond, Robert (Brenda) and Ronald (Linda); two sisters, Catherine Purfey (Kenneth) and Debra (Jerald); his grandchildren and a host of nephews and nieces.
Johnny is preceded in death by his parents; his sister Sylvia and two brothers, Gary and Edward III.
Visitation will be 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021, at New Beginnings Outreach Ministries, 2007 South Schenley Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44511. Calling hours are 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. with the funeral service immediately following.
For the health and safety of everyone during the pandemic, all guests are asked to please wear a mask, social distance, and adhere to the current restrictions.
You may also honor the memory of Johnny by joining the livestream service at New Beginnings Outreach Ministries.
A service of love and dignity provided by the L.E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Johnny McElroy, please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Sunday, February 28, at the following approximate times: 8:58 a.m. on FOX and 9:58 p.m. on MyYTV.