New London - LeRoy Stuart Eldridge, 87, of Boston Post Road, East Lyme, passed away Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.
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He was born in New London, July 29, 1927, the son of Herbert and Gertrude (Stuart) Eldridge Sr. He was predeceased by his true love and spouse of 58 years, Eloise, and a brother, Herbert Eldridge Jr.
LeRoy, also affectionately known by many relatives and friends as "Babe", originally due to his skillful ball playing prowess, grew up in New London, attending Harbor School, Jennings School, and graduating from the former Chapman Tech High School, senior class of 1947.
He and several of his classmates joined the armed services in 1945, during their junior year and served in various branches the military. "Babe" volunteered with the U.S. Navy and served first on board the USS General H. W. Butner and then the USS Guadalupe, auxiliary oiler, stationed in the Pacific for the duration and holding the rating fireman second class. After the war, he and his classmates returned to Chapman Tech and graduated in the lauded "Veterans' Class" of 1947. For a number of summer seasons before and after the war, he served as a professional lifeguard at Riverside Park, Greens Harbor Beach (Butler Beach), and most notably at Ocean Beach Park. He began working on a loading dock at Pfizer, Inc., Groton, in 1949, retiring in 1988, as manager of the Groton plant receiving department after 39 years of service.
A 32nd Degree Mason, he belonged to the Bayview Lodge #120, Niantic, and also was a member of the Niantic VFW Post 128. "Babe" was an avid fisherman, golfer, and devoted follower of the Boston Red Sox for years, well prior to their recent World Series successes. He made countless friends and acquaintances during his lifetime, and will be sorely missed by many people, as well as by his and Eloise's constant feline companion of the past 16 years, Edward.
LeRoy is survived by a son, Stuart Eldridge; two grandchildren, Abigail Eldridge and Rebecca Eldridge; his sister, Marilyn G. Davis; and a sister-in-law, Ethel (Myers) Eldridge; a nephew, Steven White; and two devoted nieces, Sharon Kniffen and Penelope Kerr. He also leaves many other cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Special thanks goes out to the staff of Greentree Manor, Waterford, the staff of the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, and the doctors and nurses of the CCU and 5th floor staff at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.
There are no calling hours or funeral services.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Old Lyme Veterinary Hospital, 1 Davis Road W., Old Lyme, CT 06371.
Published in The Day on Sept. 3, 2014