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Matthew Thomas McElroy


1962 - 2020
Matthew Thomas McElroy Obituary
The brilliant life of Matthew T. McElroy came to a peaceful end on February 1, 2020, at his home in Torrance, where Matt lived for all of his 58 years, with his loving family at his bed side.

Matt was born on January 31, 1962 to parents Mike and Mae McElroy, at a time where there was a lack of information and a lot of fear surrounding Down's Syndrome. Well-meaning people told Mike and Mae that bringing Matt home might ruin their current family of 5 young children. Our parents were scared and shed tears at the hospital, but they did not waver. It was the last time they would ever cry about Matt. They told us that Matt was our new brother, that he was an angel and a gift, and that we would accept him unconditionally. It was that simple. Our Mom and Dad were heroes and growing up with Matt turned out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to our wonderful family.

At our home on Greenmeadows Ave, Matt joined his sister and 4 brothers, soon to be 5 with the birth of his younger brother Kevin in 1965. Matt was a part of all that went on in our busy and active family. Growing up with brothers who played sports, Matt became a huge sports fan, rooting hard throughout his life for the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings and, especially, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. But Matt did not just watch sports. He was a great athlete in his own right: basketball in our backyard, football on the lawn or in the street, softball at Newton School, body surfing at Torrance Beach, golfing at Sea Aire, bowling at South Bay Bowl, Matt did it all and did it well.

Matt was an active participant in the Special Olympics and his room was filled with trophies and medals from his efforts in bowling, basketball, swimming, weightlifting, track, and softball. Matt loved to compete and was confident and cool under pressure. For his lifetime of achievements, Matt was inducted into the South Bay Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 2006.

To witness Matt in his glory, please watch the video where he plays one on one in an NBA commercial in 1981 with Jim Chones of the World Champion Lakers at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2neG32O-dg&t=11s

Matt attended Columbia School in Torrance from 1967 to 1984, and afterwards worked at several auto dealerships in the South Bay, before retiring from the workforce in 2010. He was hard working, dependable, and respected by his bosses and co-workers.

Matt was the life of every party. He loved to dance, banter, kid and tease, and enjoyed doing toasts at family gatherings, toasts that usually ended with Matt recounting his latest 200 plus bowling game. Matt had a huge smile, a positive personality, a great heart, and a sweet soul. He treated people with respect and empathy, and he did not have a mean bone in his body. We could all learn a lot from following his example. Matt touched everyone he came in contact with. Our friends became Matt's friends. Decades later, our now adult friends would talk about the huge impact Matt had on them, and the lessons they learned, lessons that they passed on to their children, telling them about this special person they grew up with.

Matt's greatest love was his family. His bond with his Mom and Dad, his sister and brothers, and his nephews and nieces, was unique. He was an incredible son, brother, brother in law and uncle. Matt will never be forgotten. We will always revel in telling stories and sharing memories about Matt. His indomitable spirit will live on, there for us to call on when we need it. Matt was truly a gift to all of us.

Matt is now reunited in heaven with Mom and Dad and our brother, Mike. He is survived by his sister, Eileen Walker (Woody); brothers, Pat (Bonnie), John (Megan), Dan (Pamela) and Kevin; sister in law, Susan McElroy; nephews, Daniel, Sean, Ian, Brendan, Quinn, Duffy, Scott and Patrick; nieces, Darcy; his goddaughter Carly, Bridget, Tess, and Katie.

The family would like to thank Eric Doran and the UCI Down Syndrome Project for their long support of Matt, Dr. James Dougher (Matt's personal physician), and Jackie Taylor and the Hospice Team at Torrance Memorial, for their efforts in caring for Matt. We would especially like to thank Abeth Pedron, who provided Matt with loving care the last 3+ years at his home on Greenmeadows.

We will have a private Mass for Matt and are planning a memorial and party on April 18 to honor and celebrate his wonderful life. We will pass the word to all once the time and location are set.
Published in Daily Breeze on Feb. 6, 2020
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