Elected in 1998
“For the development and applications of laser technology to space-based geodesy, atmospheric science, and communications.”
BY BILL D. CARROLL, FRANK L. LEWIS, AND JOHN J. MILLS SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
JOHN H. McELROY—engineer, educator, and scientist—died of a heart attack at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 14, 2007, at the age of 71.
John was born on June 27, 1936, in Marion, Ohio. He attended elementary school and junior high in Marion and was well known in the local library from an early age. His hobbies were reading and football. John’s high school education was obtained at Culver Military Academy where he graduated in 1954 and entered the U.S. Army as a lieutenant. At Culver, John showed interests in English, history, science, art, and sports. He lettered in varsity baseball. His interest and preparation in these areas were certainly evident in his life and his work.
John served in the 11th airborne infantry unit in the United States and overseas until 1957. While serving in Germany, John met his future wife, Ellie, and they were married on March 18, 1957. From 1957 to 1963, he was senior instructor and technical writer at the U.S. Army Air Defense School, in Fort Bliss, Texas, and was twice named instructor of the year. In addition to teaching, John wrote several student texts that were translated into seven languages for use in the United States and abroad.
Following his military service, John enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin and earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1966. While pursuing his baccalaureate degree, John worked in the Quantum Electronics