Leroy Edward Eley, Sr., a loving and devoted father, grandfather, son, brother, friend, and Military Instructor Pilot was born May 27, 1927 in Harlem, NY and transitioned from this earth into the arms of his heavenly Father, on August 30, 2012. He attended high school in the City of New York and at the age of 17, he volunteered for the United States Army Air Corp by successfully passing a two-year college equivalency test for military flight training. He later was assigned to Class 46-D at Tuskegee Army Airfield, in Tuskegee, AL at age 18. After WW-II, Mr. Eley moved to the Long Island, NY area where he continued flight training in a civilian capacity, being taught by three African-American Flight Instructors from the Tuskegee Army Airfield. He subsequently became one of two African American instructor pilots for the “Stick and Rudder Club”, which was the first African American Flying club in the Eastern United States. He was also one of two African-Americans to serve as an Aviation Inspector Technician for the Lunar Excursion Module (aka the L.E.M. – the space craft that landed on the moon) for the Apollo Space Program.
In March 2007, Mr. Eley received the highest honor in the United States when he received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor given by President George W. Bush. Mr. Eley is a Founder and charter member of Negro Airmen International, Black Pilots Association, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (Atlanta Chapter).
He is preceded by the love of his life, Dorothy Ming Eley. He is survived by son, LeRoy E. Eley, Jr. (Dolores) of Amityville, Long Island, NY, daughter Wendy Eley, grandsons, Marques D. Eley (Eileen) of Bloomfield, NJ, Joshua Walker, granddaughters, Aja Eley, Amber Walker, great grandson, Cooper Eley of Bloomfield, NJ., brothers, Charles Eley (Susan) of Tampa, FL, Melvin Eley (Eleanor) of Newark, NJ, son-in-law, James H. Walker, III and daughter-in-law, Tanya McIntyre Eley.
Homegoing celebration will take place Thursday, September 6, 2012, 11 am, at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church (534 Fairburn Rd. SW Atlanta).
From the 135th Street Agency