Thomas Leslie McElwee, Sr., 89, of Charleston, SC, entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. Les was born on December 23, 1926 in Scranton, PA, son of the late Emily Harding McElwee and the late John Francis McElwee. Les was a devoted husband, a loving, caring father, grandfather and great-grandfather, affectionately known as “PopPop”. He was raised in East Orange, New Jersey and joined the Navy at age 18. He attended The Citadel and graduated with the Class of 1953. He met Mary Clare Condon while at The Citadel and they were married at Stella Maris Catholic Church on August 16, 1952. They lived in several locations in South Carolina, but returned to Charleston in 1960 and raised their family on James Island. Les was the Executive Director of the Brigadier Club at The Citadel for 21 years. He was a two-sport athlete and earned one letter each in football and track. He was considered a pioneer in the athletic fundraising industry and developed a nationwide network of directors which enabled The Brigadier Club to collect donations from around the country. He received the Palmetto Medal Award in 1984 and was inducted into The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991 as an honorary member. He was very involved in his children’s schools, sporting events and always made sure the family attended church together every Sunday. Les was a firm believer in being there for his family, friends and strangers when they were in need. He took in and cared for his aging mother, guided eight children to adulthood, and helped shape the lives of all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Besides his parents, Les is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Clare Condon McElwee; his brother, John Robert McElwee; his sister, Margaret M. Leeman; and great-grandson, Jayse P. McElwee. He is survived by five sons, all of Charleston, SC: Jack and his wife, Denise; Tommy and his wife, Polly; Matthew and his wife, Cheri; Timmy and his wife, Mary; and Kevin; three daughters, all of Charleston, SC: Caroline Newton and her husband, Lee; Emily delMas and her husband, Bruce; and Kathleen Dille and her husband, James; fifteen grandchildren: Johnny McElwee, Jr.; Allison McElwee; Donnie Newton; Andrew Newton; Jennifer Dziengielewski and her husband, Alex; Danny delMas and his wife, Amanda; Katie Rechenbach and her husband, Travis; Thomas McElwee, III; Melissa McElwee; Holly McConnell and her husband, James; Kathryn McElwee; Christopher McElwee; Stephen Dille; Tucker Dille and Hannah Dille; eight great-grandchildren: Caleb Adams, Tripp Mizzell, Lauren Dziengielewski, Gaven and Barrick delMas, Skyler and Elizabeth McConnell, and Clayton Rechenbach. He is also survived by his sisters, Clare Bendziewicz of Chapin, SC and Mary Witt of Newton, New Jersey; and sister-in-law, Sr. Elizabeth Condon, O.P. of Adrian, MI. The family will receive friends on Sunday, October 23, 2016 from 4-7 PM, with a rosary at 4:00 PM at McAlister-Smith Funeral Home West Ashley Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 AM on Monday, October 24, 2016 at The Citadel’s Summerall Chapel, 171 Moultrie St., Charleston, SC 29409. Burial will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, with full military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to The Citadel Brigadier Foundation Memorial Fund in honor of T. Les McElwee, 1953 Scholarship Fund, 171 Moultrie St., Charleston, SC 29409. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at Arrangements have been entrusted to McALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL HOME WEST ASHLEY CHAPEL, 2501 Bees Ferry Road, Charleston, SC 29414, 843-722-8371. Visit our guestbook at charleston

Posted in: Post and Courier

Posted on: 2016-10-24

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