Thomas Patrick McErlean, 77

Monroe /
| 16 Oct 2023 | 02:20

Thomas Patrick McErlean, a resident of Monroe, NY, for over 47 years, died October 6, 2023 at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 77 years old.

Tom was a retired superintendent of N.J. Transit, where his career spanned almost 30 years.

He was born near the town of Bellaghy, Co. Derry, in Northern Ireland, and emigrated to America in 1963. In 1967, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving a combat tour in Vietnam.

He was known for his genial nature, mechanical ability, and overall resourcefulness. Even as a child, Tom used whatever items were at hand to accomplish a goal, including when he crossed the River Bann in a rowboat with one oar and a spade.

He was very fond of animals and the great outdoors, which are traits he passed along to his children. He instilled in them a love of camping, which even his grandchildren enjoy today. Tom was a born survivalist. He was an avid hunter and fisherman in his youth and also taught his children how to garden. He was a perfectionist and meticulous with his work, showing off how perfectly straight his vegetable beds were. Unfortunately, the tidiness of his garden did nothing to prevent a groundhog from eating everything down to the stumps.

Tom had an artistic side, and woodworking was his passion. His “shop” is now a shrine to his vast collection of tools and materials.

He was a member of The Ancient Order of Hibernians Joseph Duelk Jr., Division 1, Monroe, NY, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion. He was a longtime donor to St. Jude’s Cancer Research for Children.

Our family was deeply shocked and saddened to lose our patriarch unexpectedly; he will be missed terribly. He was someone we could always count on in times of need and will forever hold a place in our hearts.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Philomena McErlean, of Monroe, NY, and their children: Karen M. Herbison and Derry A. McErlean, Thomas P. McErlean and his wife Sharon, and Kevin M. McErlean and his wife Ashley.

His grandchildren, Theresa Herbison, Amelia McErlean, and Eleanor McErlean, also survive him.

His nieces and nephews are Ellen and husband Kevin Haugh, Fred Kolkhorst and wife Lori, Marla and husband Kevin Graham, Michael Cleary and wife MaryAnn, Corrine Cleary, Paula and husband John Devlin, Moira and husband Damien Donnelly, and Donna and husband Gerhart Quinn.

Thomas was predeceased by his sisters, Anne and Catherine. He is further survived by his sisters, Margaret and her husband John Kearny, and Eileen and her husband Daniel McKenna; his brother Alec; and his wife Patricia.

Visitation was on Sunday, October 15, 2023, from 4 to 8 p.m. and Monday, October 16, 2023, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Flynn Funeral & Cremation Memorial Centers, 139 Stage Road, Monroe, NY 10950.

A funeral mass was held on Monday, October 16, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart R.C. Church, 26 Still Road, Monroe, NY 10950.

Burial will follow with military honors at St. Anastasia R.C. Cemetery, 21 North Main Street, Harriman, NY 10926.

Funeral arrangements are in the care of Brendan & Thomas Flynn and Flynn Funeral & Cremation Memorial Center staff.