Roy Elder Sr., 67, avid runner who carried Olympic torch

April 07, 1997|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Roy P. Elder Sr. took up running a decade ago to lose 50 pounds. But after achieving that goal, he didn't stop until suffering a stroke Thursday at his home in Bowleys Quarters as he was preparing for his daily 10-mile run.

Mr. Elder, 67, died Friday at Franklin Square Hospital Center.

A member of nine running clubs, he had placed second for his age group in a March 29 marathon in Chambersburg, Pa. He won hundreds of trophies and ribbons from races in the East and Midwest, and was sponsored by Nike shoes and Power Bar.

Last summer, Mr. Elder was among the Marylanders who carried the Olympic torch for the Summer Games in Atlanta and ran in the 100th Boston Marathon.

But in that marathon, as in others, he was delayed when he stopped to help a fellow participant who became ill, said his wife of 48 years, the former Marion Swain. He stopped during a race in Chambersburg in the Blizzard of 1996 to help pull a woman's car out of a ditch.

"Winning wasn't anything to him," Mrs. Elder said. "His goal was to make one new friend at every race. He ran for the fun of running."

A native of Brookneal, Va., Mr. Elder graduated from high school there before coming to Baltimore to work for the old Glenn L. Martin Co. during World War II. He subsequently worked as a machinist for what is now AT&T Corp. for 20 years, retiring in 1985.

Mr. Elder was a member of the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department, the Maryland Conference of PTAs, and clubs including the Chambersburg Roadrunners, Baltimore Roadrunners and Annapolis Striders.

Services were planned for 11 a.m. today at Middle River Baptist Church, 610 Middle River Road.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Sharon Rankin of North Augusta, Ga.; a son, Roy P. Elder Jr. of Bowleys Quarters; three sisters, Meredith Marstin of Brookneal, Amelia Poindexter of Portsmouth, Va., and Jean Roberts of Lynchburg, Va.; a brother, Lewis Elder of Lynchburg; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Pub Date: 4/07/97

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