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In memory of J McRee Elrod (1932-2016)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Rev. J. McRee “Mac” Elrod died on June 16, 2016 at the age of 84.


Mac was born on March 23, 1932 to Angus Elrod and Lona McRee Elrod. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia in 1952; a Master of Arts from Scarritt College of Nashville, TN in 1954; a Master of Arts from George Peabody College of Nashville, TN in 1954; and a Master of Science in Library Science from George Peabody College in 1960.


In October, 1964, Rev. Elrod was ordained to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He transferred to the Unitarian Universalist faith in the late 1960’s, and received Unitarian Universalist ministerial fellowship in 1970. He served as Minister-at-Large to the North Shore Unitarian Church of West Vancouver from 1970 to 1972. His community ministry included working with war objectors and refugees. In 1972, he was called to serve as minister to the Westminister Unitarian Church of New Westminster, British Columbia, from 1972 to 1982. Rev. Elrod retired from the ministry in 1982.


Mac served as Head of the University of British Columbia's Library Cataloguing Division from 1967 to 1978. After leaving the University, he founded his own company, Special Libraries Cataloguing, which provided remote cataloguing services to special libraries around the world. Mac was an internationally known figure in the world of library cataloguing and was active in online librarianship forums up until a few months before his death.


While living in Canada, the home of Mac and Norma became a focal point for anti-war activism, with hundreds of war objectors passing through, receiving shelter, food and counselling. Mac campaigned for civil rights, non-violence, and LGBT issues. He came out as a gay man in the 1970s and he gradually became more vocal concerning gay rights. He personally paid for the Canadian Unitarian Council to act as an intervenor in the 2004 Canadian Supreme Court hearings concerning same-sex marriage. In his later years, Mac became involved in drug policy reform, and together with his son, Matthew, he gave numerous talks on the topic.


Mac’s longtime friend, Moralea Milne, remembers Mac as, “An unforgettable character, a committed humanitarian, never afraid to share his opinions nor speak on behalf of social justice and the environment, a friend who made me a better person through knowing him.”


He is survived by his wife, Norma Cummins Elrod; son, Matthew; daughters Lona, Cara, Christy and Laura; three sons-in-law; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by his son, Mark.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders, 333 7th Avenue

New York, NY 10001-5004.


Notes of condolence can be sent to: The Elrod Family, 4493 Lindholm Road, Victoria BC V9C 3Y1. Messages of remembrance can be sent in care of Mac’s wife, Norma Elrod and/or daughter, Lona Manning

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