Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Deputy Sheriff Dennis Ray McElderry

Davis County Sheriff's Department, Iowa

End of Watch Friday, January 3, 2003

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Deputy Sheriff Dennis Ray McElderry

Dennis,

I know I haven't written in forever but know that you've been on my mind a lot, especially in the last year. I turned 45 last year. For some reason it felt like a really big deal - more than turning 30 or 40. So much so that I actually ended up planning a birthday celebration - axe throwing and dinner with friends. After I thought about it a while I realized that when you died you were 45 and I guess since your life ended at 45 I had it in the back of my mind that maybe mine would end too. It felt like the beginning of the end. Sounds silly but turning 45 made me feel old and yet, I never thought of you as old. I remember when we talked about our age difference and the future and you said that it didn't matter how old you were you'd always have the energy to chase after me. LOL Oh how I miss you and those moments. Needless to say, I survived 45 and made it to 46 and counting while you get to be "forever young."

Since you left the world has become a bit of a scary place, at least in the last year or so. It seems like crime is going up everywhere and there seems to be a "war" on law enforcement with calls to defund the police. COVID is spreading like wildfire and it seems like nowhere is safe any more. I'm lucky to be able to work from home and have a supportive employer but other people are struggling everywhere. It's a sad state of affairs and our politicians are not helping things as much as I think they should. I often wonder what our lives would've looked like amidst all this had you still been here. Somehow, despite all this chaos your kids seem to be thriving.

Jennifer is smart and headstrong. She's one of these people who if she sets her mind to do something she will do it. I'm proud of how Jennifer is able to handle whatever life throws at her with grace and class. I love how she always has Blake and Taylor's backs. Before you died, you talked about getting back to running again and Jennifer seems to have picked up where you couldn't. Not just by running but by lifting weights and being involved in sport. She works a full time job and still finds time to also craft and have a social life. I wonder sometimes where she finds her energy. I often wondered the same about you at times. Probably the best thing to happen to Jennifer in the last year or so is that she got got remarried. I think she's finally found in Logan the "one" who will walk with her through this life and push her to be the best version of herself. I was lucky to be able to share in their wedding day and it was obvious to see how much they love each other. I ended up giving her the sapphire necklace you sent me when you first knew you loved me as a wedding gift. We hadn't even met yet but somehow you just knew. You were always a step ahead of me. Needless to day, it was hard to let go of as it was a memory of a time that meant so much to me. I really hope that Jennifer and Logan have a love like ours - a love that is pure and genuine, a love without conditions, a love where the goal is to make each other happy because in the end that's what love should be. I know you've been watching over Jennifer and the kids so I'm sure you know that Jennifer & Logan are expecting their first child next year. We are all super excited. Jennifer has grown to be such an amazing young woman and I have no doubt she'll be a great mom just like Taylor has become. I just can't wait to meet her little one!

Speaking of Taylor, she sure has grown up into a beautiful woman since you've been gone. There have been a few hiccups along the way but I think she's in a good place in her life right now. Full of sugar and spice, Taylor is an amazing mom to Tyce (that kid has the best smile!). She never fails to put him first - kind of like you did with your kids. Taylor went to college to study criminal justice but now she works with animals. It seems like she's found her passion as from what I hear she's really good at her job. I haven't met him yet but Taylor also seems to have a good man in her life right now and it's nice seeing her so happy again. Even though she and Trevor are no longer together I'm proud of how they have come to work together to give Tyce the best life they possible. Taylor and Tyce have been taking good care of the house and have really brought some life to that old place. You know, I had a dream a while back that I had come down to visit and I was staying in the house. You had survived the accident and I remember walking past the room that used to be Taylor & Jennifer's room and I saw you and Tyce laughing, playing, and having a grand old time. I like to imagine that your spirit lives on in that house and that you are with Tyce, Emersyn, and the kids as they walk through life.

Blake and I have kind of lost touch a little. I missed him on my last couple of visits to Iowa but we keep in touch mainly through Facebook. People always say how much Blake looks like you and the older he gets the more I see it. I imagine it must be hard living up to your memory sometimes but I know you know Blake is a good person in his own right (as are all your kids) despite some of the challenges he's faced along the way. Probably Blake's greatest achievement is what a great dad he is to Emersyn. (She sure is a cutie!) It's obvious how much Blake loves her and I can see how hard he works to make a good life for her. Blake has a beautiful home that he built, has taken on some farm jobs, and runs a pretty successful pizza business - maybe all the frozen pizza we used to eat inspired him. LOL Blake also has a great girl in his life - Samantha - and I love seeing his smile in photos when they are together. Sam loves him, she fights for him, she never gives up on him. I think that's exactly what Blake needed. They are expecting a child early next year. I know he/she will be beautiful when they get here and that Blake & Sam will be great parents. I can't wait to meet him/her!

There is obviously a lot to be thankful for where the kids are concerned. Honestly, I always felt bad when I moved away. They had lost you and then to lose me. Looking back, I wish I had tried harder to stay. I am so glad to still be able to be a part of the kid's lives, even from a distance. I hope they know how much I love them and that I'm always there for them even across the miles. Anyhow, I just wanted you to know what great people your kids turned out to be. I like to think you had a hand in bringing some of those blessings into their lives by directing the right people and opportunities their way. I pray that you continue to look over them and walk with them as only you can. Even though they are adults they still need their dad. They always will.

I still hear from your mom and dad and sisters every now and then and got to visit with them while I was down for Jennifer & Logan's wedding. Your parents are slowing down a little as they get older but they seem to be doing well and keeping busy. I love that your mom takes time to write and update me on all the gossip every now and again. Debbie retired finally and with all this COVID stuff I think she picked the right time to do it. I know Dawn was dealing with some health issues but I hear she is doing well and still managing to keep busy. Little Morgan is in college and Debbie & Diane's kids are grown with kids of their own. Time is flying but I know they still miss you and Diane and think of you both often. When you can please look out for them. I know they still need you too.

One of the things that has really surprised me since you've been gone is some of the friendships I've made. I never thought Deb and I would be friends but we've found a way to work together in the interest of the kids. I actually sent her a bunch of your old clothes a while back and she was able to make a couple of beautiful quilts with them for Tyce and Emersyn so they would always know their grandpa. Even though your relationship didn't end of good terms I think you would be proud of all that she's done to encourage the kids to remember you and to help the grandkids know you. Believe it or not, I also got to meet and become friends with Cindy as few years ago as well. She has a good sense of humor and a good heart. She was happy to hear that you had a good life and that you had found happiness at the end of it. I think a small part of Deb & Cindy's hearts will always belong to you. It took me a while, but I'm in a place where I can honor that time you shared with them because that time helped to make you the man that I came to know and love but I still wished I'd met you sooner so I could love you longer. We had so much life left to live.

Not long after you died the Harsch family kind of adopted me. We got so close that when Ronna had her babies she asked me how it felt to be a "grandma." (Don't worry, I didn't get close enough to be forced to do farm work with Monte. LOL) The Harsch family never fails to have a room for me on my visits and I honestly don't know how I would have got through all these years without them. Thank you for bringing them into my life. I am also grateful that you brought Nancy and her cousin Eric into my life. Eric is now with you up there but Eric always made a point to make time for me - to listen and to laugh at my shenanigans. Nancy never failed to show me around and road trip with me. She let me talk when I needed a friend and never said no when I wanted to share stories about you. I can't thank Nancy enough for being a light when I needed one. I was in a pretty dark place when you left.

I know you weren't very religious but the Drakesville church really opened their doors to me. Pastor Kevin always made me feel welcome. I didn't come from a religious background but some of the friendships I made there really helped to carry me through and over time and helped me to really come to discover my faith. You have a couple of special members there with you - Carole Raskie & Betty Swaim. Please give them hugs for me. I miss the warmth they brought into my life during my visits.

Lastly, I think some of the strongest friendships I've made are with other survivors who've lost their loved ones in the line of duty. I have no doubt that you and their "blue angels" had a hand in helping us find each other. I know I could not have found any sense of peace without them. They let me know I wasn't alone and that it was okay to be happy again. You have one of those survivors up there with you now as well - my good friend Kelly Glossip. Kelly brought so much light into my life even when he was dealing with dark times. I don't know that Kelly ever really knew what a good man he was but he was one of my best friends. I miss him so much. Please give him and his Dennis a huge hug for me.

Once again I've rambled on forever here and yet I feel like there is so much more to say but I think I'll just leave it at I LOVE YOU even after all these years. Please hug all of my "angels" for me - you sure are in good company up there. Please keep looking out for all of us down here and come visit me in my dreams once in a while. I miss you!

Forever love,

Jocelyne
_____________

(EVER MINE - Luke Combs)

"Amidst the grips of these troubled times,
Way back to you I always find.
You're the wind that whispers through the pines,
Bloom in the rows green on them vines.
Until we meet again my love sincerely signed,
I'm ever yours, you're ever mine.

If you should hear it's come my time,
Way back to you I always find.
I'll be the wind that whisper through the pines,
Pitch in the black, star in the shine.
Meet again on the other side,
I'm ever yours, you're ever mine."

Jocelyne

November 11, 2020

16 years to day that you have missed with all of us. Not a single day gets any easier. We recently moved into your house and i'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard at times. Tyce... oh where to start with him. You two would have been the best of friends! He kept asking when we moved where grandpa was and that was a hard thing for him to grasp.
We love and miss you every day dad.

Taylor McElderry
Youngest Daughter

January 3, 2019

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

March 14, 2018

15 years today and it seems to never get easier. Tyce is growing into such a smart, witty, handsome little boy and I want nothing more than for you to be here to watch him grow. I know you have a front row seat up there and you watch everyday. Emersyn is quite the little ham and I believe she would have you wrapped around her finger in no time. I love you forever and always, miss you everyday Dad!

Taylor McElderry
Youngest Daughter

January 3, 2018

To Dennis family,

I still think of you on the loss of your dad, and know he would be proud of you all.
God gained an angel but you still gained one angel in blue watching you all from the gates of heaven.

Tonya Stephenson
Citizen, Des Moines, Iowa

June 14, 2017

I just want to tell you how proud of you I am and how glad I am that I was raised in the law enforcement community. With what's going on in today's world I'm glad you chose the blue family. A thank you to you and all the officers serving in the past and present. Your lives matter and I back the blue.

Taylor McElderry
Daughter

July 8, 2016

Just stopping in to tell you I was thinking about you a lot tonight. Miss you so much and I wish you were here to meet your grandson. He is something else and never fails to put a smile on my face. I love you Dad

Taylor McElderry
Daughter

March 11, 2016

Well last time I was writing you I found out I was pregnant and now I have an almost 5 month old! It's crazy how time flys. Wish you could be here to see Tyce grow but I know you are watching over him everyday! Tyce and I love you very much ❤️❤️❤️

Taylor McElderry
Youngest daughter

September 29, 2015

God Bless you Deputy Sheriff McElderry, and your growing and loving family, and all those who serve and protect us, here and from up in Heaven.

another grateful citizen

August 30, 2015

Boy oh boy dad, I have some news for you. Couple weeks ago I found out that I'm going to be a mamma. Although I'm sure if you we're here I would get the "I'm not mad I'm disappointed speech." Don't worry I already played out how that would have went. Crazy thing was, I would have been more nervous for grandma and grandpas reaction. Which surprisingly wasn't as bad as I imagined. Which means there's no way you could be upset, I'm giving you your first grandbaby. Kind of weird to say it sucks that you won't be around to watch he or she grow. But as you already know, I'll talk to world of you and often so it will be like they already know you. Don't worry, I will jeep you update every step of the way and be sure to drop off some pictures for you. I love and miss you everyday.

Taylor McElderry
youngest daughter

September 27, 2014

RIP, HERO! You will not be forgotten!

Fmr Sheriff's Deputy
Marion County Sheriff, Indiana

June 7, 2014

Sir, your service and sacrifice is not forgotten. Thank you for both...

Very Respectfully,

Commander Ron Bayne #559
Scottsdale PD

June 2, 2014

Dennis,

Eleven years later and there really aren't a lot of tears but every once in a while things bring you back. I heard Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You" right around your EOW and it brought back memories of a time that seems like only yesterday but was over a decade ago.

You and I driving in that truck of yours. The kids were with us and I wasn't paying attention to the radio. I remember you saying, "You should listen to this song. It's a good one." I remember this because I remember thinking at the time how that comment was really weird coming from you because this was not the type of music you listened to at all. Looking back, it was a "good one."

I used to ask you what it was about me that would make you travel hundreds of miles just for a chance to meet me and you used to say you didn't know exactly what it was or how it happened, it just WAS. You knew that you loved me and that it felt right and that was all you needed. Hearing this song after all these years, I now see how this song was OUR story. I miss living that story. More importantly I miss YOU. That's where the tears are. At the same time I feel so incredibly blessed that I was even able to be a part of that story. How can someone feel sad and blessed at the same time?

Having said that, you are a blessing. I thank you Dennis for the incredible love you gave me in our short time together and the love you continue to give. As life goes on know that OUR story will always be one of the most beautiful chapters in my life. You will always be missed and will always have a huge part of my heart.

Sending lots of hugs & lots of love,

Joss :)

___________________________________

Savage Garden: "I Knew I Loved You"

Maybe it's intuition
But some things you just don't question
Like in your eyes
I see my future in an instant
and there it goes
I think I've found my best friend
I know that it might sound more than
a little crazy but I believe

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

There's just no rhyme or reason
only this sense of completion
and in your eyes
I see the missing pieces
I'm searching for
I think I found my way home
I know that it might sound more than
a little crazy but I believe

A thousand angels dance around you
I am complete now that I found you

Jocelyne Brar
Dennis' fiance

January 8, 2014

It is just one of those days dad. One of those days that i wish i could just sit and talk about whats going on. One of those days where i just want to ball my eyes out and pull out all my hair. One of those days that i just wish i could have you here. Although you aren't here physically i know you are in my heart and always watching over me.I guess i just need to realize It just isn't the same and i know it never will be. Just know i need you now more than ever and am always thinking about you. I'm sure this week will get worse and i will stop by and have a visit. then we can have a nice chat. Just remember i love you forever and always! i miss you dad.

Taylor McElderry
youngest daughter

July 7, 2013

Well Dad, this is the 10th Father's Day without you and let me tell you it doesn't get any easier. I'll give you an update of my life even though i know you're watching. I recently moved into a house with Trevor and two of my friends, it's working out great! I'm taking some summer classes at IHCC. I'm still working on my Criminal Justice degree along with my Psychology degree. Trevor and I are doing great and happier tan ever. Blake's doing good for the most part, hopefully getting his own house soon! Jennifer just left for her fourwheeler trip and will be back Thursday so watch over her so she doesn't get too crazy! I'm also working at the daycare now and i love it! Definitely a switch from the restaurant. well as of now that's all i really know.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!
I love you.

Taylor McElderry
Daughter

June 16, 2013

Dennis,

Yesterday, out of nowhere, something reminded me of how it felt to hold your hand. Somehow our hands just fit perfectly together. It was a good feeling but at the same time it made me realize just how much I still miss you, even after all these years. *sigh* Know that I always carry you in my heart. I pray that even though I can't always feel it you are still holding my hand as I walk through this life. Miss you!

Love you lots,

Joss *HUGS*

Jocelyne
Dennis' fiancee

June 5, 2013

Rest in Peace, Deputy McElderry. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

May 23, 2013

Missing you! Not a day goes by I don't think of you! <3

Jen Shively
Daughter

December 6, 2012

Dennis, You're not forgotten Brother.

Fmr. Deputy 26-6
DCSO

August 29, 2012

Rest in Peace Dennis, you will always be remembered.

Robert Murry
Davis County Sheriff's Office/Reserve Deputy

July 17, 2012

Deputy McElderry,

Thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Although I never knew you, I am beginning a career in law enforcement and I do so to honor your sacrafice. Each and every day I go out to protect and serve, I take a moment to remember each and every officer that made the ultimate sacrifice.
"In The Line of Duty"

What is the meaning of "In The Line Of Duty"
It means that an officer made the Ultimate sacrifice.
It means that someone took an officer's life.
A hero has fallen.

Officers who gave their all
To protect and serve
Have been killed by someone whom they swore
To protect and serve.

It means that their badge will no longer be on their chest
And they will join
"The Best Of The Best"

It means that family and friends are left behind
To deal with the lost of a loved one.
Only having the memories of that loved one
Close to their hearts.
Something no one can ever take away.

It means that family members will stand at the officers grave
And wonder why ...
Why would someone take an officer's life
And leave them there to die?
If we only knew.

Today an officer will place their badge on their chest
To fulfill the dreams of heroes killed
"In The Line Of Duty"

Rest well brother

Kevin Guck-Reserve Deputy 70-41
Muscatine County Sheriff's Office

June 14, 2012

Dad,
I wanted to write to you on your EOW but I decided to wait, it's not that one particular day that I miss you the most.. it's the days like Taylor's up coming graduation that really hit home. I know you have been up there watching over us, so many things have happened and changed over the years, I really wish you could have been here with us. I can hardly believe that Taylor, not only turned 18 a couple of months ago but is now going to be graduating high school. You would be so proud of the person she has became. She is like you in so many ways, she has that laid back personality and the temper when she needs it! I know you will be with her when she walks across the stage to get her diploma Sunday! Today is grandma and grandpas 60th wedding anniversary, can you believe it?!?! 60 years is a long time! Blake is looking more and more like you every day, he is the one that would give you grey hair. Such a ball of fire, maybe his red hair fits him :) He may be ornery but deep down he is a big teddy bear just like you. I saw that Joss posted about Taylor and I going to the capital on the behalf of survivors. Taylor did a great job speaking in front of everyone. I wish every day you could be here to see our accomplishments and be here to guide us when we need it. Continue what you are doing up there... I miss you, and love you!

Jennifer Shively
Daughter

May 17, 2012

Dennis,

Jennifer and Taylor spoke today, along with other children of fallen officer survivors, with the Iowa House of Representatives subcommittee to discuss a bill that will offer health insurance to children and spouses of police, fire, and EMS killed in the line of duty. I wasn’t there but I heard through the grapevine that they did a great job. Blake wasn’t there but I’m sure he was there in spirit. I’m so proud of them for speaking up - I know you’d be proud too. You always were. The kid’s lives are moving forward in a lot of ways but know they will always miss you and are doing what they can to honor your memory. Have no doubt about that.

I know I don’t write a lot but I still miss you too and not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. As long as I live you will always live on in my heart.

Love you,

Joss *HUGS*

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Dennis' Fiancee

February 1, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the ninth anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect and your memory will always be honored and revered. I pray for solace for all those who love and miss you for I know the pain and pride are forever.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

January 3, 2012

Another year passes Dennis - I did not know you , but have got to know Jocelyne via Facebook. Your police brothers and sisters will never forget you. RIP my friend - your job is done.

My best wishes to all your family and may they be forever proud of you sir.

D/C Colin Davies #6745 (Ret)
Toronto Police Service

January 3, 2012

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.