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Serving Opelika, Auburn, and Lee County since 1988



Colonel David Lynn Elam, USMC, Retired

January 19, 1931 ~ March 17, 2018 (age 87)

Colonel David Lynn Elam of Auburn, Alabama died at East Alabama Medical Center on March 17, 2018.

David was born on January 19, 1931 in Bluefield, Virginia.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in March 1948 and went on active duty in May 1949 upon high school graduation.  He was commissioned in June 1953, attended flight school, and received his Naval Aviator Wings in 1955.  He served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Legion of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, 71 Air Medals, three Vietnam Crosses of Gallantry, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart, and 19 other combat awards.

While on active duty, David completed two years of college on nights and weekends.  This allowed him to enter the Marine Corps Bootstrap Program, through which he earned a BS degree in Aviation Management from Auburn University in 1972.  He retired from the Marine Corps in 1977 and returned to Auburn.  After retiring, he started an air taxi service and flew for regional commuter airlines.  In 1981, he founded Dixie Excursions, a business that through acquisitions operates today as Groome Transportation.

David was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn and the Auburn Detachment of the Marine Corps League.  He was a member of The Chosin Few, the USMC/Helicopter Association, the Marine Corps Aviation Association, and the Military Officers Association of America.

David will be remembered for his love of family, country, and the Marine Corps; his service to the church; his enthusiasm for flying, boating, water skiing, and travel; his hospitality; his flawless completion of crossword puzzles in ink; and his dislike of mashed potatoes.

Visitation will be held at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika, Alabama on Monday, March 19, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 8.00 PM.  Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM (CST) at First Presbyterian Church of Auburn, Alabama.  Burial will take place at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery in Fort Mitchell, Alabama on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 2:30 PM (EST).

David is pre-deceased by his parents, Roy and Zida Elam; his brother, Richard Elam; and his second wife, Dean Hays Elam.  He is survived by his sister, Wanda Peery; his wife, Joy Elam; his children from his marriage to Dorothy Elam: David Elam, Jr. (Mala), Jeffrey Elam, and Nanette Canady (Merton); his stepchildren from his marriage to Dean: Jane Fisher (Mark) and Melanie Wright (Charlie);  his stepchildren from his marriage to Joy: William Francis Peak, Jr. and Susan Peak Barnes; his grandchildren: James Daniel Elam, Elizabeth Elam, Nathaniel Canady (Susan), Jacob Canady (Katie), Hannah Darden (Patrick), Trey Fisher, Samuel Wright, Camille Wright, William Francis Peak III, Amy Barnes (Cortney Griffin), and Katie Barnes; and great-grandchildren: Jonah Canady, Hudson Canady, Bennett Griffin, and Nash Griffin.

Special thanks to the staff at East Alabama Medical Center for the professional and attentive care.  The family respectfully declines the gift of flowers and requests memorial contributions be made to First Presbyterian Church of Auburn or the Marine Corps League Foundation.

Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home directing.

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