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 Victims of Drunk Drivers Memorial

Victims of Drunk Drivers Memorial

Birth
Death unknown
Burial Corona del Mar, Orange County, California, USA
Memorial ID 19800 · View Source
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Memorial to victims of drunk drivers.

L.A. Times
April 7, 2000
For four long years, the McInroys have been filling the hole in their lives with a vision of black granite and concrete. On a breezy hill at a Newport Beach cemetery, Ronald McInroy explained why.
"Four years ago, my daughter was killed by a drunk driver in Anaheim, at the corner of State College and Lincoln," the 69-year-old Anaheim Hills man said, then gestured toward a dark stone monument at the end of the drive. "We vowed we would make this happen."
On Saturday afternoon, McInroy and his wife, Janice, 68, will dedicate the memorial at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach to victims of drunk drivers. They are hoping that, like the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, it will be a place where survivors will come to gather and heal.
At the time of their daughter Lori's death, Ronald McInroy was a designer of fighter jets who was planning to retire. Janice McInroy was a retired supervisor at a Newport Beach bank. Their two children were grown and lived nearby. In his spare time, Ronald McInroy built two-seater planes in his garage. His wife watched Lori's 6-year-old son, Brandon, on weekends.
Five days before Christmas 1995, a drunk driver ran a red light and hit the car of Lori Ann McInroy-Curler. The 34-year-old apartment manager died instantly.
The family buried her two days later.
"You know, you buy a good suit because at my age, you expect to be buried in it," Ronald McInroy said bitterly. "Then you end up wearing it to your daughter's funeral."
He stopped building airplanes. He couldn't go to work.
"Nothing had any meaning anymore," he said. He left work for good a month later. Janice McInroy went numb. To this day she can't remember the weeks that followed.
"When something like this happens, you feel like your soul's been torn out of you," she said.
Cherished mementos became painful reminders. "What do you do with a used wedding dress?" Ronald McInroy asked.
Then their son Kevin was struck with a thought: They had no place to heal. There were memorials for survivors of war, victims of AIDS and families of murdered children, but the family could find no place dedicated to victims of drunk drivers.
Kevin McInroy decided they should build one, but for three years, the money wasn't there. Cost estimates started at $25,000.
Few wanted to give them money. "We were just some couple who lost their child," Ronald McInroy said.
The pair did what they could, using their own money to create a nonprofit organization, the Victims of Drunken Drivers Memorial Wall Foundation Trust, and register it with the state. They asked everyone they could for help: celebrities who had lost relatives to drunk drivers, the Kiwanis club, family members and strangers. They scoured newspapers for names of philanthropists and politicians.
But the going was rough. "We'd raise $500 and find the cost had gone up $1,000." They had raised $25,000, but there were materials, labor and land to buy. Costs were already above $50,000, and the McInroys could not make up all of the difference.
Then there were names to collect.
Almost 16,000 people died in alcohol-related car crashes in 1999, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, a 33% decline from 1988 and the lowest on record. In 1998 in Orange County, the most recent year for which figures are available, 44 people died in drunk driving accidents.
There were plenty of names, but police departments refused to release them, and the couple didn't think of calling coroners, who generally do release such information. Instead, the couple and their son searched the Internet for families who might want their loved ones included.
Hoping for a Miracle
Then, last Fathers Day, they drove to Pacific View Memorial Park and imagined the stone among the hills near the ocean. They fell in love with the image and hoped for a miracle.
The McInroys left their business card at the cemetery office. Pacific View called back the next day. The $25,000 would be enough.
"[The McInroys] are a wonderful couple, and it touched our hearts when we heard their story," said Robert Dowson, the general manager of the cemetery. "We heard their case, heard what they wanted and decided we needed to do whatever we could to help them." The park, a landscaper and a builder donated about $100,000 of land, time and materials and started planning immediately.
Still anxious, the couple waited through months of design changes and construction. They even spent a day perched at a window at the cemetery administration building, watching the workers lay the monument's base. "We only did it once," Janice McInroy said. Ronald McInroy laughed, adding, "We didn't want to be more obnoxious than we already were."
Now the monument is complete, but the McInroys' work continues. Janice McInroy, with arthritic hands, addressed all of the nearly 185 invitations to the dedication. The family plans to rededicate the monument each year, with additional names and faces each time.
The Victims of Drunk Driving Memorial Wall is a slanted black granite table, about 20 feet wide and 4 feet tall. On its face are black granite tablets the size of an index card, each inscribed with a name, date of birth and death and a photograph encased in glass. There is space for 140 tablets.
One day, the McInroys hope, the memorial will pay for itself and, when the spaces are filled, for its own expansion. Any victim of drunk driving may be included, no matter where the person lived or when he or she died.
On its first day, the monument will hold 27 names and photos of victims from across the country. Among them is a picture of a wiry boy with a baseball glove who died in 1959 and a handsome pastor, head bowed, killed in 1961. There is a woman who loved horses--she died in 1988--and a man who just finished dental school who was killed that same year.
"Behind each one is a story." Ronald McInroy said, pointing to a picture of his daughter.
"A darling on earth, an angel in heaven," the inscription read.
Janice McInroy still cries when she talks about Lori. Although work on the monument cheered her and talking to other survivors helps, the pain lingers. Until recently, the couple habitually told everyone they met their daughter is dead. And sometimes late at night, their grandson wakes them in bed, asking why a stranger killed his mother.
The Victims of Drunk Driving Memorial Wall will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday at Pacific View Memorial Park, 3500 Pacific View Drive, Newport Beach.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 27 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19800
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Victims of Drunk Drivers Memorial (unknown–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19800, citing Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona del Mar, Orange County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .