Coal Consultant, Ken Ellar, Passes
August 1, 2020 - After 58 years of marriage to his childhood sweetheart Ken Eller writes his own obituary to say he has no regrets in a well-rounded life and career.
Ken Eller of 6335 Mitch Haven Drive, Bethel Park, PA formerly of Slab Fork, West Virginia departed this life on July 29, 2020 after what he describes as a "fantastic" trip. He was 77 years old.
His trip, as he calls it, began as one of seven children of a Coal Miner and a Coal Miner's daughter in the coal community of Stotesbury, WV. The second child of the late Mose W. Eller, Jr. and Martha Saunders and brother to Dale (deceased 1/2/11), Anna Belle, Kay (Bartlett), Brenda (Vass), Paul (deceased 11/30/12) and Sue (Testerman).
From his birthplace in Stotesbury, WV, the Eller clan upgraded to Slab Fork, after a brief stay with Grandparents in Midway, WV, where Ken attended elementary school; the Presbyterian Church; was active in the Boy Scouts; performed every odd job known throughout the Community to earn spending money, and held a monopoly (for several years) on five (5) News Paper routes in town, succeeding his brother Dale after Dale volunteered for the US Army (We hillbillies say, "to get three (3) square meals and a new pair of shoes".).
Ken met his wife of 58 years (and 40 years business partner), Rosemary Cook from Hotchkiss, WV, when she was a student in the Slab Fork Elementary School. The two, then-youngsters, fell in love and were married at ages 18 and 16.
After Ken's three (3) year tour in the US Army as an infantry paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, NC and the 505th in Mainz Germany, and later as an underground Coal Miner for the Slab Fork Coal Company, living in a Company House, they became the proud parents of Kenna Marie Altmeyer and her husband Chris Altmeyer and later Jennifer Nicole Westerman and her husband John Westerman, both of whom now reside in Bethel and South Parks, PA. Kenna and Jenny each have two sons, Carter (25) and Colin Lockwood (22) for Jenny, and Hunter (17) and Raymond (16) for Kenna and her husband Chris Altmeyer. (They were also parents to a son, Kenneth Jr., who passed away shortly after birth due to premature-birth issues.)
Ken attended Sophia High School and graduated from both Beckley College (now Mountain State Univ) and Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) thanks to the 1966 G.I. Bill and the studious assistance of Rosemary who helped, encouraged and sacrificed immensely during the 4½ years of night and weekend classes. He was motivated to enter College while working as an hourly employee in the Number 8 underground coal mine of Slab Fork Coal Company as a member of UMWA Local Union 6108. The G.I. Bill becoming effective in 1966, which prompted Ken's enrollment in Beckley College, taking night classes while working the day shift in the No. 8 Coal Mine. This double duty, along with a 36 inch coal seam, bad top, water and a retreat mining section, and a pregnant wife, motivated Ken to accept a job as Credit Manager at the Oak Hill Hospital, in Oak Hill WV, for the next two+ years while completing College. (Ken was studying, among other things, finance and accounting, which prompted one of his Professors to obtain him a successful interview with the Hospital's Owner.)
Ken joined Consolidation Coal Company in 1968, received his BS Degree in Business Management in October 1971, and spent the next 17½ years with Consol, working in 9 states and Canada, primarily in the field of Labor Relations and Contract Administration. (This experience led to his early retirement in 1985, at 41 years old, and seeking his lifetime dream of self-employment, which he and Rosemary continued for the next 40+ years.)
A life-changing event occurred in 1971 when Ken's mother died of cancer at the very young age of 49...This was a significant emotional event in his life, which was overcome only after his completion of the "Dale Carnegie Course" in "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" and "The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking" which Ken gives credit for the "fantastic" life's attitude and confidence to "step outside the box." (Both Kenna and Jennifer completed the Course prior to entering College. Ken and Rosemary also paid for no fewer than ten employees to also attend the Dale Carnegie Course as a requirement for employment with Eller & Associates.)
Ken's BS Degree in Business Administration supported him in a 17½ year career with Consol Energy in WV, IL, and PA. Being an independent (out-of-the-box) thinker Ken took advantage of an early retirement opportunity at age 41, and, along with his life-partner, Rosemary, incorporated "Eller & Associates, Inc." to create and manage the COAL ARBITRATION LIBRARY SYSTEM (CALS) to provide management consulting services to the Coal Mining Industry throughout the United States. The two have continued to provide these services for more than 40 years. In addition to providing Advocacy services in Arbitration, the CALS database has been known and utilized by Advocates and Attorneys throughout the Industry for file management and research. Ken was a forerunner in providing training and services for Employers to protect Employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
Ken was a strong conservative who believed values within his beloved Country have slowly eroded in its place in the World for Opportunities for all, through many years of misguided and failed, politically-motivated "social and human engineering." He urges all to reintroduce God into their lives, schools and into government where it played such a very important and instrumental part in the successes of the USA for more than 200 years, and particularly in the success of he and his family.
Ken was an avid golfer and loved his work. He was force to abandon his golf game after a right brain ischemic stroke which destroyed his vision in the left half of each eye. Although he had to give up driving, the dedicated services of Rosemary and Clients, allowed him to continue to work and for them to travel extensively to avoid Pittsburgh's harsh winter weather.
Ken and Rosemary were 40+ year members of "John McMillan United Presbyterian Church" in Bethel Park, PA, where Kenna and Jenny gained important roots for raising their sons. (Kenna is now an "Elder" and President of the Church. They were also 40-year members of the Rolling Hills Country Club, where they enjoyed golf, dining and entertaining, prior to it's closure in 2016. More recently they were members of the St. Clair Country Club in Upper St. Clair, PA.
Unfortunately his wife Rosemary has had to deal with Stage IV, metastatic Breast Cancer for more than nine years. As well, Ken fought Stage IV metastatic Melanoma since mid-2017, which led to his moving on to the next life.
Following his lifelong attitude of giving to others, in lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Children's St. Jude or Children Shiner's Hospital, or John McMillan Presbyterian Church in memory of Ken Eller.
Celebration of life/Memorial Services will be held at a later date, please RSVP by August 6, 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org for location and time. A luncheon will be held following the service.
Arrangements by Paul Henney Cremations and Funeral Tributes, Bethel Park, PA.