Earl D. Kilchenman passed away on May 28, 2020, at age 93.
Earl was the son of the late Ernest and Freda (Lahmers) Kilchenman, born in Stone Creek, Ohio. Earl was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Rita (McManaway); son, David; brothers Ralph and Dale; wonderful longtime friend, Shirley Dubetz. He is survived by two daughters, Amy Fieldman (Robert) of Centreville, Virginia, and Jodi Johnson (Thomas) of Hudson, Ohio; daughter-in-law, Jill Kilchenman of Sleepy Hollow, Illinois; and seven grandchildren.
Earl served as an Army Air Corps Staff Sergeant during WWII. Following the war, he received his BS in Education from Mount Union College and his MS in Educational Administration from Kent State University. Earl devoted his life to the field of education. Earl advocated for students with learning difficulties and went on to develop new programming in the mid-1960s to service students with special needs. Earl brought underserved students’ needs to the forefront of educational conversation at the local and state level. He forged partnerships with Notre Dame College of Ohio and Case Western Reserve University, developing college coursework to train special education teachers. His impact was significant and continued to grow as he helped many students with special needs transition to adulthood with employment opportunities. He was recognized by the Ohio Board of Education in 1966 as a champion for teachers and students and was the recipient of multiple awards including the Jennings Foundation. He was a visionary and an early educator that brought attention to the issues of the time in special education.
Earl loved watching sports, gardening, playing golf and coaching. He was a member of Kent American Legion Post 496 and played the bugle for the Honor Guard. Earl volunteered his time as a pen pal for Kent City School students and in his neighborhood association serving as President. He touched those around him with kindness, compassion, and joy.
A celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Interment will be at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.
Services in care of Bissler & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory, 628 West Main Street, Kent, OH 44240.
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