Wilbert L. "Will" Ketner, 91, Harrisburg, formerly of Roaring Spring and Altoona, passed away peacefully in his home on Monday, July 22, 2013.
He was born in Roaring Spring, son of the late Blair and Bertha (Riley) Ketner.
He will be lovingly remembered by his five children: Karen Ketner-Fink (Dr. Stacey Fink) of Lititz, Patti Hanawalt (John) of Harrisburg, Pam Lindsay (Jim) of Bluffton, S.C., Senior Master Sgt. William Ketner (Dale) of Williamstown and Richard Ketner (Pam) of Dillsburg; as well as eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He also is survived by his children's mother, Dotti Kyler, as well as a friend, Bernadette Runk, and his canine buddy, Snuffy. His younger sister, June Myers, resides in Mechanicsburg.
He was preceded in death by two sisters: Martha Smouse and Doris Gochnour; and a brother, William Harry Ketner.
After graduating from Roaring Spring High School in 1940, Will entered WWII as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force, graduating from pilot school at Moody Field, Ga., and proudly serving his country as a B-17 pilot with the 303rd Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force based at Molesworth, England.
After the war, he was employed as the news director of radio station WFBG and later as manager of radio station WVAM, both in Altoona. In the mid-1960s, he moved to Harrisburg and worked in state government as director of marketing for the Department of Agriculture, deputy secretary of commerce under Gov. Raymond P. Shafer, secretary of the Public Utilities Commission and personnel director for the House of Representatives until his retirement in 1987.
Will volunteered with the American Heart Association for 35 years and was elected chairman of the board of the Pennsylvania Heart Association and vice president of the American Heart Association. He was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal by Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, the Walter Donaldson Award by the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Charles Mears Award by the Pennsylvania Heart Association. He was a charter member of the Roaring Spring Lions Club, was awarded a lifetime membership in the American Legion Post in Roaring Spring and received a Special Service Award from the citizens of his hometown.
An active member of St. Thomas United Church of Christ in Linglestown, Will served on the consistory for the church and enjoyed being a speaker for children's sermons. He was also a volunteer auctioneer for the church's annual fundraiser. While he enjoyed public speaking, writing poetry, reading, hunting, sharing WWII stories and attending Penn State football games, his favorite times were family gatherings. His family was his pride and joy.
Friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2013, at Hoover Funeral Homes and Crematory Inc., 6011 Linglestown Road, Linglestown. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 26, 2013, at St. Thomas United Church of Christ in Linglestown, the Rev. Dr. Donald C. Wetzel officiating. Burial with military honors will be held at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Will Ketner to the American Cancer Society, 2 Lemoyne Drive, Suite 101, Lemoyne, PA 17043, or to his church, St. Thomas United Church of Christ, 6490 Linglestown Road, Linglestown, PA 17112.
Online condolences may be left at www.hooverfuneralhome.com.