Biography of Edwin L. Kilhefner
North Central Ohio Biographies

Edwin L. Kilhefner. Among the men of his community, Edwin L. Kilhefner, deceased, stood out as one of the most prominent, active, and efficient citizens in the civic, industrial, educational, and religious affairs of Ashland for many years.

He was born in Ashland County, Aug. 15, 1872, and was reared under the best Christian influences. His excellent home training was supplemented by education in the public schools of Ashland and by a short time in Ashland College, which, together with his integrity of character and industry, fitted him for marked efficient services in different fields.

Mr. Kilhefner's father was the Rev. Isaac Kilhefner, a native of Pennsylvania, an active minister, and widely known and successful evangelist. The father died July 2, 1892, and the mother, Amanda (Kahl) Kilhefner, born at Reedsburg, Ohio, died May 1, 1917. The two sons were Ralph, who lives in Ashland, and the subject of this sketch, Edwin L.

On March 16, 1893, Mr. Kilhefner was married to Miss Belle Plank, of Ashland, the daughter of Levi and Margaret (Filson) Plank, natives of Pennsylvania. Mr. Plank died Aug. 26, 1896, and the wife March 29, 1903. To Mr. and Mrs. Kilhefner was born one daughter, Gladys Faye, Oct. 3, 1894. She is the wife of Earl McKean, of Ashland.

In industry and manufacture, Mr. Kilhefner made notable achievement, and was a prominent member of the Ohio Manufacturers Association. In 1906 he was active in the organization of the Elite Manufacturing Company in partnership with Mr. Burkholder. With this enterprise he was identified until Jan. 1, 1929, when the local plant was purchased by the J. H. Channon Company, of Chicago, and merged with other industries in a huge industrial combine.

To education and religion, Mr. Kilhefner made distinctive and permanent contributions. For ten years he was a member of the Ashland College Board of Trustees, and for the last two of these years was president of the board. During the years in these capacities, he actively supported the expansion program of the college, and to him the college is directly indebted for much of the influence that has culminated in its splendid growth. He served on the investment committee which directs the investment of the college funds; was an active member on many special committees which planned, directed, and completed the erection of a number of buildings, helped devise and carry forward endowment campaigns, and contributed largely and generously of time, influence, and money in forwarding educational activities.

Religion found in Mr. Kilhefner the same active and efficient supporter. As a loyal member of the First Brethren Church of Ashland, he was an influential member of the official board of the church. While he served on many committees, general and special, his services were especially valuable as a member of the finance committee. He rendered invaluable service to the local church in the construction of its new building, and assisted the enterprise in many ways, not the least of which was the donating of the two lots on which the building now stands. He was a member of the Foreign Mission Board of the Brethren Churches of America, and every movement for the promotion of the church and college, for religion, for education, for temperance, for the promotion of human welfare everywhere, as he understood, found in him an active and sympathetic helper, a large contributor and a generous benefactor.

Mr. Kilhefner's death occurred on March 2, 1929, at Long Beach, Cal., where he had gone with Mrs. Kilhefner three weeks previous to enjoy a brief vacation. He is buried in Ashland.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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