Theodore Edwin Kiffer July 28, 1925 May 30, 2014 Ted Kiffer died on Friday, 30 May, from complications following surgery. Born 28 July 1925, on the family farm near Endeavor, he was two months shy of his 89th birthday. An ordained minister and academic, he graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College and Asbury Seminary and preached in the Free Methodist Church for eight years. He was a principal in founding the Bethel Church of the Nazarene in State College, serving as its first pastor until retiring from the ministry to pursue an academic career. He earned his masters degree and a Ph.D in linguistics from Penn State University, and after a brief stint teaching at Kutztown University and as a Fulbright lecturer in Liberia, he took a position at the Penn State Berks Campus. He moved to University Park and found his most fulfilling role as Associate Dean for the Commonwealth Campuses in the College of the Liberal Arts, supporting and developing the faculties at those schools. He retired as Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, but quickly came out of retirement to serve as Interim Chancellor at the Capital Campus, Harrisburg. During his entire career, he remained active and faithful to the Church, often preaching on invitation, leading discussions, and teaching classes. He was active in and a member of the Bethel Presbyterian Church at Shavers Creek for many years until moving from the Huntington area to Berks County where he lived for the last two years of his life with his beloved Audrey, his wife of 66 years. Ted felt the great honor and calling of his life was serving as a hospice pastor in the Huntington valley. An accomplished fly-fisherman and hunter, Ted was equally at home in academic discussions or leaning against his pick-up truck, talking crops and weather with his cherished farmer friends and neighbors. He dropped out of high school to join the Navy during World War II, and served in the Pacific theater. Ted worked in the engine rooms of a variety of ships, taking part in several amphibious assaults as a machinist's mate, with a final rank of Petty Officer, First Class. He had stories about all of his ships, but remembered most fondly his time aboard the aircraft carrier USS Antietam. Ted and Audrey had three sons, David (deceased), Will, and Selby. He slipped peacefully away from this life with a full heart, brimming with love and gratitude, in the presence of family. He leaves behind little regret and a genuine legacy for all who knew and loved him. On Friday morning, Ted entered into the embrace and welcome of his Lord and Savior and surely heard the words, "Well done..." In addition to Audrey and his two remaining sons, Ted is survived by a sister, Mary Ann; and a brother, Dewey Mac; and his dearly loved daughters-in-law, Kathy, Ellen, and Mary. His treasured grandchildren were fortunate to have their grandfather well into adulthood and remain adorned with his unconditional love and pride; his great-grandchildren, all baptized by Ted outside with creek water, were bathed in the glow of his love for them; and his many friends and neighbors were loved and revered to the end. His was no wasted life but was simply the steady upward walk of a pilgrim. He will be missed by all who knew him. Donations in Ted's memory can be made to the Salvation Army or The Wounded Warrior Project. It was Ted's wish that in lieu of a memorial service that we hold a celebratory picnic for family and friends with good food, fellowship and stories. Anyone who knew and loved Ted is welcome. This will be held Saturday, 26 July from 12:00 until 8:00. The site will be Hunsicker's Grove 9350 Longswamp Road, Mertztown, PA 19539.
Published in Centre Daily Times on June 4, 2014