Kenneth Elsner passed from this earth into his heavenly home Sunday, April 3, 2016. Kenneth was born January 3, 1936, in Slick, Okla., to Kenneth and Eva Elsner. He grew up in the small community of Weleetka, Okla.
Ken enjoyed life on the family farm where he hunted, fished, and worked the farm with his brother John. In high school Kenneth excelled in academics, basketball and baseball, graduating from Pharoah in 1953. It was there that he met the love of his life, Bonnie. He attended OSU on a basketball scholarship then transferred to OBU where he was a member of the varsity basketball and baseball teams and worked summers in the oilfield.
Ken and Bonnie were married in 1955 and made their home in Shawnee where they welcomed their first son, Randy. Ken graduated from OBU in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree. They moved to Excelsior and later Cromwell where Ken taught biology and coached, eventually becoming principal and superintendent of Butner Schools. While in Cromwell they had a daughter, Robin, and son, Russell, completing their family. Kenneth attended the University of Oklahoma earning a M.Ed. in Education followed by his Doctorate of Education in 1969.
Ken then moved his family to Edmond where he worked for the Oklahoma State Department of Education with the federal programs curriculum division. In 1971 Kenneth became an assistant superintendent of curriculum for Edmond Public Schools. Four years later he joined the faculty of the University of Central Oklahoma as director of student teaching and taught education administration courses. In 1987 Ken became dean of the College of Education and oversaw the planning and construction of the new education building. He was a past president of Phi Delta Kappa, on the executive board of Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement, past president of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. Kenneth was recognized as "Outstanding Dean" by the Oklahoma Association of Health as well as receiving the Service Award from the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame where he served on the board of directors. Kenneth was inducted into the OBU Hall of Fame. Ken helped countless students and teachers excel through his years of dedication and service to public education.
During his time, Ken was a deacon at First Baptist Church in Edmond, enjoyed playing tennis and became a golfer. After retirement in 1996 Ken was active in the Edmond Senior Men's Golf Association and enjoyed the fellowship of his church family at First Baptist. Ken was a devoted husband, loving father and cherished Grandad.
Kenneth is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Bonnie Elsner, and a son, Randy Elsner.
He is survived by a brother, John Elsner and wife Nancy of Sugarland, Texas; son, Russell Elsner of Edmond; daughter, Robin Thomas of Edmond, as well as his granddaughters, Lindsey and Dana Thomas.
A come-and-go visitation and reception will be from 5 - 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, at Crawford Funeral Service, Edmond. A service celebrating Mr. Elsner's life will be 10 a.m. Thursday, April 7, at Edmond's First Baptist Church. Burial will follow at 3 p.m. at Highland Cemetery in Okemah, Okla.
Published on April 5, 2016