Generations of Jays
A family’s lineage often reveals common occupations or talents. For those featured on the following pages, the thread is an affinity for Elizabethtown, their family tree featuring multiple generations of alumni or chips off the old block—the block being the first relative to sing the alma mater. In fact, Elizabethtown College’s Homecoming could double as a family reunion for these flocks of Blue Jays.
Members of the Kreider family gather for an event.
While studying at Elizabethtown, Ken Kreider ’61 met the woman who would become his wife, Carroll Hall ’60. After graduating from E-town and then earning graduate degrees at Pennsylvania State University in 1964 they returned to Elizabethtown College. Ken joined the history department faculty, where he taught European history, and Carroll, after a few years of teaching business education at high schools, joined the College’s business faculty.
Ken and Carroll’s daughters, Brenda (Kreider) Barlet ’81 and Denise (Kreider) Voloshin ’85, took college-level courses—at E-town, of course—while still in high school. However, Ken and Carroll were surprised that, even after touring other colleges, both daughters chose to apply to the institution where their parents attended and worked.
“I’ll never forget coming home from [visiting] Manchester University [in Indiana] when Brenda said, ‘Do I really have to go away? I like E-town!’,” said Carroll. “We said, ‘You may go to E-town, but there’s one request. You’ve got to live in the dorm’.”
Carroll recalls one night that Denise called to ask if she could come home; she was trying to study for a chemistry exam, but the dorms were noisy. Her father told her, ‘No, you need to learn to cope.’ It was an important lesson in independence; they wouldn’t have been able to ‘rescue’ her if she was farther away.
Family and school pride go hand in hand for the Kreiders. They head to Thompson Gymnasium, donning blue and gray as often as possible. “We’re diehards. Basketball is why I came [to
E-town],” said Carroll, who was named the 1960 Female Athlete of the Year and, later, was inducted into the Ira R. Herr Athletic Hall of Fame.
The family ties to Elizabethtown extend up and down the family tree. Add Carroll’s three sisters to the list: Janice (Hall) Hosler ’63, Eleanor (Hall) Nedrow ’64 and Darlene (Hall) Ormsby ’73—all of who earned a degree in business education. Janice and Eleanor also found their soul mates on campus: Donald Hosler and Loren Nedrow ’65. Brenda met her husband, Jerry ’77, at E-town, too. Ken’s brother, A. Clyde Kreider Jr. ’64, and sister-in-law, Deborah (Jones) Kreider ’65 also are alums—and so is their niece, Holly Kreider ‘92. There are deep roots to this family tree; so much so, that she continued adding members to the expanding branches. For a more complete roster, visit the online edition of the magazine.
The De Pietros/Morris
Joanne de Pietro between her children, chris morris and Julie Morris Gabler
“Campus is what drew me to campus,” said Joanne de Pietro Morris ’64, who remains close friends with her college roommate and credits E-town with making her a soccer fan.
She fondly recalls one of a few striking differences between now and the E-town of the 1960s: Dances were not allowed. During her time at the College, though, sock hops were introduced. Those changes are one of the things she and her son, Chris Morris ’91, and daughter, Julie Morris Gabler ’97, like to joke about. Joanne was pleased when Chris decided to attend E-town—a place he could play soccer. She was not surprised, then, that Julie followed suit—she had gotten used to campus, and it helped that she’d be attending after her brother graduated.
“The amazing part was that, during [Julie’s first year], we discovered that she had been
assigned my old room in Myer Hall,” Joanne said.
At first, Joanne second-guessed herself—she didn’t recall a tree directly outside the window. “But Julie said, ‘Mom! It didn’t go that high back then’!”
Joanne has three grandchildren and doesn’t know if any of them will choose Elizabethtown. “… But you can be sure that there will be three of us who can give them positive thoughts on the matter.”
Kristen (Ebersole) Snoke’s wedding day, with many Ebersole alumni gathered to celebrate.
As Jeremy Ebersole ’05 explained it, “the whole crew” graduated from Elizabethtown—six in the immediate family.
Ebersole never thought much about attending E-town. In fact, he recalls a shaky memory of visiting campus as a youngster: sitting near a statue and thinking, this place is incredibly boring. At some point during his teenage years, that perspective changed as he began to think about those he admires most—and where they went to college. His decision came as much of a surprise to him as it did to his family—Ebersole was sure he’d go off to California or somewhere a lot farther than his native Akron, Ohio. However, thanks to E-town’s study abroad program, he finally traveled far away—studying sloths in Ecuador.
In addition to Jeremy, the Ebersole roster includes his paternal grandparents, Harold ’50 and Beulah ’49; his parents Jeffrey ’77 and Beth (Helman) ’79 and his sister Kristen (Snoke) ’09.
The Eveler Siblings
If ever there was a rivalry between the Eveler siblings, it certainly didn’t involve a dispute over whose school bumper sticker would appear on the family sedan. Andrea (Eveler) Stanley, George, Dawn (Eveler) Persing and Jennifer (Eveler) Lloyd are Blue Jays—in that order.
“My dad joked that it would have been cheaper if he bought a dorm,” said Andrea, adding that E-town caught on in their family because, as younger siblings visited during drop-offs and pick-ups, they became familiar with campus. Strong academics and athletics also played a role; Dawn and Jennifer played field hockey.
George enjoyed the built-in moral support. “We all appreciated the size of the school. We had our own identity but, if you needed someone, you were close,” said George.
When it came to social life, Andrea said they never had an issue with eating meals together. “He’s my brother by birth, friend by choice,” she said. “We’re 16 months apart and I can remember my mom joking that once I learned to walk I was dragging George around ever since,” she said.
Andrea and George also attended the same law school (University of Dayton) and now practice together as partners in the law firm founded by their father.
The Killian and Reber
Mary Ann (Gettle) Killian ’58 and her first husband Larry Reber ’59 attended Elizabethtown College together. Upon graduation, they moved to the Pittsburgh, Pa., area where she taught at an elementary school and Reber earned his doctoral degree in physics. During this time they had two sons, Eric and Edward. Eighteen months after the couple relocated to Oak Ridge, Tenn., Reber was involved in a fatal boating accident. Mary Ann and the boys moved back to Pennsylvania. She was a substitute teacher in the Hempfield School District in Landisville, Pa. when her boys were small, and later worked at Elizabethtown College’s print shop—a facility she pinpoints as the spot where the campus’ bowling alley once sat. She retired in 2000.
Mary Ann and her husband, Roger, who also took a few courses at the College, live locally and visit campus as much as they can; they follow Blue Jays’ basketball and also attend plays and concerts. Years ago, when there were limited hotel rooms in the area, the pair hosted families in need of accommodations during Homecoming weekends.
While she was the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree from Elizabethtown, Mary Ann wasn’t the first in her family to attend; her parents and three sisters took non-degree high school and secretarial classes once offered by the College.
“It’s always been positive, and it’s been a continuing thing in our life. We have many long-term friends. We went on trips and cruises [with the College], and people I worked with there have a monthly get-together,” she said.
Following in his parents’ footsteps, Eric Reber ’85 attended Elizabethtown and, a chip off the old block, for sure, he, too, went into physics.
“E-town was a natural choice for me. My father had a good career, and E-town had prepared him for that,” he said. He followed his father, once again, attending the same graduate school.
Although he has lived in Austria since 2001—working for a United Nations organization dedicated to nuclear safety—he ventures back to campus every time he comes “home.”
“I have a very warm association with the College. It’s been a place that’s just been woven into my family. The liberal arts education played a big role in shaping me and who I am,” he said, also recalling fond memories of the music program and former band director Otis Kitchen, professor of music emeritus.
Joanne Eshelman ’86 explained that her family has had a strong relationship with Elizabethtown College since 1957, when her mother, Romayne Furry Reeser ’62, began her studies and, eventually, earned a nursing degree after completing her studies at Harrisburg Hospital School of Nursing.
Joanne graduated with a degree in Communications. When her husband, Robert, wanted to complete his degree, he enrolled in the EXCEL program at the College’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and graduated cum laude in 2011. Rob’s son, Matthew Eshelman, graduated in 2001 with an education degree and married fellow education major Jennifer Halladay Eshelman ’01. Jennifer’s sister, Megan Halladay ’04, can be added to the list, too. Joanne and Rob’s sons, Tyler ’13 and Corey ’15 are Blue Jays, too.
“What’s next? Our son Jesse is still in high school and has not yet made his college decision, and Matthew and Jennifer’s twin daughters were born in 2012, so college is many years off for them,” said Joanne. “But we’re hoping to add a few more family members to this group of Elizabethtown alumni!”
The Haas and Eller Families
“Like mother, like daughters,” said Karen E. Haas ’78.
Haas’ most memorable College experience is when she spent a semester in Marburg, Germany. To no one’s surprise, both daughters followed in her footsteps to Elizabethtown—and Germany. Oldest daughter, Katarina Eller ’11, double majored in Spanish and German and studied abroad in Mexico. Today, she is serving with Brethren Volunteer Service in Marburg. Devoney Eller ’15 grew up knowing she wanted to study at E-town, too. She’s planning to double major in international business and German.
“[Devoney] is excited at the prospect of following in the footsteps of her mom and sister, next year, by spending a year abroad in Germany,” Karen said. “The moral of this family’s story? Fly abroad, Blue Jays! You won’t regret it.” The Haas family of E-town graduates also includes Devoney’s uncle, Douglas L. Haas ’80, and cousin, Reece O’Neill ’11.
The Smeltz Family
The Smeltz legacy at E-town dates back to 1966, and the family has grown as a result of the College. Ken Smeltz ’70 is a retired music teacher and, while at E-town, he was active in band and worked on WWEC-FM. His offspring took a similar career path, one that also began at Elizabethtown. After working 12 years for ESPN’s public relations department, Nate ’00 is now vice president of communications for Turner Sports in Atlanta, Ga. Natalie ’07 worked as a news producer for stations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is the communications director for the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. Natalie married a fellow Blue Jay, Eric Kopp ’08, assistant director of financial aid at the College.
What about YOU?
Are there chips and blocks in your family? Do you have more to add to the family stories we’ve shared here? Tell us about them in the comments section, below.