Local baseball legend ‘Ellie’ Kreider dies

By on February 17, 2016

LR20160218_obiKreiderElwoodKorean War veteran played for Phillies and Dodgers organizations

Ellie Kreider will always hold a special distinction in Lititz.

That is, he was the first from here to ever sign a professional baseball contract.

Throwing and batting from the left side, Kreider player center field and had tryouts with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, and went on to sign contracts with the Dodgers and Phillies.

His career in the national pastime, though, was only part of his story. Kreider was an Army veteran and a beloved local coach for many years.

This week, the Lititz sports community is mourning a big league loss.

Elwood E. Kreider, 88, known as “Ellie” throughout his life, passed away peacefully on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, at Moravian Manor. He was a lifetime resident of Lititz. He was the husband of the late Mary Lou (Bender) Kreider and the son of the late Richard and Anna (Roth) Kreider.

Ellie proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He worked for Alsam Shoe Co. as a machine operator, and later at Yerger Brothers until retirement.

Ellie had a love for baseball. He signed contracts with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also played for county teams and helped Denver win the City-County Championship in 1957 with a .446 batting average. Joe Rineer mentioned Ellie in his book “The Ballplayer” numerous times. Ellie also coached baseball in Lititz (Warwick Phillies and Lititz Odd Fellows) for more than 35 years.

Ellie received the Distinguished Service Award from the Lititz Area Jaycees; Service to Mankind Award from the Lititz Sertoma Club; and was Odd Fellow of the Year in 1979 for outstanding and dedicated service. The baseball parents put a plaque on the high school baseball dugout in honor of Ellie’s coaching the youth of Lititz. He belonged to the Lititz IOOF Lodge No. 1050, the American Legion, and the VFW. Ellie was a faithful member of the Lititz United Methodist Church where he had been Sunday School treasurer for many years.

Lititz’s Elwood Kreider played Major League Baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system in 1948. This card was part of a collectors series during the 2013 baseball-themed Fourth of July in Lititz.

Lititz’s Elwood Kreider played Major League Baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system in 1948. This card was part of a collectors series during the 2013 baseball-themed
Fourth of July in Lititz.

Ellie was an avid Phillies fan. He enjoyed playing baseball and softball; bowling; playing cards; fishing with his grandsons; golfing with his son and friends; and attending all Warwick sporting events. Family was very important to Ellie, and he loved spending time with them.

Ellie is survived by a son: Michael C. (Alison Wieczonek) of Pen Argyl; and a daughter: Sandra L., wife of Gary Rehm, of Lititz. He had five grandchildren: Kristi L. Davis, Chad M. Kreider, and Ryan M. Kreider all of Bangor; Jeremy R. Rehm of Leola, and Eric M. Rehm of Lititz. He also was blessed with seven great-grandchildren: Jaxson and Sofia Kreider; Tyler, Zachary and Nathan Davis; and Ava and Nora Kreider. Ellie is survived by a sister: Dot Weit.

He was preceded in death by seven sisters and six brothers: Clarence Roth, Helen Kreider, Winifred Schoenberger, Ruth Witmer, Edith Christener, Paul Kreider, Bert Kreider, Donald Kreider, Arlene Davidson, Ray Kreider, Patsy Clausen, Pauline McClellan, and Richard Kreider Jr.

A celebration of life will be held Friday, Feb. 19, at Lititz United Methodist Church, 201 Market St., Lititz, at noon. Friends and family will be received one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be private and held at the convenience of the family.

Please omit flowers. Contributions in Ellie’s memory may be made to Hospice and Community Care, 4075 Old Harrisburg Pike, Mount Joy, PA 17552; or to the Warwick High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Warwick High School, 301 W. Orange St., Lititz, PA 17543, attn. Athletics Office (payable to Athletic Hall of Fame).

To send an online condolence, visit SnyderFuneralHome.com. Spacht-Snyder Funeral Home, Lititz, handled the arrangements.

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