Luther Killianhelped established Luther Acres

By on June 20, 2012

Luther Killian was a man with a mission: to build a church — literally, figuratively and spiritually. His whole life was centered on this one mission: to build a church.

He was born Nov. 8, 1915 in Lancaster of parents Andrew Clayton and Kathryn Shaeffer Killian. He was a loyal and loving husband to Jennie Elizabeth Pontz Killian and caring father to Eileen, Luther Jr. and Amy Killian.

At age 11, God saved his life when he would surely have died of gangrene appendicitis. Luther not only survived but persevered in school, community and church life. He was the youth representative to church council at an early age, and later president of the Luther League organization of Lancaster County and adjacent states. He was an early volunteer to Lutheran Social Services and helped to establish the first Lutheran Home for the aged on King Street in Lancaster city.

He was very active on "The Hill" — Cabbage Hill, hauling coal in a small wagon, delivering newspapers and working at the Acme food store.

He was very fond of his church group, the Alpha Sigmas, as well as the church Luther League and baseball team. He volunteered tirelessly for church and civic groups: Lutheran Social Services, of which he was treasurer for years, going through the building and establishment of Luther Acres Retirement Community and home in Lititz.

He was past president of the American Business Club, Lancaster Chapter, and representative to national conventions, giving guidance and direction.

He was representative to Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church and key leader in Ascension Lutheran Church’s move from Hazel, Laurel and Wabank streets in Lancaster city to Penn Grant Road in Willow Street, providing counsel to and authority on zoning ordinances, property proceeding, land purchase and extension building growth projects and developing of the community park on Ship Rock Road.

He was employed directly out of high school by Armstrong Cork Company, where he started as a tool and dye maker apprentice. His ingenuity and profound concern for the company (now Armstrong World Industries) and all of its workers led him to a late retirement because of his integral value as an industrial engineer. He was instrumental in establishing the first Quality Circles there. He was superintendent of the Navy Shell Shop, director of Plant Facilities Planning, conducted the first all-inclusive tour of the plant and its facilities and was responsible for creating countless improvements for the quality of work life for company and workers, including safe, lighted parking facilities, bathroom and personal safety facilities, quality incentives, interacting talks and meetings among all levels of workers from the president of the company to countless supportive company workers.

He will be very much missed by his family, friends and neighbors, yet his unflaggable spirit will continue to live on in countless places and lives that he touched in many many generations to come.

Luther is survived by two daughters: Eileen Killian, of Lancaster; and Amelia (Amy) Killian, of Towson, Md.; a son: Luther Jr., husband of Lynne Killian, of Pebble Beach, Calif.; two grandsons: Scott, husband of Maudi Killian; and Keith, husband of Florence Killian; and six great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two sisters: Elizabeth Killian Splain Petticoffer and Laura Killian Todd; and one brother: Elwood Killian.

His life celebration funeral service was held on June 16 at Ascension Lutheran Church, Willow Street, with Rev. Steven R. Bowser officiating. Interment took place in Riverview Burial Park.

If desired, memorial contributions may be sent to Ascension Lutheran Church, 600 E. Penn Grant Road, Willow Street, PA 17584 in Luther’s memory.

Arrangements were made by Fred F. Groff Inc. For more information, visit

About lititzrecord