Kenneth Thompson Eiler was born in Cincinnati on June 11, 1924. He died June 8, 2018, 3 days shy of his 94th birthday. He was raised in Cincinnati by his mother, Jeanette Buxton Thompson, growing up in Pleasant Ridge. Ken’s great-great-great grandfather was Price Thompson and Ken’s great great- great grandmother was Mollie Dunham. Price and Mollie were part of the first pioneer families who settled what would later become Cincinnati in December 1788. Ken loved his family’s history. He was able to trace his genealogy all the way back to John Thompson, who was born in England around 1590, and who later married Alice Freeman in 1616. It appears that Ken’s ancestors traveled from England to Long Island, New York beginning in 1635 where they resided before setting out to Cincinnati in early 1788. Some of Ken’s relatives fought as Patriots in the Revolutionary War.
Ken is survived by his loving wife, Artie Mae Simpson Eiler. They met in Cincinnati while both were working at Proctor & Gamble. They were married December 30, 1950. Ken and Artie had three children, all of whom survive today. His youngest is Sally Grindall. She is married to Roy Grindall and they have one daughter, Ken’s granddaughter, Alyson. Sally and Roy reside in Boston. Alyson resides in New York. His second child was Thomas David Eiler. Tom has resided in Cincinnati for many years and, together with Artie, was Dad’s primary caretaker after Ken and Artie moved to the Twin Lakes Senior Living Community in Montgomery, OH. Ken’s oldest son is Kenneth Simpson Eiler. He is married to Mary Sellin and together they have two daughters, Ken’s other granddaughters, Carey and Sarah. Ken and Mary reside in Portland, OR. Carey resides in Los Angeles. Sarah married Steven Balzer and together they have one daughter, Ken’s great granddaughter, Coral Cassidy Balzer. They will soon reside in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Ken was a graduate of Walnut Hills High School. He was an active supported of Walnut Hills and frequently attended alumni events. He recalled some years ago that he and Walter Kautz were the oldest members of the football team to march in that year’s annual homecoming. All three of Ken’s children went on to attend Walnut Hills. Ken was enrolled at the University of Cincinnati before he voluntarily enlisted in the Army on November 4, 1942. He served in the Pacific Theater and in particular in the East Indies, South Phillippines and Luzon. At the time of his discharge on January 6, 1946, he had received the American Theater Ribbon, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with 3 bronze stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, a Good Conduct Ribbon and a Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged as a Cryptographic Tech 805, a TSMG Expert, and a Carbine Marksman.
Following the War, Ken enrolled and later graduated from the Miami University of Ohio. He played tennis there, met the great Tony Trabert, and became a Sigma Chi. Shortly after graduating, he was employed by Proctor & Gamble, eventually becoming Manager of the Internal Auditing Department, International Division. He worked at P&G for 35 years until his retirement in 1985. As part of his job, he often traveled all over the world, including South America, Europe and Asia. On one of his last trips was scheduled to go to Tehran, but was cancelled at the last minute when the Shah of Iran was overthrown and the American Embassy seized.
Ken was extremely active in his community. He was a regular attendee at Knox Church until his later years. He was an active participant in his children’s sports activities including baseball, tennis, golf, and swimming. Ken was a long time Red’s fan, and one of the original Bengal’s fans. He saw the greats play at Crosley Field; and he was one of the first to purchase season tickets for the Bengals when they played at the University of Cincinnati. He was a member of the Mount Lookout Swim Club, the Hyde Park Tennis Club, and the Maketewah Country Club. He was also a founding member of the now defunct Hyde Park Teen Center....and he was proud to tell people that he helped to organize one of its first band concerts, booking the Grateful Dead. His oldest son Kenny, then an early teenager, was fortunate enough to be in attendance that night. Ken loved jazz music. He was fond of telling stories of his visit to jazz bars after the War to listen to music where he and his buddy would be the only white people present. He left a wonderful collection of jazz music on his iPod. A lifelong Republican, Ken celebrated diversity and was critical of those who did not. As a testament to his compassion and open-mindedness, he raised three liberal Democrats.
All of those who knew Ken came to adore him. Although he will be sorely missed, his legacy is one that we all hope to emulate. His family is comforted knowing that Ken will be keeping an eye on us all to make sure that we do.