Cover photo for Kenneth Bruce Elder's Obituary
Kenneth Bruce Elder Profile Photo
1944 Kenneth 2020

Kenneth Bruce Elder

October 15, 1944 — December 20, 2020

Kenneth Bruce Elder, 76, passed away at his home in Stillwater, OK, on Sunday, December 20, 2020. He was born in Stillwater on October 15, 1944, to William Clifford Elder and Bessie Marie Settle Elder. He grew up in Stillwater and attended Stillwater public schools, graduating from C E Donart High School (Stillwater High School) in 1962. He then attended Oklahoma State University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, and earned a bachelor of science and a master of science in Sociology. During that same period, he served six years in the Oklahoma Army National Guard 45th infantry brigade. He taught sociology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of North Texas where he earned his PhD in Sociology while also doing research for the Texas Governor’s Committee on Aging. Following graduation, he took a teaching position at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1975, where he remained for the next 38 years.

In addition to his teaching duties, Ken served on Southeastern’s Faculty Senate for 14 years, chairing the Senate from 2005-2007. He served on several university committees, and was the advisor for the Bryan County Elder Care program from 1983-2000. Ken also was one the original organizers of the Oklahoma Sociological Association. He was the recipient of the Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching award and the Excellence in Service award. In 2013, he was received the Life Achievement award and was granted Professor Emeritus status. He also received the Southeastern Alumni Association Distinguished Former Faculty Award in 2018.

He was an avid golfer, attaining every golfer’s dream of a hole in one in 2009. He was a lifelong member of Disciples of Christ, in the First Christian Church of Stillwater and at the First Christian Church in Durant where he served as an elder, deacon and as chairman of the board. He was a die-hard sports fan who loved his OSU Cowboys, Southeastern Storm, and was a supporter of the athletic and civic endeavors of his children and grandchildren.

Ken is survived by his wife of almost 52 years Jane Schiller Elder of the home, his daughters and spouses, Kathy Elder Thomas and husband Steve Thomas of Stillwater, and Jennifer Elder and husband Bryan Pregler of Allen, TX, as well as grandchildren Evan Thomas, Claire Thomas, Sean Pregler, Nick Pregler, and Evelyn Pregler.

Services will be private for immediate family only. However, they will be live streamed online by the First Christian Church of Stillwater and available for viewing on December 28th, 2020 on Dighton Marler Funeral Home Facebook page. Burial will be at Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater following the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Karmen Legacy Hospice, the First Christian Church of Stillwater or the First Christian Church of Durant.

Condolences may be sent to the family via an online guestbook at

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