Cover photo for Elmer Ellsworth Kelln, D.D.S. M.S.D.'s Obituary
Elmer Ellsworth Kelln, D.D.S. M.S.D. Profile Photo
1926 Elmer 2020

Elmer Ellsworth Kelln, D.D.S. M.S.D.

November 6, 1926 — October 7, 2020

Elmer Ellsworth Kelln, D.D.S., M.S.D., of Loma Linda, California, passed away at his home on October 7, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. He was 93 years old.
Dr. Kelln is survived by his wife of 72 years, Jean Kelln, and his three children, Elmira Garner, Wayne Kelln, and Lois Mikelson, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
He was born on November 6, 1926, in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, to George Adam Kelln and Catrina Elizebeth Herr, and was one of six children. In his own words, he "had a great boyhood" and "was a real wanderer" whilst growing up on his family farms, surrounded by tall grass, minor lakes, orchards, ranch animals, and his favorite, prairie birds.
During the height of WWII, after leaving his familys dairy farm in Chilliwack, British Columbia, he attended Auburn Adventist Academy in the United States, where he greatly exceeded academic expectations and was promptly put on the fast track to attend Walla Walla College in Washington State. He graduated from College at the age of 19 and enrolled in the University of Nebraska School of Dentistry, Lincoln, Nebraska, graduating in 1949 with his D.D.S. in general dentistry at the age of 23.
He courted his wife, Jean, during his time at dental school, and they married in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 15, 1948. After his graduation, Dr. and Mrs. Elmer Kelln moved back to Chilliwack, B.C., where they opened a private dental practice, built a home, and raised their three children.
Seeking a new adventure after many years of dental practice in B.C., the Kelln family made the pilgrimage back to the U.S. where Dr. Kelln completed his oral pathology residency at the University of Minnesota. From there, the family of five ventured to Morgantown, West Virginia, where Dr. Kelln served as associate professor of Oral Pathology at West Virginia University Medical Center from 1960 to 1966.
In 1966, the adventure continued when Dr. Kelln joined the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD), Loma Linda, California, faculty as associate professor of Oral Medicine. Within three years, he became professor and chairman of the Department of Oral Medicine, and in 1971, he became associate dean.
Over the course of his distinguished career, Dr. Kelln published his dental research in dozens of academic journals and textbooks, lectured at universities around the world, and worked as a consultant for many national dental associations and in forensic dentistry.
Retiring in 1985, Dr. Kelln solidified his legacy as an "LLUSD pioneer" who guided and inspired thousands of students towards academic excellence and their career dreams. As one former LLUSD student and colleague of his wrote, "I decided to become a dentist just like my dentist who happened to be Dr. Elmer Kelln".
In his personal life, Dr. Kelln greatly enjoyed camping and fishing with his family, playing a daily game of cribbage with his beloved wife, wood work and carpentry (his father was also a carpenter), restoring old and classic cars to their former glory, and making those around him laugh with a good joke. And ever the "wanderer", he relished his daily walks and often marveled at the birds that he spotted through his binoculars.
A memorial service is scheduled for 3:30 PM on Friday, November 6, 2020 (also his 94th birthday), at Emerson-Bartlett Memorial Chapel in Redlands, CA. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no reception after the service.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, November 6, 2020

Starts at 3:30 pm (Pacific time)

Emmerson-Bartlett Memorial Chapel - Redlands

703 Brookside Avenue, Redlands, CA 92373

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