Portville Hall of Fame
(From Gary Swetland's Presentation at the Alumni Banquet on 7/12/13)
Ken and Bette were both born and raised in Portville. Ken was born at home
in 1920, the son of Earl and Lila Keller Eldridge. Bette was born at Olean
General Hospital to Don and Mary Percival.
Both were active members of the Portville Central School Class of 1939. Ken
served as Class VP, Student Senate, and played baritone trumpet in the high
school band. Bette was Class Treasurer, and participated in mixed chorus.
After high school, Bette went to work as the legal secretary for John
Dusenbury at the First National Bank and the Olean Times Herald. Ken
worked at National Powder in Eldred, before enlisting in the US Army Air
Corps in April 1942.
Ken and Bette were high school sweethearts and were married on December
12, 1942, at Portville’s Presbyterian Church, officiated by both the
Presbyterian and Methodist ministers. Ken continued his service in the US Air
Corps until November 1945, stationed in Miami Beach, Fla.
Ken then enrolled at Saint Bonaventure University for two years where he
majored in Accounting while he worked at Daily Mills in Olean, and the
Portville Feed Mill as their accountant. In 1950, Ken started at Clark Brother’s
and worked there 33 years retiring in 1983.
Bette continued working for several local attorneys in the bank building and the
Olean Times Herald until she was hired by Portville Central School in 1958.
She and Katherine Ryder were the first two secretaries to work in the (then
new) Elementary building. She served the district 30 years.
Clubs, organizations, and community service the Eldridges contributed to
Village Board (including acting Mayor during the 1972 flood) 1960 to 1978.
Ken joined The Portville Fire Dept. in 1948 and is a Life Member
Ken was appointed by the Village Board to the Board of Fire Commisioners
and that organization in elected him as Secretary of that Board.
He is also Life member of the Portville American Legion, Post #814
Her dignified service to Portville Central School for 30 years, and her unfailing
service to the Methodist Church might best characterize or define her
contributions to Portville, She served as Secretary for the Portville United
Methodist Women for many years & Treasurer for the District United
Methodist women for many years.
Ken and Bette were both active members of the Portville Historical Society,
The Pfeiffer Nature Center, the Portville Garden, Bird, and Nature Clubs.
They also established the “Don and Mary Percival Youth Methodist Summer
Ken and Bette have two children, Diana Welty and David Eldridge, both are
PCS graduates, classes of 1964 and 1966.
Ken attended the banquet and accepted Bette's posthumous award.
|The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
|17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770
Portville, New York
|Kenneth Eldridge and Bette Eldridge (posthumous)
PCS Wall of Fame Class of 2013 Inductees