Reverend Dr. LeRoy Kettinger

Obituary of Reverend Dr. LeRoy W. Kettinger

The Reverend Dr. LeRoy W. Kettinger, 81, passed away on May 27, 2023, at Auburn Community Hospital (Auburn, NY). LeRoy was born in Mansfield (OH) to The Rev. Burton Edward and Mary Jane (Probst) Kettinger. As a child and teen, he lived in Cleveland and Warren (OH) and was active in the Ohio Conference of the Free Methodist Church enjoying Bible quizzing, preaching competitions, singing in church, and assisting his father with worship. He attended Roberts Wesleyan University in Rochester (NY) and while there met Wilma Lawson. They were married on June 8, 1963, and in the reception line after the wedding was offered the opportunity to pastor a Free Methodist Church in New Middletown (OH) which he and Wilma accepted. That began a wonderful career in ministry including appointments at New Middletown, Cleveland (OH), Director of Youth Ministries for the Free Methodist Church (Winona Lake, IN), Columbus (OH), and Seattle (WA), as well as graduating from Youngstown State University (OH) and Asbury Theological Seminary (KY) where he completed his Master of Divinity degree. After pastoring the Seattle First FMC at Seattle Pacific University, LeRoy accepted a position at Roberts Wesleyan University where he worked for 9 years as Vice President for Student Services. He also served as Dean of the Chapel, and during that time completed his Doctor of Divinity at United Theological Seminary (OH). The years at Roberts were some of his favorites, and the opportunity to minister to and build relationships with students were memories he cherished. Those years also included an interim appointment at the Lockport FMC (NY) and summers serving as the camp evangelist at church camps across the Northeast, Midwest, and Canada. After Roberts, LeRoy returned to ministry as the lead pastor of the Dearborn Free Methodist Church (MI) followed by a few more years working in higher education, consulting, and time as pastor of Christ Chapel Wesleyan Church (Hamlin, NY). In 1998, he became the Senior Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Auburn (NY) where he and Wilma began what resulted in 25 years of ministry in the Auburn community. LeRoy loved his Auburn parishioners, friends, and network of ministers. He retired from the First United Methodist Church but never really retired. His most recent ministries included serving as Chaplain at Auburn Community Hospital, Chaplain of The Commons at St. Anthony, and Pastor of St. Andrews United Methodist Church (Mottville, NY), as well as officiating at numerous weddings and funerals. LeRoy was someone who enjoyed people. You could often find him at a local diner with friends, participating in community events, taking part in a prayer breakfast with the local ministerial association, or spending time with his ever-growing family. He loved his family, ministry, and Auburn community, and throughout his lifetime kept a close association with his home state of Ohio spending summers at the Kettinger Cottage in Mansfield, OH. LeRoy is survived by his wife of 60 years, Wilma, children Kirk (Michelle), Kevin (Elsa), Valerie (Darby), Janelle (Rudy), 14 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren, and brother Burt Kettinger. A Memorial Service will be held at Pearce Memorial Free Methodist Church (N. Chili, NY) on Saturday, July 8Th at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Roberts Wesleyan University or Northeastern Seminary, 2301 Westside Drive, Rochester, NY 14624. Please leave a message for the family at
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