Wallace R. “Wally” Ely January 11, 1937 - August 7, 2018
Wallace R. Ely passed away August 7, 2018 in Allentown, PA.
Wally – author, historian, broadcaster and marketer, was a prolific writer, spending part of every day at his computer writing essays about his life and memories of the Lehigh Valley, as well as several railroad books and eBooks. He received the Arts Ovation Award from the Allentown Arts Commission in 2011 for literary excellence. Wally and his devoted wife Suzanne celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in June 2018. Suzanne was his wife and caregiver. Wally was well known for his popular book on the history of Dorney Park, published with his friend and former park chairman Bob Ott. Wally also wrote “Does This Train Go Up Hawk Mountain” for the WK&S Railroad at Kempton and ”Auto Train” for Arcadia Publishing. In 2012 he published five eBooks for Amazon.Com and the Kindle reader. A graduate of Muhlenberg College in 1958, Wally entered broadcasting. Legendary newsman Alan Raber at radio station WKAP trained Wally to be a news writer and broadcaster. Most of Wally’s life was spent in bank marketing; advertising, research and public relations with Merchants Bank in Allentown and later Meridian Bank/CoreStates in Reading. He was graduated from the School of Bank Marketing at the University of Colorado. He taught a Bank Marketing course at the American Institute of Banking, and another at Cedar Crest College.
Wally also worked as a buyer-trainee for H. Leh and Company, and a field representative for General Motors in the Allentown office of GMAC. Born in West Reading, Wally lived as a small child with his parents in Reading, then Wescosville, then Fourth Street in center city Allentown. His parents were Helen (Rogowski) Ely and Thomas Garfield Ely. Wally was active in Lutheran church affairs. He served two terms as president of the Allentown Area Lutheran Parish – later the Lehigh Mission District, and was vice president, president, secretary and treasurer of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allentown – He was a lector, usher and assisting minister.
Wally served two terms as president of the Allentown- Lehigh County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and then served on the committee for combining the tourist services of Lehigh and Northampton counties. In retirement Wally became a producer of feature segments for RCNTV. His 190 segments produced after 1996 were the greatest number for a producer in the history of the RCN studio. He also worked for 19 years, as a part-time driver in the transportation department of Outten Chevrolet in Allentown and Hamburg. He was vice president of the Lehigh Valley Timing Association and a volunteer at America On Wheels. He was charter member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Allentown-Salisbury, and served numerous terms as board member and club secretary during fifty years of membership. He was a charter member of the Postcard Club of the Lehigh Valley. Wally loved the WK&S Railroad at Kempton. He served on the committee that founded the line in 1962, and has been a volunteer ticket agent and trainman for much of the fifty five-plus-year history of the line. He also has been corporate president and secretary and member of the board of directors. Ely chaired the “Save The Railroad Committee” in 1969,
making reorganization of the company possible He was the first president of the Hawk Mountain Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. and a 50 plus year member of NRHS.
Wally managed a family business during the 1970’s. He was a franchisee for the Holiday Rent-A-Car System with offices in Dorneyville and East Allentown, and operated the Gulf gas station at THE Car Wash on Hamilton Boulevard. Life-long Phillies fan!
Wally’s three children blessed him with four grandsons. Daughter Dr. Linda Wieder and her husband Charles of St. Michaels Maryland are the
parents of Timothy and Michael; Son David Ely of Whitehall, Pennsylvania is the father of Richard, husband of Michelle and stepfather of Jenna Edwards. Jenna’s children are Wally’s step great grandchildren, Ariel and Juliana. Son Scott Ely and wife Susan of Fairview, Pennsylvania are parents of Nicholas.
Services will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements by the Stephens Funeral Home, Inc. www.stephensfuneral.com.
Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Wally to St. John’s
Lutheran Church, 37 S. 5th Street, Allentown 18102.
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