Centenarian Celebrations: Ken Gosnell

Ken Gosnell
Submitted by Ed Ballard, Regional Director, Carbide Retiree Corps (CRC)

- November 16, 2017 - On September 17, 2017, Ken Gosnell turned 100. Many more than 100 people joined his son, Doug, and daughter, Devon, in celebrating this milestone. The celebration provided a time for friends and family to share memories and stories of Ken’s career. It was a pleasure to join the festivities and present Ken the traditional CRC blanket along with letters of recognition.

Ken is symbolic of the “Greatest Generation,” who have a story to tell of achievements during difficult times. He is a West Virginian, born and bred. He was born in Braxton County, “out in the boonies,” as he puts it. He is the oldest of four children. His dad was a farmer and salesman during Ken’s youth and moves were common. Ken graduated from high school in Gassaway in 1935. He had several odd jobs before he entered Mountain State Business College in Parkersburg in 1937. He graduated in 1939 and got a job – which was hard to find in those days – in Welch, West Virginia.

Soon after he moved to Welch, a friend urged him to join the WV National Guard. This was a significant move; the Guard was shorthanded and he moved up the ranks quickly. The Guard was activated in 1941 and shortly afterward sent to Panama. Early on Ken applied for Officers Candidate School (OCS). He was accepted and completed OCS in Baltimore and was assigned to the Transportation Corps. He was sent to England, where he spent two years, actively involved in moving supplies to the troops.

After he was released from active duty, he remained in the National Guard and enrolled in WVU, majoring in Petroleum Engineering. He began a new career with Cabot in 1949. His job entailed a good bit of travel and some relocation. After returning to Charleston from an assignment in 1956, he had enough travel and looked to Carbide. Ken began work in the Carbide Construction Department in 1957. He moved to the Carbide Petroleum Company when it was formed. He was involved in oil and gas drilling operations. Ashland Oil acquired Carbide Petroleum and he stayed with them until he retired in 1981. He returned to Charleston. He found time to do some consulting work; he also found time for a little golf, he says.

In 1971 Ken retired as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years of service.