Kalbfus, Kelly added to national memorial wall in Washington

“The father of game conservation in Pennsylvania” was recently honored in Washington, D.C. alongside the man who died with him right here in Warren County.

Dr. Joseph H. Kalbfus and Elias “Woody” Kelly were two of the 321 officers added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington on May 13.

The two join more than 19,000 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and are listed on the wall. The honor is one shared by only five other Pennsylvania Game Commissioners.

During the summer of 1919, the two men were part of an expedition seeking to identify prospective game refuges west of the Allegheny Mountains. Their vehicle was struck by an oncoming train at a railroad intersection near Tiona and both were killed.

Game refuges were the precursors to the state game lands system in use today.

Kalbfus was instrumental in the formation of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners in 1895. He served as the state’s first chief game protector before becoming the second state secretary of game commission in 1898.

The Kalbfus Rod and Gun Club near Chapman State Park is named in Kalbfus’ honor.

Kelly was one of a handful of game protectors in the early years of the game commission. At its founding, the commission was authorized to appoint only ten protectors for the entire state.

“We take great pride in our wildlife conservation officers, past and present,” Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe said in a June 7 press release. “We’re proud the sacrifices of these two men now have been honored eternally.”