Carson Freyman “Kit” Diefenderfer
August 13, 1923-December 23, 2021
Carson Freyman “Kit” Diefenderfer passed away December 23, 2021 at age 98.
Born August 13, 1923 the only child of Carson Newhard Diefenderfer and Leila Freyman Diefenderfer in Fullerton, where he grew up and met the love of his life early, returning from the first day of elementary school and declaring to his mother that he would one day marry Nancy Neale Ross. Sixteen years later, on July 1,1944, they wed.
Kit graduated in 1940 from Whitehall High School, where he was class president and manager of the football team. He enrolled at Lehigh University and studied civil engineering. His ROTC unit was called to duty in 1942 and completedBasic Training at Fort McClellan, Alabama. In 1944 he returned to officer candidate school at Fort Benning, Georgia, and received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army on June 27, 1944, returning to the Lehigh Valley the following week to be married.
Shortly after, Kit shipped out for France with the Third Battalion, 353rd Regiment, 89th Infantry, where he served as a communications officer in the Allied advance on Nazi Germany. On April 4, 1945, the 89th and the 4th Armored Division liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp, the first such camp liberated by American forces, opening the eyes of the West to Nazi atrocities. The Army awarded Kit the Bronze Star for his meritorious service in combat.
Upon returning to the United States, he graduated from Lehigh in 1947, and he and Nancy moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where Kit worked as a civil engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. While living in Maryland, the couple’s first daughter, Elaine, was born.
On April 2, 1951, Kit was recalled to duty and readied to depart for Korea again in service of the country. Now a captain, he commanded a company of the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in Korea for nine months in 1951 and 1952. Meanwhile, back home Nancy gave birth to the couple’s second daughter, Caren. Kit returned to Pennsylvania in July 1952 and completed a master’s in civil engineering from Lehigh in 1954.
In 1955, Kit started work for Bethlehem Steel, culminating a 28-year career in 1983 as the company’s chief engineer of buildings.
The Diefenderfers attended Midway Manor Moravian Church in Allentown, where Kit was an elder and superintendent of Sunday School instruction. Kit's other passions were golf (with Saucon Valley Country Club’s Thundering Herd), woodworking, and cheering on Lehigh’s football team; he was one of a handful of Lehigh rooters to attend more than 50 iterations of The Rivalry between the Lehigh and Lafayette football teams.
He and Nancy spent retirement winters at Ocean Village in Fort Pierce, Florida, where they had many friends and fond memories.
In his later years, Kit resided happily at Moravian Village and attended Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem.
He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy and daughter Caren. He is survived by his daughter Elaine, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2 P.M. on Friday, July 8, 2022 at Moravian Village, 526 Wood Street Bethlehem, PA 18018, in the Atrium. Carson's arrangements have been entrusted to the Cantelmi Long Funeral Home, Bethlehem. A memory tribute may be placed at www.cantelmifuneralhome.com.
Contributions may be made in memory of Carson F. Diefenderfer to Lehigh University online by visiting give.lu and selecting "In memory of" at the bottom, or via check payable to Lehigh University to: Development and Alumni Relations, 306 S. New St., Suite 500, Bethlehem, PA 18015 with a note that the gift is in memory of Carson F. Diefenderfer ’44 or to Moravian Village, Attn: Good Samaritan Fun, 526 Wood St. Bethlehem, Pa 18018 (please include “Good Samaritan Fund” on the memo line).