BECKLEY, W.Va. — A celebration of life service for coal entrepreneur Chris Cline and his daughter Kameron took place at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on Friday, with speakers sharing personal stories of friendship, humor and joy as part of a tribute to two victims of a helicopter incident in the Bahamas.
Chris Cline’s son-in-law, James Graham Kenan, said the businessman was known simply as “Papa Bear” to the family’s grandchildren. Kenan described Kameron Cline as a kind, gentle person who recognized the value of time spent with family and friends.
“She could have anything she wanted but she didn’t ask for or want much. Expensive, material things didn’t matter to her,” he said.
Kameron Cline followed her father’s philanthropic example, volunteering for community service in Africa and mission trips with Christ Fellowship to Haiti. She also was a member of the non-profit organizations Place of Hope and Samaritans Purse.
Chris Cline’s attorney, Brian Glasser, said Cline never lost sight of his humble beginnings, always made the safety of his workers a top priority, and consistently — though often quietly — donated vast amounts of his personal wealth to various charities.
“Many people in this room were inspired by Chris, or felt his presence. He was one of West Virginia’s greatest sons,” said Glasser, noting the expansion of Cline’s privately held company, Foresight Energy, over a seven-year period, resulting in one of the largest mining operations on the planet.
Former Marshall University basketball head coach Greg White, who first met Cline when the two played for rival junior high school teams, said a close friendship began when both men were attending Marshall in the 1970s. White told the audience he knew early on Cline was a “big thinker” who welcomed challenges, was unafraid to take calculated risks, and went on to embrace large-scale initiatives, while simultaneously making big monetary donations to charitable causes he believed in.
Gov. Jim Justice, First Lady Cathy Justice, West Virginia University President Gordon Gee, Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert and Murray Energy founder Bob Murray were among the hundreds of friends and business associates of Cline who attended Friday’s ceremony, which was open to the public.
Chris Cline’s survivors include a daughter, Candice Cline Kenan, and her husband James Graham Kenan; two sons, Christopher Logan Cline and Alex Tanner Cline; and two brothers, Greg Cline and Kenneth Cline.
Kameron Cline’s survivors include her mother and step-father, Kelly Cline Fama and Phillip George Fama; a sister and brother-in-law, Candice Cline and James Graham Kenan; and three brothers, Christopher Logan Cline, Alex Tanner Cline, and Ethan Phillip Fama. Grandparents who died before her are Casey Eugene and Sybial Maxine Cantrell; Paul and Lassie Cline; and step-grandparents George and Mary Ann Fama.
The family has requested in lieu of flowers that charitable donations be sent either to Powercross, a ministry for student athletes in Statesville, North Carolina, or to the YMCA of Beckley-Raleigh County.