Kenneth E. Shull, 97, formerly of Media, a chemist and executive for the Philadelphia Suburban Water Co., died Tuesday, April 22, of congestive heart failure at White Horse Village.

Mr. Shull's enthusiasm for science started early and blossomed into a career choice, said his son, Dave.

"When he was young, he built a laboratory in his basement. It was quite sophisticated," his son said.

Mr. Shull worked for Philadelphia Suburban Water Co., now Aqua America Inc., in Bryn Mawr for 45 years, starting in 1938 as a chemist and bacteriologist, and becoming chief chemist and then superintendent of water treatment in 1956.

He was named director of public relations and water quality control. At the time of his retirement in 1983, he was vice president of research and environmental affairs.

Born in Ardmore, Mr. Shull graduated from Haverford High School in 1934 and Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1938.

"He went to work two days after his graduation," his son said.

He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Water Works Association, and the New England Water Works Association. The two latter nonprofits work to improve water quality and supply.

He was a member and former officer of the Ardmore Rotary Club, and a former leader of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Shull won many awards during his career, including the service award from the Philadelphia Section of the American Cancer Society, and the Fuller Award from the American Water Works Association in 1968. He received the Abel Wolman Award of Excellence from the water works association in 1993.

Mr. Shull loved gardening, woodworking and wildlife.

He married Dorothy Shull, and the couple had two children before divorcing.

He had another son by his second wife, the former Ruth Marie Church. She died of cancer in 1975.

Besides his son, he is survived by another son, Richard, and two grandchildren. A daughter, Nancy Branca, died earlier.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in White Horse Village Auditorium, 535 Gradyville Rd., Newtown Square. Interment is private.

Donations may be made to Adult Care of Chester County, 201 Sharp Lane, Exton, Pa. 19341.