Christopher and Kameron  Cline


Chris Cline never forgot his upbringing in the West Virginia coal mines. As his business savvy made him a billionaire, he did not forget his hometown of Isaban, his home state or its people, especially children, in need.
Mr. Cline, 60, died Thursday in a helicopter crash off the coast of his private island Big Grand Bay in the Bahamas with his beloved daughter Kameron, 22. Five others were lost in the tragic accident.
Mr. Cline's grandfather and father were coal miners. As a child, he was digging dirt and filling bags for his father to use in packing blasting holes. He earned a penny a bag.
He went to work underground as a teenager. After leaving Marshall University early to help his father in a punch mine, the enterprising Mr. Cline borrowed money to buy the company's first continuous miner, an innovative improvement to coal production. He worked 16-hour shifts, seven days a week, month after month leading his crew, to pay it off. His big break came when he was able to buy an unprofitable mine for $1 million, improve its performance, and flip it for $17 million. One partner said, as quoted in Forbes, "He sees value in assets others overlook."
He'd found his calling.
He never stopped doubling down on deals.
His coal enterprises took him from Appalachia to Illinois to Canada. He offered cash incentives to his miners, installed advanced and safe mining equipment, and was ahead of his time in anticipating the market for coal. A mining engineer said, according to a Forbes magazine profile of Mr. Cline, "Those guys would run through a wall for him." Mr. Cline believed it was not enough to be innovative, you need a little luck. At Foresight, his four mine complexes were the most productive underground operations in the nation. He bought docks on the Mississippi River and built rail spurs to haul coal onto ships bound for India, Europe and Asia.
The boy from Isaban had become a man of the world.
Mr. Cline understood opponents of burning coal while defending coal and his role in supplying the world with it. He believed that people deserved the cheapest energy they could get. He had a curious mind, was eager to learn about everything and never stopped learning. As committed as he was to coal energy, for his Big Grand Cay property he installed solar panels and batteries. Where renewable energy sources made sense, he was eager to embrace them.
Upon learning of Mr. Cline's death, President Trump tweeted to 62 million people: "My greatest sympathies go out to the family and friends of great businessman and energy expert Chris Cline, his wonderful daughter, Kameron, and their friends, on the tragic accident which took place in the Bahamas. The great people of West Virginia will never forget them!"
As a reminder of the source of his wealth, Mr. Cline's first, battered hard hat is placed prominently above the fireplace of his Beckley mansion. At that house, he created a lake large enough for water skiing and a 400-foot water slide, built a go-kart track, and paint ball obstacle course. Though a billionaire, he never lost touch with the days that he lived in a single-wide trailer and used a blow dryer to thaw his water pipes.
Mr. Cline was generous with his philanthropy, publicly through the Cline Family Foundation, founded in 2009, but most importantly, privately, almost daily. The Foundation focuses on donations throughout West Virginia in recognition of the community's contribution to his success. It offers scholarships and grants, endows universities, and financially supports charitable organizations that make life better for children and older youth.
Among other donations, the Cline Family Foundation gave millions to West Virginia University, Marshall University, Place of Hope, a foster care and adoption organization; Peacehaven Community Farm, a home for disabled adults; orphanages in West Virginia and Haiti; Save the Children; humanitarian aid organizations in Tanzania; churches; and the Raleigh County YMCA, among other organizations, and many needy individuals over the years. He also supported The Benjamin School from which his daughter Kameron graduated in 2015. Few people beyond the recipients know details of Mr. Cline's many and constant personal acts of private charity.
He played as hard as he worked and was happiest in the company of his life-long friends and family. Mr. Cline kept close his friends from all phases of his life and regularly included them in his leisure activities.
Sharing his adventures with his four children and his lifelong friends was his particular pleasure. He would take crowds of friends and family to the Super Bowl, the Big East Tournament, myriad other sporting events, and on his frequent world travels. He loved the beach and nothing pleased him more than sharing good times at his homes and on his yacht. Mr. Cline was an adventure junkie whether it was driving fast cars or riding a four-wheeler like a banshee through the West Virginia hills. He had a good relationship with his money: he was willing to spend it.
He had his beloved Candice with his first wife, Sabrina, who tragically died of cancer in 1987. While divorced from his second wife of ten years, Kelly Cline Fama, in 2000, they shared three wonderful children, Logan, Tanner and Kameron, and a relationship of mutual respect for the rest of his life.
Mr. Cline often remarked that his children could not have better parents than Kelly and their step-dad, Phillip.
No matter what the demands of his business, Mr. Cline was devoted and committed to time with his children. In a statement, Mr. Cline's family said that he was "one of West Virginia's strongest sons, an American original, full of grit, integrity, intelligence, and humor." Of Mr. Cline's daughter Kameron, the family wrote that she was "a bright light to all who knew her, loving, smart, compassionate and full of joy and enthusiasm for life and other people." She graduated from Louisiana State University in May 2019 with a business degree and concentration in finance.
Her Benjamin School teachers wrote: "Kameron and the entire Cline family were all members of The Benjamin School community. Around campus, Kameron was known for her fun and upbeat personality. She joined the track team and excelled at the long jump, even qualifying for the state finals during her first year on the team. Kameron and classmate Brittney Searson shared a strong friendship; they were voted "Attached at the Hip" in their class superlatives." Ms. Searson died in the accident with her best friend.
Kameron graduated from The Benjamin School in May 2015.
Mr. 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 of Mooresville, NC; a sister and brother-in-law, Candice Cline and James Graham Kenan; three brothers, Christopher Logan Cline, Alex Tanner Cline, and Ethan Phillip Fama. Grandparents who died before her are Casey Eugene and Sybial Maxine Cantrell of Clendenin, WV; Paul and Lassie Cline of Isaban, West Virginia; and step-grandparents George and Mary Ann Fama of Beckley.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate gifts to either:
Powercross, ( a ministry for student athletes, at 1133 West Front Street, Statesville, N.C., 28677.
YMCA of Beckley-Raleigh County (, 121 East Main Street, Beckley, West Virginia, 25801
A remembrance service will be held at the Raleigh County Armory at 200 Armory Drive, Beckley, West Virginia at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 12, 2019. All who wish to share our celebration of these wonderful lives are welcome to attend.
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Published on July 10, 2019
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50 posts

shunamae & Elsworth Cooper..... Grand Cay Abaco
Jul 29, 2019
Mr Cline was truly an angel, his footprints will always be in Grand Cay, we thank God for him daily, he made it possible that the residence of Grand Cay could have found jobs to take care of their families, we will miss him dearly.... love you All, continue to sleep on..
Denzil (Bo) and Mona Cook and family
Jul 13, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cline family and all the other families whose loved ones were involved in such a heartwrenching accident. Although I didn't know Chris very well, my husband and Chris had known each other for years. Chris lived a fourth mile from us and was a respectable gentleman when he stopped by. He has done more for the State of West Virginia than most ever imagined.
Having been a foster parent and adopting 5 children, I was surprised to learn that Chris had supported foster care in West Virginia. Just an example of his generosity and how much he loved where he came from.
My heart breaks for all the families of the four beautiful young ladies whose lives were cut
...way too short. God has now given them all their wings and the two wonderful pilots are flying higher than ever before. May God bless you and keep you all in his mighty care.Read more
Jul 12, 2019
Michelle Preece
Jul 12, 2019
My sincere condolences to Kelly, Logan ,Tanner and Candice. He was a great guy and very king to me as well as each of you. Dealing with the loss of David just made it to hard to be there to honor your family. Just know I’m praying for healing, and comfort for each of you. 💔
Amber Stephenson
Jul 12, 2019
Serenity Wreath was purchased for the family of Christopher and Kameron Cline by Amber Stephenson.  Send flowers
Grady Luckey
Jul 12, 2019
My Fair Lady was purchased for the family of Christopher and Kameron Cline by Grady Luckey.  Send flowers
Jul 12, 2019
Dreams From the Heart Bouquet was purchased for the family of Christopher and Kameron Cline.  Send flowers
Paul Brown , retired state Electrical Inspector
Jul 11, 2019
It was a pleasure to have worked with him. He was an honorable man. I send prayers to the family. Matthew 5:4. &. Phillipians 1:4
Felino and Maria Carunungan
Jul 11, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cline family and the families of friends who were with Chris and Kameron. Chris was a pillar for strength, humility, generosity in the community. Chris you have touched so many lives and we will keep everyone in our prayers.
Rick DiVita
Jul 11, 2019
Still trying to understand this tragedy A great man and friend! The gang had some great adventures. See you on the other side Chris. 🙏🙏🙏
Mary Kay
Jul 11, 2019
So very sorry. God Bless❤️
Dick Storm
Jul 11, 2019
A fine American and a very talented man, Mr. Cline worked hard, progressed to live the American Dream and then generously shared his wealth and resources to help many others. Also, a fine spokesperson for the American Coal Industry. I am proud to have known him. He will be missed. My condolences to his family.
Rhonda Belford
Jul 11, 2019
Thoughts and prayers for all the family and friends. Working with Chris on special events in Southern Illinois was just a glimpse into his passion for what he believed in. To be able to make such a positive impact of which he certainly did, in this life is nothing short of amazing. May God bless his precious daughter, Kemeron, and the rest of Cline family and friends.
Willis. Duncan
Jul 11, 2019
To. The Best. Thanks 🙏 Enjoy It. On. High. Maybe Gone Never Ever Forgotten Prayers For Family And Friends. Love y’all.
Paul Panson
Jul 11, 2019
Condolences to a wonderful West Virginia family. God Bless.
Jul 11, 2019
Gift of Grace Bouquet was purchased for the family of Christopher and Kameron Cline.  Send flowers
Jean Cline Belcher
Jul 11, 2019
Just want to say sorry to the Cline family, I never had the privilege of meeting Chris, but all I have heard he was a well liked man an honest and one of a kind. To Greg I am so sorry for the loss of your brother and niece, you might not remember me, but we graduated the same time from Baileysville High. You and all of your family are so in my prayers, praying that God will comfort and give all peace.
I was looking thru the Peter Cline lineage book and found that I too am a decendent of Peter Cline so from a distant cousin, my heart breaks for all your family..
Darrell Collins
Jul 11, 2019
Im the Limo driver for Classic limo owned by Donna and Brian Williams . I had a chance to serve the Cline family on a few occasions and was always my pleasure especially on Chris 60th Birthday. What a great honor his family threw a great three day party. Our community has lost some GREAT people and will be very much missed RIP Amen
Jul 11, 2019
Blooming Garden Basket was purchased for the family of Christopher and Kameron Cline.  Send flowers
Chad Livingstone
Jul 11, 2019
Deepest sympathies to all the families.
Kevin and Ginny Burke
Jul 11, 2019
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of Mr.Cline and his daughter Kameron . Sending thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.
Rita wyke
Jul 11, 2019
So sorry for your loss. I never met me. Cline or daughter, however, I do know Login he is dating Kaylin Young a family friend of mind. I’m so sorry Logan I can’t even imagine what you are going through. Just know you and your family are in my prayers.
David Macleod
Jul 11, 2019
I send my deepest sympathies to the family and friends and coworkers of Kris and Kameron . God always takes angels first.
Larry Wunderly
Jul 11, 2019
Dear Candice and Family

My deepest condolences at the passing of Chris & Kameron and those who where with them.

God Bless
Zlatimira Angelova, NYC
Jul 10, 2019
A remarkable man. I met him through industry leaders and had the privilege to attend conferences and events masterfully orchestrated by Mr. Cline and his team. His legacy will live on.