In Memory

William King

William Edgar King, 82, died Sunday, June 17, 2012 at his residence. A memorial service was held at 11:00am Saturday June 23, 2012, at First Baptist Church of Abilene, directed by Piersall Funeral Directors. The Memory Men Chorus sang at the memorial service. 

William Edgar King was born Aug 6, 1929 to Thomas Boyd King and Lita Pearl (McPherson) King in Abilene, Texas. He attended Alta Vista Elementary and was in the first class at the new South Junior High, later Jefferson Middle School, where his 2 grandchildren also attended. He played trumpet in the Abilene High School Eagle Band and graduated in 1946. 

He attended Hardin Simmons University from 1947 to 1950, and was a proud member of The World Famous Cowboy Band, traveling all over the Southwest, as well as to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. He was a charter member of the Cowboy Band Foundation, serving as President during the time money was raised to build the Cowboy Band Hall on the HSU campus. A painting of Dr. King hangs in the Cowboy Band Hall on its " Wall of Fame " in honor of his long lasting and generous support of The Cowboy Band.

After graduating from Baylor School of Dentistry in Dallas, he served 2 years active duty in the Navy, stationed in Japan, Hawaii, and Corpus Christi. In 1955 he married Val Jean Sherman while stationed at Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station, Hawaii. In 1956 he opened his dental practice in Dallas, moving back to Abilene in 1960, where he limited his practice to children. 
Dr. King was an active member of the Cactus Lions Club for many years, serving as District Governor for District 2E-1 in 1979-80. He truly believed in the work of the Texas Lion's Camp at Kerrville and their camps for handicapped and diabetic children. He also loved the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 6, which is now Troop 206, and served in various leadership positions including Scoutmaster. Later, his son Boyd and grandson James also earned the rank of Eagle in the same troop. In his later years, he would brag about being a "bald Eagle." 

William's father grew up as one of 14 children on a farm which later became part of Dyess AFB, and he always felt a special connection to the base. Family tradition holds that the Heritage Club was built on the site of the family farmhouse. William served on the Military Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years, and was honorary commander of the base dental clinic for 13 years. He designed the lapel pin for the committee which is still in use today; so he had a special joy and pride when his grandson, Capt. James King, became a B-1 pilot stationed at Dyess in 2009. 

Bill loved to sing and was a member of the First Baptist Church choir, the Memory Men barbershop group, the Celebration Singers, and the Rose Park Senior Citizens gospel group. His love of music was passed on to his son and grandchildren: Boyd and James both played the trumpet at Cooper HS and in college, while Julia studied voice and performed in choirs and musical theater. 

Bill was a true "people person" and never met a stranger. He will be remembered for his friendliness and humor. William never missed an opportunity to tell others how neighborly and genuine West Texans are, and how privileged he felt to have lived here most all his life.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, and wife Val Jean King, who died in January, 2002. He is survived by his son, Boyd King and wife Lynn of Abilene, grandson Capt. James King and wife Capt. Heidi King of Abilene, granddaughter Julia Kimball, husband Robert, and great-grandson Caedmon of Mineral Wells. His grandchildren and great-grandson were his pride and joy. 


Bill was a steady member of our chorus and loved to sing tenor. His favorite song was "Coney Island Baby'.