A young baby boy was brought into this earth. He was born in Greenville, South Carolina on September 27, 1932 to the parents of Homer and Bessie King. I would guess he lived a pretty normal life that everyone else in the time of the Depression did, with the exception that his father died while working on a truck. It fell onto his chest when the boy was only 4 years old. He never grew to know his father, at least not his earthly father. He was the middle child of three sons. When he was 16 he fell in love for the first and only time in his life with a pretty young girl who attended the same church that he did. They didn’t run off and get married or anything crazy, instead it was 5 years later when they did. When he was 17 years old he joined the military, the Marines to be more exact. The boy I’m writing about is my father, Marion Wilson King. After boot camp he and my mother, Viola Poole, married and had three daughters. I, Nancy, am the middle child just as my father was.
My father was the greatest man alive as far as I’m concerned. He spent many years traveling the Marine Corps and fought in the Korean Conflict from the years 1952-1958. I can’t really say how much fighting he did but he was there for 5 years. I know that he worked as a medic on the helicopters that brought in the wounded and others. He was shot in the back, literally, and had to wear a full back brace, so that probably kept him off the front lines, for which I am eternally grateful! He retired from the Marines after 22 active years of service in 1972 and then remained on inactive duty (meaning he could be called back to serve at any given moment) for another 8 years. All those 30 years my father served his country and dedicated his life to being of service to these United States. My dad also served as a volunteer fireman as part of the military duty that he was required to fulfill. Our family was required to move, as all families are, whenever duty calls for it. My dad moved us between North and South Carolina many times, probably more than I can ever remember. I know I went to at least 12 different schools while growing up. My education was always important to my parents but back in the 70’s it wasn’t all about politics and CATS testing. I went to military schools on some occasions and it was definitely more strict than ordinary public school was.
Before retiring from the Marines my dad worked at a factory making tools for cars as well as his job on the base. He would work from 6am until 2pm and then from 3pm until 11pm. We lived on the coast of SC at that time and we would always wait for daddy to come home from work because he wanted for us all to go swimming as a family at midnight. I know where I get my spontaneity from for sure.
Soon after his retirement my dad felt that he was being called to Minister a church, so we moved to the Upstate Area of SC so he could go to college and do Bible Studies. He went to school in Hendersonville, NC at Fruitland Baptist Bible College and worked as a Pastor at a few small churches during his time at college. I remember hearing my mom and dad in the kitchen as early as 4am for him to get his breakfast and lunch for the day and then he would catch a ride with other Pastors-to-be a few miles from where we lived. Those four men traveled for 4-6 hours a day through rough mountain terrain to get back and forth to school for three years so they could better teach their congregations. My dad graduated from college in 1979 and I graduated from High School the same year! My dad was always my inspiration for going to college. I always wanted to learn more and more and study and read like he did. Later that year my dad was called to be Associate Pastor at a church in Covington, KY (Southside Baptist) and he stayed there for about a year until he left to be a full-time Pastor at another church just a few miles down the road, or a few towns away. He was there until his passing in 1982 and loved doing God’s work.
I wasn’t always close to my dad because he was gone a lot serving his country with the military, the fire departments, and the ministry. I think I was starting to understand who he was and what he stood for when I was 19. I loved my dad very much; he was the biggest, the best and the second most important person to me in my life, my mom was first. I can remember being 9 months pregnant at the age of 22 and sitting on my daddy’s lap. He always told everyone that he held his grandchild for the first time on that day! Four months after my daughter Jennifer was born my dad passed on to be with God. He loved her so much and on the day he died my mom told me that he was passing her newborn picture around and showing it to everyone. He was a very proud grandpa and would still be today with both of his granddaughters and great grandchildren.
Below are some pictures of my dad when he was in Korea, they’re the only ones that I have of him at all. In a few of them he was receiving awards including several purple heart awards and he had tons of Rifleman Expert awards that we played with when I was little. He didn’t mind at all. Notice the one where he is wearing a full back cast and shaving a patient. It’s my favorite because it shows his compassion for others! In the first picture from left to right he is standing alone, then in the middle receiving an award and the same picture is next with a turn of his head, then the back cast one and one with a fellow soldier and the last picture he is the second from the end (wearing the darkest uniform). Speaking of uniforms, I always loved to iron my dad’s military uniforms; something about the smell of starch and the crispness of the clothing. I still love ironing to this day! My dad would be much older today but he died at a young age of 49. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone for so many years. I do miss him, just like it was yesterday that I last saw him.