Colonel Joseph S. King, United Sates Army, (Retired), age 83, of Norman, died on June 24, 2020, surrounded by his loving wife Jeanne, their six children and extended family.
“I am a very lucky man,” King wrote in a memoir. “I am lucky in the things of life that are the most important — my family, my faith and my country.”
His service to his country included a distinguished 28-year military career in the US Army, including a combat tour in Vietnam. He received several awards and decorations, among them the Bronze Star and three Air Medals. He was inducted into the University of Oklahoma ROTC Wall of Fame for his Army service to the United States.
King attended OU from 1954-58 on a basketball scholarship. He was named to the first team of the first Big Eight Conference All-Star team. He was also the winner of the Big Eight Conference Medallion for scholarship and athletics in 1958. While at OU he scored over 1,000 points. In 2007, he was one of 15 players named to the University of Oklahoma’s All-Century Team.
He was subsequently drafted by the New York Knickerbockers but chose to play for the Wichita Vickers team in the National Industrial Basketball League, playing alongside Oklahoma alumnus Les Lane. The Vickers won the National AAU championship in 1959.
King grew up in Norman and after 20 moves with the military he was able to return in 1991 to set up the Norman ground station for the Earth Observation Satellite Company (EOSAT). In Norman, he was involved in many community organizations. He was active in the Norman Rotary Club and served as President in 2000-01. He also served on the Military Affairs Committee of the Norman Chamber of Commerce. His other community volunteer activities included the Center for Children and Families, St. Vincent de Paul and the Army ROTC Alumni Association.
A faithful Roman Catholic all his life, King attended St. Joseph’s grade school in Norman and St. Gregory’s High School in Shawnee. After retirement, he and Jeanne became active members at St. Thomas More University Parish.
Born in Dallas, Texas, to William C. (Nance) King and Erma Catherine Stanford King, he was the fourth of five children. He married Jeanne Katigan of Oklahoma City in 1958, and later wrote in his memoir that convincing her to marry him was the luckiest thing he ever did. They were married for 62 years and had seven children.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Daniel and Janice King of Pasadena, Maryland; daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Hervé Couturier of New York, New York; daughter and son-in-law, Mary and David Miller of Ashburn, Virginia; daughter and son-in-law, Monica King and Zamir Ahmad of Raleigh, North Carolina; daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Bill Suder of Leesburg, Virginia; son, John King and his fiancée Melissa Mullins of Rome, Georgia.
He leaves behind nine grandchildren: Michelle Hofmann; Meghan King; Robert King; Caroline Couturier; Charlotte Couturier; Diane Meynell; Sean Frye; Joseph Ahmad and Elizabeth Suder.
He is also survived by his sister, Nancy King of Norman.
King was preceded in death by his daughter, Kathleen Ann King; his parents; brothers, Raymond and Bill King; and sister, Mary Linn Boeckman.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at St. Thomas More University Parish in Norman. A rosary will be said at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 29, 2020, at St. Thomas More. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendees will be required to wear a mask and social distance seating will be in place. King will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to the Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation or St. Thomas More University Parish.