Grandpa King

I never met my mother’s father or my dad’s mother. They both died of tuberculosis when my parents were children. Today I received the obituary for my Grandpa King from brother Doug. He received it from a former neighbor of ours who we briefly went to grade school with and is now heavily into genealogy.

The following is the transcript from the Washington State College Alumni Newsletter Volume XXII, Number 8, November 1932 (it is now called Washington State University):

In Memoriam

R. M. KING, ’21, DECEASED

Raymond McKinley King, aged 33, a 1921 graduate from the State College, died recently at his home in Los Angeles, California, after a long illness.  He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer King of Davenport and a brother of Carl and Ervin King, prominent Pullman farmers.

He was born January 26, 1899, at Davenport and received his early education in the grade and high school of that town, later matriculating at the State College.  He was prominent in athletics, winning letters in both football and track, and served as president of his class during his senior year.  He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Alpha Zeta fraternity and the Gray W club.

While a member of the officers’ training corps at the State College he contracted influenza, from which tuberculosis developed.  Several times he was pronounced cured of the disease, but each time it recurred and finally claimed his life.

On August 28, 1924 he was married to Charlotte Verna Davies, a college student and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.  Mrs. King, with the two children, Grace Ellen, seven, and Lewis Ray, five, survive him.

Following graduation Mr. King farmed in the Joel neighborhood, near Moscow, but went to Los Angeles to enter the veterans; hospital, where he remained two years, then taking up his home in that city, where the family has resided since.

Mr. King was apparently in good health when he arose in the morning, according to word from Los Angeles.  He ate a hearty breakfast, but complained of feeling very tired and laid down to rest, soon passing quietly away.

Mr. King was very popular during his student days at the State College and was an outstanding athlete of powerful physique.  He made friends easily and was admired by all who know him for his friendly disposition and splendid character.

He is survived by his widow and two children, by his parents at Davenport, two brothers near Pullman and a sister, Mrs. Karl Kurtz, of Los Angeles.

There almost certainly a genetic component to personality and I know both of Raymond King’s children, all of his grandchildren, all the great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren I know have (or had) a very pleasant personality. In the last three years both children, one grandchild, and one great-grandchild passed away. My mom and cousin Larry passed away within a few days of each other almost exactly two years ago.

I probably got at least some of the genes for my height from my Grandpa King. Grandpa Huffman was only about 5’ 10” although his brother Walt Huffman was 6’ tall. My Grandma King was tall for a woman of that era at about 5’ 8”. But my Grandma Huffman and both my parents were of average height or a bit on the short side.

I knew Great Uncle Carl and Great Aunt Ann (Grandpa King’s brother and sister-in-law), fairly well. Uncle Carl played in the first Rose Bowl (they won 14-0). It probably was the 50th anniversary when the surviving players of the first game were honored with a trip to Pasadena and stood in the end zone for a bit during half-time. I remember Mom watching the game on TV which was unique. We never watched sports in our family. We saw a group of men standing in the end zone for a few seconds and then the network switched to a commercial. We were all disappointed we didn’t get to really see him on TV.

We would visit Uncle Carl and Aunt Ann once or twice during the year as they lived less than two hours away on a farm in the Palouse. They visited us on our farm too. Dad and Uncle Carl always talked about crops, weather, and equipment.

One time when we were visiting relatives in California Uncle Carl and Aunt Ann were about to take a cruise to Hawaii from (probably) Los Angles. I probably was five or six years old at the time. We got to go on the ship for a hour or so and look around. I misunderstood and thought we were going to go on the cruise too. I was disappointed when we had to get off before it left the dock. My most vivid memory is of everyone on the dock and the ship waving at each other and the colorful paper streamers that were thrown across the gap from each side. There was  large machine that made a pass between the dock and the ship severing all the streamers before the ship pulled away. I remember asking why they did that. Dad thought there were so many of them that even though each was easily broken combined they could do damage to something from the pulling on the dock and ship. I doubt that now. More likely is that they didn’t want the paper in the water so it would be easier to clean up.

5 thoughts on “Grandpa King

  1. Genealogy is very interesting, to me at least. My mom did a good bit of it back in the 80s and 90s, when it required lots of legwork, looking at microfiches, and poring through dusty books. I was the only sibling who seems to have cared, so I get all the stories. Just got all of her work backed up to thumb drives and dispersed to be safe. It’s kind of like learning history on the large scale; not just cold facts, but real people who had the same feelings, problems, hopes and dreams that we do.

  2. Joe, your Grandfather and I despite being a century and a continent apart were both SigEps and ROTC kids.

  3. Fun, indeed. What some of us have noticed is that by the time people get interested, the ones they need to talk to for all the stories may no longer be around.
    I have copies of genealogies on both sides of the family going back quite a ways (all this in Holland, where I came from). A fun part was to read about a civil engineer who emigrated to England and became quite famous there, way back 9 generations or so.

  4. Tuberculosis used to be a real killer, which gives me concern when I read about drug-resistant TB.
    My Grandmother (mother’s mother) had tuberculosis as a child in Austria about 110 years ago. She apparently recovered, and according to family history the TB was in her shoulder. She carried a scar there which the doctors on Ellis Island were very interested in when she emigrated in 1922. She had two children 6 and 2 with her, and she was afraid of being returned, which was a real concern then, as the US did not need any more TB cases.
    Interestingly (or not), there is a fever contractable in the Bakersfield area called Valley Fever which shows up as a false positive on the TB scratch test.

    • One of the first jobs my ex-wife had after we got married was as an assistant in a clinic where they did bronchoscopies. She, as everyone else who worked their more than a year, turned positive for TB on the test. She was took a drug for year which apparently cured her. She has never gotten the full blown disease and her TB tests (she still works in health care) started coming back negative a decade or so after that.

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