Wilton Eugene “Gene” King, 79, of Fayetteville, NC passed away suddenly on Sunday, August 20, 2023, after attending church services at Campground United Methodist Church, where he was an active member.
Gene was born on October 6, 1943 in Westminster, SC to the late Jim King and Margaret Harbin King. Growing up on a farm, he learned the value of hard work and commitment. Working together with his father and siblings, Gene learned to put others before himself and to live a life of integrity. As a young boy working in the field, he looked up one day at an airplane going over and thought that he would like to do that himself someday. He had dreams and goals to see the world.
In Westminster, he met the love of his life, Barbara King at the roller-skating rink. He secretly went to another town to learn how to roller-skate so he could ask her out. Sixty years ago last week they went to the movies on their first date to see “Bye, Bye, Birdie” and they have been together ever since. After graduating from Westminster High School, Gene left Westminster to join the United States Army in September 1964. Not long after, he returned to marry Barbara and they started a long and love filled life together. Moving to Germany, they began a new adventure and started their family in the apartment above the little flower shop in Stuttgart.
Gene and Barbara raised three children and moved all around the world from one home to the next because, “home is where the Army sends you.” They made every house into a home for their three children because home was wherever they were together. Through many deployments and new duty stations, Gene’s family was always happy to welcome him home from long separations. Gene was not only a hero to his country but to his family as well. As a father, he was there to coach his sons’ baseball teams or drive his daughter to ballet and cheer, or for just a quiet moment on a bench swing. Whenever his children needed him he would drop everything to make sure they were safe.
This devotion to Barbara and his children continued as seven grandchildren arrived and two great grandchildren followed. While he loved his family dearly, his grandchildren were his whole world. Barbara would say, “that as much as he loved his children and he loved them so much, he loved his grandchildren even more”. Each of them felt like they were his favorite. Whenever or whatever they needed, Papa was always there for them. Getting up early to drive them to school, to rescue them when their car caught on fire, or to just listen when they needed someone to talk to. Papa could be counted on to have a sympathetic ear, to be present in the moment and to really listen. He could also be counted on to say yes to pretty much anything they wanted.
Known for his work ethic and ability to be meticulous, Gene was a soldier who did everything to the best of his ability. If he was going to do it, he was going to do it right. He led and trained countless soldiers while on active duty and in civil service. He worked in aviation and completed tours in Vietnam and deployment to the Persian Gulf War. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major in 1992 after 29 years of service to his country. After retirement, Gene continued serving soldiers at the Battle Simulation Center at Fort Bragg, NC for 20 more years.
He loved to play golf, was good with his hands, and could build or repair just about anything. During retirement, Gene spent time with family and friends. He loved the Lord and the the people of his church, and in his final days worked tirelessly as a trustee at Campground Methodist Church. He will be missed by so many.
Gene is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Barbara Turner King, both formerly of Wesminster, SC; son, Michael King (Chris King); and daughter, Nichole King Lynch (Steven Lynch). In addition, he is survived by his sister Sally Harbin Friedlander; brother, Jimmy King (Dale King); sister, Linda King Robinson (Tony Robinson); and brother-in-law, Gene Turner (Raynell Turner). He is survived by grandsons, Malachi King and Noah King, and by granddaughters Ashley Borytzsky (Bradley Borytzsky), Jessica Krentz (Daniel Krentz), Sarah Lynch and Kate Lynch; and great-grandchildren Julian Borytzsky and Hayden Krentz.
He was preceded in death by his parents Jim King and Margarat Harbin King; father and mother-in law, Glenn and Eunice Turner; brother-in-law Gary Turner (Susan Turner); son, Kenneth Eugene King (Tina Todd) and grandson Jonah King.
The family will receive friends at Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home on Thursday, August 24th from 6:00 - 8:00 PM. A funeral service will be held on Friday, August 25, 2023 at 11:00 AM at Campground United Methodist Church, Fayetteville, NC. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with full military honors and Masonic rites.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Campground United Methodist Church Trustee Fund at 4625 Campground Road, Fayetteville, NC 28314.
Funeral arrangements by Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home, 545 Ramsey St. Fayetteville, NC 28301.
Online condolences may be made at http://www.jerniganwarren.com