Ret. Major Roger C. King, Sr., who recently moved to Missoula after 12 years in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, passed away on August 16th of natural causes. He was 88 years old.
Born and raised in the Chicago, Illinois area, he was a lifelong fan of the Bears and Cubs. His childhood memories included sneaking into Cubs games with his friends, listening to radio broadcasts during World War II, and an opportunity to caddy for former boxing champion Joe Lewis during a visit to Chicago. Joe was an avid golfer and inspired Roger to take up the sport. Naturally left-handed, only right-handed golf clubs were available when he was younger, so Roger learned to play with those and continued that trend his entire life.
In 1953 he married Violet D. Stevens, whom he met in Chandler, Arizona while training with the US Air Force. He had enlisted in the Air Force for a short time, then returned to school where he earned a degree in Forestry from the University of Minnesota in 1959. The King family moved to Hungry Horse, Montana to pursue his forestry career. Shortly thereafter the Air Force was recruiting former GI’s, and Roger re-signed with the Air Force to attend OTS (Office Training School) and earn his commission as a Lieutenant. In 1962 the growing family was transferred to Biloxi, Mississippi and in 1963 moved near Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. During his assignment at Malmstrom, Roger spent year-long TDY assignments away from the family in Iceland and Thailand. His final assignment with the Air Force was at Luke Air Force Base near Litchfield Park, Arizona. He retired from the Air Force in 1979 as an officer with the rank of Major. Roger and Violet then spent time in Flagstaff, Arizona as well as Great Falls and Butte, Montana before finally moving to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Roger’s past time included golf, hunting, fishing and fly tying. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Ellen. He and Violet were married for 60 years, before she passed away in 2013. Their daughter, Christina, was lost to cancer in 2003.
Roger is survived by a younger brother, Duncan, of Rapid City, S.D., as well as children Roger King Jr. (Judy) of Champlin, MN., Lee King (Lori) of Missoula, MT., Scott King (Kitty) of Sequim, WA., and Stephen King (Melody) of Greenville, TN. His extended family also includes a nephew, grandchildren and great grandchildren in Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Ohio and Minnesota.
Per his wishes, cremation has taken place. A private family service will be held at a later time. Memorial donations are suggested to Veterans of Foreign War through a local chapter or Edgewood Senior Care in Missoula, MT.