King, Ivan

Written by David Green.

Ivan E. King, Sr., 85, formerly of Morenci, Mich., died Sept. 2, 2011, in Las Cruces, N.M., after a brief illness.

Ivan was born Dec. 21, 1925, in Morenci. He played basketball and football at Morenci High School, from which he graduated in 1943. He learned to drive a truck at age 10, and loved the highway for the rest of his life.

Ivan served his country as a sailor in the United States Navy during World War II, seeing action in Okinawa. After the war, Ivan returned to the Midwest and married Wenonah Jean Bachelder. They bought an army surplus truck and began the first of their many entrepreneurial adventures together. Through the many ups and downs of business ownership, Ivan always considered Jean a full partner, and always gave her credit for the success he enjoyed.

In addition to many years as a self-employed trucker, Jean and Ivan owned and operated truck stops in Indiana, Ohio and Las Cruces. In between, Ivan worked as a sales agent for Farm Bureau Insurance Co. in Michigan. He was a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, the insurance industry’s highest honor.

Ivan was an avid pilot and owned several airplanes. He also rode snowmobiles and motorcycles, and lived life with great enthusiasm and gusto. 

Ivan is survived by his wife; a son, Ivan E. (and Margee) King, Jr.; a daughter, Jamie King (and John) Manning; a son-in-law, Thomas Smith; grandchildren Ivory King  (and Brandon) Barker, Patrick King, Kevin Austin Ross, Stephanie King (and Xavier) Vargas, Matthew King Johnson, Christopher Smith, Geoffrey (and Jennifer) Smith, and Angela Smith Fetherlin; and numerous great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Sharon King Smith; granddaughter, Sarah Anne King-Johnson; brothers Hugh and Robert; and a sister, Jean King Dilworth. 

Memorial contributions are suggested to La Posada Mesilla Valley Hospice.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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