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.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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