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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
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    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.

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