Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sid's obit

Hayes Sidney King

Hayes Sidney King (Sid) was born on January 21, 1920, in Fairbank Iowa; he died on November 30, 2009, in Sun City West. He was preceded in death by his parents and his only brother William and is survived by his wife Roberta, his three daughters, Sara, Cynthia and Judy, 3 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, his beloved cats, Stardust and Aurora, and too many wonderful friends to name.

Every one of Sid's nearly ninety years was remarkable. Although his origins were humble - he often spoke of himself as a "simple farm boy"- he distinguished himself at his small high school as a musician and scholar and then went to Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa,  graduating Phi Beta Kappa. At Cornell he met his first wife, Marilyn Ingham, and they married in 1942, their daughter Sara coming along in 1943. Sid served as an officer in the Navy, and at the end of the war he took up high school teaching in Michigan, where his second daughter, Cynthia, was born in 1947.  School teaching however soon gave way to the more exciting life of an agent with the FBI. After his training and a first posting in Houston, he was sent to Indianapolis, where in 1949 his third daughter, Judy, was born. He was then posted to South Bend and remained there until he took early retirement in 1972.

One of the reasons for his early retirement was a tragic accident which had befallen his wife and left her a quadriplegic. Sid became her full time caregiver and tended to her many needs with great devotion and skill. The two of them and one or other of a succession of cats became great travelers, enjoying trailer life all over the country and entertaining countless visitors from many parts of the world in the process. He was a host of incredible generosity and kindness. Eventually they took up full time residence in Mesa, Arizona - but still felt the call of the road and many summers would find them with their children, extended family, and numerous friends exploring the fascinating back roads of America or hiking the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park.

As Marilyn's health became more uncertain, they stayed closer to home and Marilyn became a volunteer at the East Mesa Senior Center where Roberta Uible was director. Marilyn died in 1981 and the kindness expressed by Roberta to Sid soon blossomed into a deep affection that led to their marriage in 1983. Roberta's new job in Phoenix as the director of Senior Village became a new life for Sid too. He supported Roberta in every way and together they enriched  the lives of many elderly folk. Roberta and Sid were a fantastic team;  their energy, dedication, and graciousness made Senior Village a model of communal living.

When Senior Village began to go through the changes that eventually closed it, Roberta and Sid moved first to Sun City and then Sun City West, where Roberta's new work for Interfaith was no longer 24/7. This enabled them to devote more time to favorite hobbies and take up many new activities.They acquired an eye-catching side-by-side tandem and became a familiar sight around the streets. They were able to travel to many far-flung places on the planet: that a "simple Iowa farm boy" was one day able to see the pyramids of Egypt was an astonishment to Sid. He became a computer whiz - and delighted in acquiring every gadget known to modern civilization and sharing his delight in technology with young and old. He had time to expand his life-long love of music by the gift of an electronic organ and attending numerous concerts; he continued as a faithful worshipper at Willowbrook  United Methodist Church; he sampled the delights of almost every restaurant in the valley; and he supported his daughters in their developing careers. Sid was very proud of his family and was a feminist before feminism was invented. He never for a moment entertained the thought that his daughters might not become professional women. Sara became a professor of German at the University of Massachusetts; Cynthia became a minister in the Methodist Church in England; Judy became a primary school teacher in South Bend. Sid passed on to them an open inquiring mind, a desire to make a difference in the world, and a profound love of all humanity.

Sid's health began to fail about a year ago. Various adaptations of their home made life easier and the devoted care of Roberta and his caregiver Norma Jacoway, as well as frequent days spent at Interfaith Community Care SCW Day Program, greatly enhanced the quality of his life. But various emergency hospital admissions took their toll. The final emergency operation was too much for his many years. He was transferred to Hospice of Arizona in Sun City West, where he was cared for with great kindness by a wonderful staff. Roberta and his daughters gathered at his bedside and were able to reminisce, pray, sing hymns, and be with him as he prepared for his final journey. His passing was peaceful, and his family have every confidence that, as Sid and Roberta's car license plate declares, they will all one day be "togethr."

Sid's long and wonderful life will be celebrated on Sunday, December 5th, at 2:00 at Birt's Bistro, where we will also enjoy Sid's favorite meal: dessert! If you wish to remember Sid, in place of flowers please send contributions to Interfaith Community Care, P.O. Box 8450, Surprise, AZ 85374, or the Arizona Animal Welfare League, 30 N. 40th Place, Phoenix, AZ 85034.

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