Richard Paul Xavier King, 81, died on February 28, 2014. Watched over and comforted by his wife and sons, he went peacefully.
Dick was born on August 7, 1932, in his grandfather's home on Chazy Lake, in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. He grew up there with his parents, three brothers and one sister. At five years old, in bare feet, he started first grade in the nearby Chazy Lake one-room school. In seventh grade he enrolled in Lyon Mountain High School and graduated at the top of his class in 1948. From here he enrolled in Plattsburg State Teachers' College from which he graduated with honors in 1953. He then volunteered for the draft and remained in the U.S. Army for two years, stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey and Coleman Caserne, Germany.
After release from the military in 1955, he traveled to visit family in Silver Bay, Minnesota, where he took a teaching position. He stayed in Silver Bay, teaching English, Social Studies, and French to Wm M. Kelley High School "Mariners" for 32 years. During this time, he also taught a night class at the University of Wisconsin, Superior, and facilitated a number of workshops for elementary teachers using a creative writing handbook which he wrote.
Richard spent many summers and weekends furthering his education. He studied French at Laval University in Quebec City. He obtained a federal grant to attend French studies in Winona, Minnesota and in France at the University of Rennes. He attended further classes at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Finally, he enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of North Dakota where he obtained his doctorate in Education in 1973. Richard received a creative writing grant from the Minnesota Council on Quality Education for which he received a commendation from Governor Quie.
In and out of the classroom, during and after his teaching career, Dick never tired of being a mentor to adolescents and young adults. Many days were spent teaching young folks how to build, shoot, hunt, and fish, and how to succeed in life.
Dick enjoyed creating humorous cartoons and articles for a Silver Bay news publication, known now as the North Shore Journal, drawing "Snorty the Moose" cartoons and writing a humor column under the name Crusty Leadslinger. As Thatch O'Dill, he wrote a weekly column for the Lake County News-Chronicle titled, "Gardening on the North Shoreand other Myths." Many evenings were spent with his children, creating the stories of Hairy the Bigfoot.
After a stroke in 1985, he challenged himself to write a novel. This goal was accomplished in August of 2013 with the publication of "When Maples Turn Red: Growing up in the Adirondacks".
He loved living in northern Minnesota, enjoying fishing, deer hunting, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and cutting firewood, during which he taught his sons the value of work and play.
In 1966 he married the love of his life, Maggie, with whom he spent 48 special and adventurous years.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Exford and Catherine King, his brother Jim, and sister Valeda Tavernier.
He is survived by wife, Margaret ("Maggie"), his brothers Francis ("Corky") of Plattsburgh, New York, and Donald, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; sons Paul of Kansas City, Missouri, and Michael of Eugene, Oregon, grandchildren David, Katy, and Benjamin, great-grandson Caelum Alexander, and many nieces and nephews.
A service is planned in his memory for Thursday, March 13, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. in the United Protestant Church in Silver Bay, Minnesota. In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorials in Dick's name be directed to the American Heart Association or any other charity which you support.