Henry Hayes "Hank" King, Jr., of Sugar Hill, N.H., passed away peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 7, 2008. He was 76.
Hank was born in Shreveport, La., where he began an eventful childhood living in Louisiana, Hawaii, California and Alaska. He knew the meaning of hard work early, managing his own paper route, serving as a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat, maintaining the grounds of the Alaska Governor's Mansion and working at his father's filling station. In his 12th year, Hank lost his mother to cancer and boarded a train back home to Shreveport to live with his maternal grandmother, Precious Milam Bullock. He attended Byrd High School where he described himself as determined in sports and average in school.
After graduation, Hank attended Texas A&M University and enrolled in the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets. While he enjoyed College Station and the structure of the Corp, Hank transferred to Louisiana State University after his sophomore year to join Beverly Ann Farmer, his High School sweetheart, and the fraternity of Kappa Alpha Order (where both of his boys followed). He became a devoted Tiger fan, enjoyed a variety of intramural sports, and excelled in the ROTC program, earning the designation of Marksman.
Hank graduated from LSU in the spring of 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. He and Beverly were married shortly thereafter in Shreveport's First United Methodist Church by Doctor D. L. Dykes. Following a brief honeymoon, the couple reported to the Medical Branch of the 4th Infantry Division of the US Army in Fort Lewis, Washington.
Hank received his honorable discharge as a commissioned officer (Captain) from the US Army and accepted a position with Texas Eastern Corporation, as a Personnel Clerk in the firm's Shreveport offices. His people and management skills were evident early and Hank was chosen to help open the company's new headquarters office in Houston, Texas. Over the next 30 years, Hank's dedication to Texas Eastern earned him successive promotions and countless accolades. He became Director of Personnel, Director of Human Resources, Vice President of Human Resources and Public Relations, and Executive Vice President, Administration before being named President and Chief Operating Officer and being elected to the Board of Directors in 1984. Recognizing his potential, the Board sent Hank to Harvard Business School where he earned his Executive MBA. Hank was later also awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from Centenary College.
Hank is credited with numerous achievements while at the helm of Texas Eastern, including authoring and executing the company's diversification and expansion strategies. He led the firm into international oil and gas exploration and piloted the acquisition of Petrolane Corporation to create what was then the largest Liquefied Petroleum Gas system in the nation. The bold move was hailed as "the single most significant transaction" in the firm's storied history. Hank also led the firm's diversification into real estate, helping develop Houston Center and the City's George R. Brown Convention Center. Hank served on numerous corporate boards, including Texas Eastern Corporation, Texas Commerce Bank, Transwestern Gas, and Lufkin Industries.
In addition to his proven management skills, Hank King was synonymous with people leadership. A visionary and a gifted orator, his strong passion and sense of purpose united and mobilized many. He was highly effective in the community, leading charitable giving efforts and serving on numerous civic and business community boards. He was President of the Houston Chamber of Commerce and served The Greater Houston Partnership, Central Houston, The Greater Houston Visitors and Convention Bureau, and Junior Achievement. After retiring from Texas Eastern, Hank continued to serve Houston, stepping in as the interim Chairman of the Board for the Convention and Visitor's Bureau and providing professional mediation services to parties in conflict.
Throughout his 35 years in Houston, Hank was active at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, serving as an usher, giving generously of his time and resources, and applying the many Sunday sermons he enjoyed to enrich the lives of others.
Hank also found time to play. He had profound love for the game of golf and spent many afternoons replacing divots at Lochinvar and River Oaks Country Club in Houston and later at the Profile Club in Sugar Hill, N.H.
Hank was an avid waterfowl hunter and an expert shot with his Remington 1100 shotgun, engraved to honor his many contributions to Texas Eastern and the firm's famed hunting facility, Teal Lodge. He also enjoyed fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast for redfish and speckled trout as well as fly fishing for trout in Colorado and New Mexico.
Hank's greatest outdoor joys were found in New Hampshire's White Mountains. A long list of projects kept him active year-round on his property in Sugar Hill, and there were few challenges he and his John Deer tractor couldn't master. He had a keen appreciation for the beauty of nature and he and his black labs would walk for hours exploring the rugged terrain.
Hank loved his family and considered ours his greatest gift. He was a patient listener, a thoughtful advisor, a generous provider and, when necessary, quick to deliver a dose of reality.
He is survived by his best friend and loving spouse, Beverly Farmer King of Sugar Hill; his daughter, Beverly Lynn King of Omaha, Neb.; his son, Thomas Bradford King, his wife Michelle Myers King and their three daughters, Alden Elizabeth King, Anne Haven King, and Jeanne Marie King of Weston, Mass.; son, David Earl King, his wife Alice Paul King and their two sons, David Paul King and Samuel Hayes King of Houston, Texas; and his brother Donald Miller of Port Townsend, Wash. Hank is also survived by his loyal black lab, Emma, who remains on Hayes Hill and joins us all in missing him terribly.
Hank is predeceased by his parents, Henry Hayes King Sr. and Vashti Bullock Miller; Beverly's parents Earl Poole Farmer and Eunice Smith Farmer; and Beverly's brother, James David Farmer.
A private family service was held on Hayes Hill, Hank and Beverly's property, in Sugar Hill, in honor of his life. Per Hank's wishes, his ashes were returned in celebratory fashion by the ones he loved, to the land he loved.
A memorial service will be held at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer, Houston, Texas, at 10 a.m., on Jan. 17, 2009. For those desiring, in lieu of flowers please send contributions to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Development Office, DMS - Upper Valley Memory Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, Attn: Michele Clark.
For more information or to send a note of condolence to the family, go to www.rossfuneral.com.
In Faith, Love & Honor
Hank would have said something pithy here and no-doubt would be waving a colorful banner punctuating his sentiments. We're guessing it would've gone something like this: "Life isn't always fair but it's far too fair to miss. Show up on time and embrace every minute in faith, in love and with honor."
We love you Dad, and we will cherish your memory always.