John E. King, Jr.
June 12, 1931 – May 1, 2023
John E King Jr, a longtime resident of Warrenton, passed away May 1 at home, surrounded by family. following a long lifetime of happiness and accomplishments.
John was born in San Pedro CA on June 12, 1931, to John E King Sr, a naval officer, and Viola (Jackson) King, a homemaker. He was the older brother to Robert and Roger. The family moved frequently due to the elder King’s naval service. John attended Fork Union Military Academy near Charlottesville for 4th and 5th grade, along with his 2 brothers, which allowed his mother to travel to visit John Sr. when he was in port. He had many fond memories of his time there.
Following his graduation from high school in 1951, with a very low draft number, John chose to enlist in the Navy serving on the USS Sea Leopard during the Korean War. He preferred subs to the cruisers because the food budget was higher allowing him to eat steak more often, and on a smaller sub, he knew everyone on board and meals were served family style. After his service he enrolled in the Milwaukee School of Engineering, an all-male school, specifically so he “would not be distracted” by women in his classes. However, when Eleanor Moore visited her family in Milwaukee, who ran a grocery store and boarding house where John worked and lived while in school, his plan soon failed. He received his associate degree in Radio and TV Technology, and after their marriage, they spent 2 years in the Philippines and Japan with their children Mark and Diane where John maintained and upgraded US defense facilities. Upon returning to the US, John completed his Electrical Engineering degree in Milwaukee and accepted a position with IBM at The Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville AL. He really enjoyed his time working on the Saturn Space Program. Later he moved to Gaithersburg MD and eventually Manassas VA with IBM where he received 2 patents for the automation of the procurement and contracting process and for the creation of a computer-based catalog and ordering system. John retired from IBM in 1991 at the age of 60. John and Eleanor enjoyed many cruises over the years to the Caribbean with neighbors and “The Canadians”.
For John’s birthday his daughter Diane gave him a flying lesson at the Manassas airport which rekindled an old desire to fly. Over the years he developed significant skills working with wood and metal, and he proceeded to build an experimental aircraft, a Kitfox Model 4. He organized trips with other pilots of similar airplanes, and flew to Alaska (twice), the Canadian Maritime provinces, and the Bahamas. He built a second airplane, a Kitfox Model 6 which won a Lindbergh award at the annual EA convention in Oshkosh. With his son Mark, John also built a fishing boat and numerous other wood items-furniture, a chess set, and several clocks. In his later years, he developed an interest in very fine woodworking, and created a number of segmented bowls and 50 pieces of intarsia, most of which had hundreds of pieces.
John is survived by many friends and family, including his daughter, Dr. Diane King (David Dodd), his daughter-in-law Connie King, his grandchildren Curtis King (Joseph Houchens) and Jessica King (Cody Rundlett), and great great grandchildren, Jordyn and Alexis King, his beloved dog Remy, and many Canadian relatives.
John was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Robert and Roger, his wife Eleanor and his son Mark.
The family will host a Celebration of Life at the Warrenton Fauquier Airport, 1533 Iris Trail, Midland VA 22728, on Sunday May 21 from 2-5 pm. Follow signs on Midland Rd for “Terminal”.
Please wear your favorite blue jeans as John did for most of his retirement years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Fork Union Military Academy by calling Col. Billingsley at 434-842-4207, or to the Flying Circus Air Show, P.O. Box 99, Bealeton, VA 22712.
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Obituary credit: Moser Funeral Home