James C. King, 86, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died after a long illness peacefully with his family on Wednesday, May 12, 2011 in Albuquerque at La Vida Llena (LVL) Retirement Community. James was born in 1924 in St. Joseph, Missouri to Isla Wertenberger King and Oppie Irl King. In his youth he and his family moved frequently due to his father's profession. Besides St. Joseph, they lived in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Detroit. He was very proud of his Midwestern roots. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was assigned to the Pre-Meteorology Group of Amherst College during World War II. Following Amherst he was trained and received his commission at Yale University as an electronics officer. As a First Lieutenant he earned several service medals during the army occupation of Germany. He gathered intelligence on technology used by the German Luftwaffe. Upon return from Europe in the fall of 1946 and under the G.I. Bill, he continued his education in physics at Amherst where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude. In addition, he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi (later named Phi Alpha Psi), Sigma Xi, the Amherst Glee Club, and his fraternity's Double Quartet. During his undergraduate summers he did research at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. He met his future wife, the former Martha Dawson at Smith College when he came back from his army service in Germany. They married in 1949 in New York City and moved to New Haven, Connecticut where he pursued and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in low temperature physics at Yale University in 1953. James began his career at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey and Pennsylvania where he became Department Head of Ultrasonics and Thin Film Exploratory Development. He transferred to Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Albuquerque in 1965, and served as Manager of Radiation Effects Department. In 1968, he transferred to SNL Livermore, CA, and was appointed Director of Applied Research. He transferred back to SNL Albuquerque in 1971 and served as Director Nuclear Weapons Component Development and other departments before retirement in 1989. He was also a consultant for Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA. During his career he received numerous patents for solid state devices and quartz crystal resonators and published over thirty papers. He was presented with the C.B. Sawyer Memorial award in 1973 for major contributions in fundamental properties of quartz crystal and was later elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. James and Martha have four loving and cherished children, Elizabeth Ettema (Dale), Kathleen Minor (Thomas), Helen Barley (Michael), and Robert King (Susan), and eight grandchildren, Taylor, Claire, Kyle, Bryn, Garrett, Jillian, Julia, and Kathryn. He is also survived by four dear nephews, sons of his deceased brother Jean. James had many interests. They ranged from film, photography, genealogy, antiques, rebuilding cars, traveling, humor, his cats, green chile, historical books, auctions, and antique radios. He enjoyed the arts and was President of the Board of the New Mexico Ballet Company in the 1970's and also served for a time on the board of Sandia Prep School. He also enjoyed attending theater performances by the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera, in which all four of James' children participated. His children are the benefactors of his interests and curiosity. He was extremely proud of their various accomplishments. In retirement, he taught himself how to type and use the computer to further his interests. He and Martha also took numerous trips to Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. He enthusiastically rekindled his friendships with fellow pre-meteorology group classmates during numerous reunion events at Amherst. James was tender-hearted and very generous with his time and resources and respected all persons regardless of their socio-economic status. His creativity, humor, and loving presence will be deeply missed by his family and friends. He was grateful for all his devoted friends throughout his life and for the wonderful support provided by his special caregivers at LVL and the NM Cancer Center during his illnesses. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to animal humane organizations or to charities of one's choice. A memorial service at La Vida Llena is pending and will be announced at a later date. A memorial video tribute for James will be posted at www.RememberTheirStory.com.
Published on: Sun May 15, 2011