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Former councilman dies at 75

February 09, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - William D. King Sr., 75, who loved politics and served one term on the Hagerstown City Council in the 1980s, died Tuesday.

His relationship with his wife, Joann, also was a love story.

She said they went out on a blind date on March 19, 1955. Three days later, he asked her to marry him. After deliberating "one-tenth of a second," she accepted, she said.

They would have celebrated their 50th anniversary on June 25.

King grew up in Hagerstown's West End and ran for City Council from that ward. He defeated incumbent Larry Vaughn after a contentious campaign in 1981.

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"And (King) was a Republican in what you might call a Democratic ward," Mayor William M. Breichner, a Democrat, said.

In that way, King matched Jack Hellane, a Republican councilman from that ward decades earlier, Breichner said.

"He was a hard-working candidate," said Del. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, who helped King with his winning campaign and considered him a friend. "He studied the issues."

King ran unsuccessfully for the council in 1977 and lost a re-election bid in 1985. He also ran for Washington County treasurer in 1986, but didn't make it past the primary.

Asked what inspired her husband to run for office, Joann King said, "Just public service in general."

Breichner was the city's water superintendent while King served on the board that governed the water system.

"He was extremely fair, dedicated," Breichner said. "He was very serious about doing a good job."

King was on the water board for eight years.

According to his obituary, the Kings owned and operated Kings Variety Store in Clear Spring from 1958 to 1964. During that time, King served on the Clear Spring Town Council.

A 1986 Herald-Mail profile of King, a Korean War veteran, said he once owned a carpet store and was involved in commercial real estate.

He held various other jobs, including marketing representative for Potomac Edison Co. Breichner said that was when Potomac Edison sold refrigerators, stoves and other appliances.

Jean Beck said she and her husband, Robert, who owned Carpets Inc., hired Joann King as a secretary, then William King as a salesman.

"He was absolutely the most marvelous person in the world," Jean Beck said.

She said the couples enjoyed trips to New York City and Atlanta to buy merchandise for the store. They became close friends.

William King had been ill for many years. His first heart attack was in 1993, Joann King said.

"He had one heart attack after another and one bypass after another," Jean Beck said. "He just came up smiling all the time."

Joann King said her husband's "faith and positive attitude" - plus family support - kept him going.

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