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My Dad Would Have Turned 95 TodayTim King Salem-News.com
Remembering a great man whose life reached many people.
(SALEM) - It's my dad's birthday today, and a few weeks shy of five years since he passed away. He died just a few hours after my mom. As anyone could imagine, it was a heavy time for my brothers, Ken and Rick, and myself, and had greatly impacted so many families and friends. It was a lot to accept, but also a blessing as this inseparable couple who had celebrated 66 years of marriage, obviously had no plan of spending even a single day without each other. Charles and Nellie King, Mr. & Mr. C.C. King; two incredible people whose lives spanned the majority of a century and even lived to see another.
They were around for a long time, my dad was born during WWI, they were there to see their friends go to WWII, then the Korean War, Vietnam, and I called them from Afghanistan when I covered the war there in 2006 and 2007. They didn't miss a lot in their time, as curious, intelligent and kind people who were raised during the Great Depression.
Halley's period of orbit is every 76 years, my dad saw it twice! He was there the day Howard Hughes flew the Spruce Goose in LA harbor; the company he worked for during WWII, LA Screw Products, made parts for the infamous P-38 Lightning fighter and he was not allowed to enlist in the military because of his role in the aviation industry.
Looking at a picture of my dad as a two-year old sitting on the beach in Venice, California, just blew me away today. My wife Bonnie says I have seen it, that it hung on my dad's wall in his den, but I don't remember it. Maybe I just didn't pay attention as I would now. It is an amazing photograph.
I am so happy moments like this were captured for all of us to see today. My parents were in their 40's when I was born and I just wish the window had stayed open longer.
A friend of our family was involved in early Hollywood movies and there is a photo of my dad and my uncle Al, who was three years older than my dad, playing on a movie set for a western between takes. These are the fun stories I grew up hearing, I wish now I had asked more.
He lived a good life, born and raised in Los Angeles. My grandfather, Francis Albert King, was a salesman and not involved in mechanical projects, but my dad and his brother were cranking wrenches before they could read. My dad attended Manual Arts High School. My dad's mother was Hazel King.
Our family on my dad's mom's side, is the link to our heritage in the state of California, Mexico and Spain. A book titled 'Windows in an Old Adobe' tells the story of my Spanish / California ancestors: the Alvarado, Avila and Palomares families.
Fenton Slaughter, a veteran of the Mexican-American War and the Indian wars, was the first 'gringo' to marry into my family, he married Dolores Alvarado- a direct descendant of the Spanish conqueror, Pedro de Avarado- one of Hernando Cortez's primary officers and frankly, a hated figure in history, particularly in places like Guatemala.
The history is tragic but truly compelling, and that is just a snapshot. My great great great grandmother Juana Maria Avila was born in the Avila House on Olvera Street, the oldest street in Los Angeles, a tourist attraction for years. The house still stands, a museum today. The Palomares family hailed from the St. Gregory Castle in Spain which I am told, had seven towers for seven sons. Of course palomar means 'dove' in Spanish.
Back to Fenton Slaughter; the first non-Spanish man to marry into my dad's side of the family, he is a direct descendant of several Revolutionary War fighters, and if you go back a few generations, we see that Fenton Slaughter's 12x great grandfather was George Neville, the Baron of Latymer. His grandfather was John of Gaunt, the Prince of England, in the mid to late 1300's (he was born in 1340). His father was King Edward III of England.
My dad and mom were both very taken with their family history, and they taught my brothers and I so much. Our family ranch in Chino is a museum today, the Yorba-Slaughter Adobe. I grew up spending a lot of time there as my grandmother still lived on the property until I was 12.
This is a place people should visit in the Chino Valley, it is The Yorba-Slaughter Adobe. My dad spent the summers of his childhood there, and returned there often into his adulthood, when it was still a working ranch.
There is so much to say, I just believe it is important to never forget the important highlights; these are part of my foundation today and while my dad built things of a mechanical nature, literally creating vehicles from the ground up,
This is the quote from Bonnie, posted on Facebook earlier today, that caused an unavoidable stir in my heart.
We have photos, we have memories, and we have film and video and this is so important. I have the lessons that are so vital and I am thankful my dad always had great examples to use when making a point. He would refer to something from the late 60's as "the other day" in the 1980's and beyond; that was always one of our favorites.
There is so much to say...
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from The Associated Press the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs, Electronic Media Association and The Red Cross In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005.
Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 20+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide with an emphasis on Palestine and Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
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