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JAMES PRESTON KING

1929 - 2010

 

PARC, the North Country, and all of New York lost a great friend and statesman on June 11.  Jim King passed away at the age of 80.  He was a member of the PARC Board of Directors, beginning March 2001, and was an advisor, supporter, spokesperson, mentor, and friend for PARC, and all of the staff and management team, since the first day he walked into our meeting. 

To know Jim King was to like him.  He was always smiling, ready to help, curious about your family, self-effacing, armed with a funny story, and full of wisdom and good thoughts.  Recently, he waged a courageous and lengthy battle with cancer.  However, his demeanor and attitude belied any personal worry or pain that he might have been carrying: he was always upbeat, always warm, always full of charm and wit, always ready to help. 

He excelled at many things: the law (attorney and judge), the military (a retired General in the Marine Corps), public service (elected and appointed positions), a college teacher (Stetson University, Albany Law School, Siena College), a well-known and accomplished jazz trombonist; but what he really excelled at, and for which his friends and admirers will miss him, was his impeccable integrity.  He excelled at speaking forthrightly and calmly, articulating his opinion with bulls-eye accuracy; he excelled at being genuine and approachable; he excelled at making every person around him feel important and involved; he excelled at living and loving life to the fullest; he excelled at being a good person.  To know him was to like him; to know him was to want to be like him.

Jim’s calm, thoughtful, and judicious approach to evaluating PARC issues never wavered, in spite of any background controversies.  His innate trustworthiness and forthrightness were steadfast shields against would-be critics.  His presence on the board was both calming in the midst of a storm, and steadying in the face of turbulence.  He was an outstanding board member, and on any number of occasions he helped his fellow board participants and the PARC staff to make good decisions, based on sound logic and a rational perspective.

It is often said about a particular person that he wears his emotions on his sleeve. Well, Jim’s sleeve was full of many things: his good humor, his respect for others, his indefatigable personality, and his kind heart, all were displayed on his sleeve. It is often said about a particular person that he is a pleasure to work with.  Well, in Jim’s case, it truly may be said that it was always a distinct pleasure to work with him, talk with him, share a joke with him, have lunch with him, or hear his voice on the telephone.  He brightened up a room upon entering it, and imparted energy and enthusiasm to every person in it.  

As a final tribute to our friend and colleague, James Preston King, we would like repeat below the message to him from PARC that was included in our letter of tribute, when he received the Lifetime Achievement in Public Service Award from the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, earlier this year:

Jim, you are to be congratulated for your outstanding career in public service.  You have no doubt contributed to the successful culmination of literally thousands of decisions, projects, events, and actions.  These have no doubt contributed to a better quality of life experienced by an untold number of people.  However, your most important contribution, the one which will be the most lasting, is the fact that you have set the bar at its highest level when it comes to personal character:   integrity, patience, astuteness, and aplomb; and your colleagues, friends, students, and family are the beneficiaries.  After working with you for close to 10 years, we hope some it has rubbed off on us, and we can pass it along to others on your behalf.  All of us at PARC appreciate and value our great relationship with you, and we know that we will continue to benefit from your counsel and collaboration for many years to come.  Thanks for everything. 

 

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