Kenneth Lee King

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Kenneth Lee King

Kenneth Lee King, 83, passed away on March 11, 2020, in Abilene, Texas.

He was born on October 26, 1936, and raised in Avoca, Texas, the youngest of three children. He lived across the street from the high school where his father was the custodian.

Kenny was a member of the “Avoca quintet,” which provided notoriety to Avoca by being a map-marking basketball team. They traveled to the big city of Austin to win the high school state basketball championship in 1955, an accomplishment yet to be repeated.

He took his relentless athletic skills and leadership to the collegiate basketball court after receiving a full athletic scholarship to attend Texas Christian University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1959.

He met Jeannette while attending TCU. They were married on August 17, 1959 – a date concurrent with the great Quake Lake earthquake. It was certainly a marriage that rocked the world.

Ken was drafted by the United States Army and reported to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He and Jeannette later moved to Hardin, Montana where he became a high school biology teacher, head basketball and golf coach and assistant football coach. He held other teaching and coaching positions in Colorado and Texas. They moved back to Montana in 1996.

Coach King returned to Texas following his wife's death in 1999 after which he was given an amazing gift in Dorothy Simmons, his treasured companion for more than 15 years.

His grandchildren and great-grandchildren affectionately called him “Hacha.” He was always “Coach King” to his students.

His smile and sense of humor were contagious; it wasn’t uncommon for him to be the life of the party. He could be categorized as uncensored during many ball games and certain conversations. He was never inhibited about speaking his mind. He could be seen coaching from the sidelines never hesitating to assist referees by correcting or challenging their calls.

He loved life, never met a stranger and although often displayed a tough exterior, he was a marshmallow of a loving man on the inside.

His parents; his wife of 40 years, Jeannette; a grandson, Derek Kendall King; and sisters, Jean Lester and Wanda Gebhardt, preceded Kenneth in death.

He is survived by his children, Virginia (Ginny) Lynne King, Cynthia Elaine Pearson, Melanie Ruth Carter, Kendall Lee King, Kristine King Larson; and grandchildren, Jeannette Nicole Moralez, David Ryan King, Stephen Kenneth King, Michael Allen Carter, Stacey Lynne Carter, William Kelley King, Macon Levi Pearson, Jon Erik Pearson, Mikaslyn Jeannette Larson, and Magregor Winter Larson, his great-grandchildren, several cousins and numerous friends.

Funeral service is on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. at the Avoca Baptist Church, 10984 SH-6, in Avoca, Texas.

Tankersley Funeral Home of Stamford, Texas has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences and a full obituary can be viewed at