Thomas Joseph King, Jr., a resident of Falls Church since 1952 and a quiet but tireless church and service club volunteer and pillar of the community, died after a lengthy illness last Friday, Nov. 23, at age 84.
King’s most visible role was with the Falls Church Lions Club, which he joined in 1974. He held the posts of president and treasurer of the club twice each. He served on numerous committees and arranged for the club’s sight and hearing van that was present at every Memorial Day Parade in Falls Church and at many other city festivals.
He was the Lions’ representative on the Memorial Day planning committee for many years and for 19 years, he coordinated the Lions’ primary fundraiser, four fresh fruit sales per year. For the last four years, he managed the club’s annual golf tournament.
He served on the club’s Donald Frady Scholarship Committee since its founding in 1997.
He was received the club’s Lion of the Year Award three times and was awarded a life membership in 2006. He was presented the Melvin Jones Fellow Award in 1993 and the Lions of Virginia Distinguished Humanitarian Award in 1996. Just this month, he received the Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow Award, the highest recognition of outstanding service offered by the Lions Clubs International.
He was also active at Falls Church’s St. James Church, where he was head of the ushers on Sunday mornings. He quietly offered assistance to the Tinner Hill Foundation and at the Bailey’s Crossroads homeless shelter.
The News-Press was honored to count Mr. King among its most loyal and cherished friends. He showed up at most of the newspaper’s public functions, including its annual holiday parties, and frequently visited its offices with notices of upcoming Lions Club fruit sales. He made sure that the paper’s employees had sufficient samples of oranges and grapefruit to keep them healthy.
Mr. King was born in Manchester, New Hampshore, on Sept. 21, 1923. He attended school in Manchester and after graduation from high school in 1940 he attended St. Anselm’s College in Manchester until 1942. He then entered St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, from which he obtained a degree in philosophy and pursued studies for the priesthood.
He relocated to Washington, D.C. and worked in the moving industry. In 1962, he left the private sector and entered the federal government as a transportation officer, working at the headquarters of the U.S. Postal Service. He held several special positions there until his retirement in 1985.
He moved to the City of Falls Church in 1952 and in 1968 when he moved to Shady Lane, a block outside the city limits, in 1968.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Anne King.
(Barry Buschow contributed to this report).