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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

King honored for years of community service

Friday, November 25, 2005

After more than 45 years of working for the Quad Cities community, finally the community is honoring one of its strongest supporters.

Kenneth King is recipient of the 2005 E. Wilson Green Award, presented by the Spring River Area Chamber of Commerce, for his volunteerism and community support.

From Boy Scouts to schools, hospitals, downtown restoration and enticing industry, Kenneth King has been involved.

"Nobody ever knew how important he was. No one really knew how much he was involved," said Ron Rhodes, King's friend and longtime business partner. "I could talk for days about Kenneth King. I'm a fan. There's no question about it."

King grew up poor in Rector. He moved his family to the Spring River area in 1959 after he graduated from college and took a job as an accountant for Hidden Valley, said King's son, Circuit Judge Kevin King.

In 1963 he began his real estate company with the name King Agency. Through the years, the company has evolved and now has the name King-Rhodes, Kevin King said.

Rhodes joined King in 1981 and worked with him 15 years in the real estate business.

"I learned a tremendous amount of things about the real estate business, how to deal with people and how to treat people from him," Rhodes said. "Never a week and hardly a day goes by that I don't use something that Kenneth King has taught me."

King remained helpful, not just to his co-workers, but to the community as a whole.

"Most every time I went to a camp of any kind, I didn't realize it, but he was sending two to three others along, too," Kevin King said. "He grew up very poor and wanted to give kids a chance."

He served on the Highland School Board for several years and was instrumental in getting a hospital established in the area, Kevin King said. He also served on the hospital's board of directors for many years.

"He was really active in trying to pursue other businesses to come to the area," Kevin King said.

He was also instrumental in trying to restore downtown Hardy.

With his coaxing, the mural was painted on a wall of a business highlighting Hardy's historic heritage and greeting motorists passing through town.

"My dad wasn't always the leader of things, but he was usually the one in there pushing it and supporting it. He thought sometimes you could do more good by working from the outside," Kevin King said.

King's community involvement was almost exhausting to his wife and three children.

"My dad always said, 'I'll never ask you to do anything I wouldn't do,'" Kevin King said. "My response was always, 'You shouldn't do so much.'"

"You couldn't be around him and not be influenced by his actions," Rhodes said. "He's a role model. He's an example to everyone."

King retired 10 years ago. He now suffers from Parkinson's disease and lives in a local nursing home due to his declining health.

"You have people in your life who provide you with defining moments. Kenneth King is one of those rare people who provide some of those defining moments to help you find direction," said Rhodes. "He taught me to get involved and to take a stand. He is a wonderful man and a great asset to this community."

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