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Butler County patriarch's values prepared children to succeed

| Sunday, April 27, 2008

In his role as patriarch, John King set the rules which he expected his 13 children and their descendants to follow -- that of hard work, love of family and country and adherence to the faith of their forefathers.

"Everyone in our family worked," said his daughter, Jane Dillner, a registered nurse and resident of West Deer. "We had cows, chickens and large vegetable and fruit growing areas."

John T. King of Valencia, a fourth-generation farmer, died on Thursday, April 24, 2008, in his home. He was 86.

"Besides our regular chores, the boys milked the cows," said Dillner. "The girls helped Mom load the station wagon in the morning and we'd go door to door selling and delivering eggs, vegetables and strawberries.

"I think one of the reasons we were able to do well as adults was the confidence that Dad had instilled in us. He often said to us 'there's nothing you can't do.' "

Born and raised in O'Hara, John King was one of four children in the family of farmer Edward King and his wife, Lena Miller King.

Like many of the young men and women who grew up during the Depression, Mr. King dropped out of the eighth grade to help his parents.

In 1950, John King married Ida Mae Weissert, an O'Hara neighbor, who was able to keep up the pace of working on the farm while raising 13 children, said Dillner.

"At one time there were 15 of us sitting down (to dinner) at the same time and maybe another relative or two," Dillner said. "I can remember how during one Thanksgiving dinner, we helped Mom set up four large tables to accommodate the relatives coming for dinner."

"And every Sunday, we took up two pews at Holy Sepulcher Church (in Glade Run), where Dad and Mom were active in several of the church organizations," she added.

Joe King, who now owns and operates the family farm in Valencia, also recalled the interest his father had in his sons' athletic activities.

"Several of my brothers, including me, played football, while several others wrestled on school teams," said Joe King. "Up until he began to slow down a couple of years ago, Dad was still driving a tractor."

"Although he was never in the service, Dad honored the men and women who served their country," said his son. "It grieved him to listen to the news and to hear that a young man or woman died in combat."

In addition to his daughter and son, Mr. King is survived by his children: John of Florida; William of Meridian; Theodore of New Jersey; Marilyn Miller of New Wilmington; Mary Lou Muti of Harmony; Martha Bogan and Michael of Butler; Mark of Valencia; Janet McKnight of Slippery Rock; Elaine Pisarcik of Valencia and Matthew of Ross.

He is also survived by 42 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren, and a sister, Mae Billie, of Ohio.

The King family will welcome friends from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Schellhaas Funeral Home Ltd., 5864 Heckert Road, Bakerstown, Richland.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Holy Sepulcher Church, Glade Mills, with the Rev. Daniel Maurer as celebrant.

Interment will follow in St. Mary Cemetery, Sharps Hill.

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