scholar, linguist, educator
The Very Reverend Monsignor James E. King died on October 27th, 2011 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, following a brief illness. He was 83.
Monsignor King was a priest, scholar, linguist, educator, traveler, and dedicated servant of the less fortunate.
While his boundless curiosity and ministries took him around the globe, throughout his life he dedicated himself to the service of delinquent and homeless youth and to our nation's veterans. His indefatigable spirit and keen mind, combined with fluency in many languages and dialects, allowed him to comfort, console, and counsel those in need from many walks of life.
Likewise, he was deeply involved with his family as oldest brother to his siblings, Uncle Jimmy to three generations of nieces and nephews, and celebrant at weddings and funerals. With patience and a twinkle in his eye, he acted as family travel guide, educator, and counselor, freely sharing his home, his love of art and music, and his deep knowledge with all.
James Edmund King was born in Philadelphia on June 30, 1928 to Eugene and Margaret (McHugh) King. He became a Brother of the Congregation of the Christian Brothers in 1946 and received his B.A. from Catholic University in 1951.
For twenty years he taught in Catholic schools throughout Pennsylvania (including LaSalle College High School), Virginia, and New Jersey while also continuing his post-graduate studies.
He received both his Master of Divinity and Master of Art from LaSalle University and, later, his Doctorate of Philosophy from Villanova University in 1970. He also pursued studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and Harvard University.
Drawn to the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church, he was ordained a Melkite Catholic priest by Archbishop Joseph Tawil in Boston on July 4, 1971.
His appointments as a priest included co-pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Lawrence, MA, administrator of St. Elias Church, Woonsocket, RI, and pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Worcester, MA.
As part of his pastoral work, Monsignor King led numerous youth ministry trips across the United States and throughout Central America. He also served as Chancellor and Executive Secretary of the Apostolic Exarchate of the United States.
Father King was honored by the Eastern Church with the title of Economus and Stravrophore in 1975. In 2002 the Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church, his Holiness Nerses Peter IX, named him a Vardapet with the right to wear a mitre and carry a bishop's staff.
The Very Reverend Monsignor King joined the Veterans Administration's chaplaincy tending to the spiritual needs of veterans in hospitals in Brockton, Bedford, Boston, and the Bronx.
He was a chaplain in the Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, later becoming a Brigadier General in the USSC. He was President of the Military Chaplains Association, and served as chaplain of numerous organizations including the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Chapel of Four Chaplains, the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 1 in Boston, and the Catholic War Veterans of Bronx County, NY. He was Faithful Friar in the Knights of Columbus in Worcester, MA, Newton, MA, New Hampshire, and Springfield, PA. He also served as Caravan Chaplin in the International Order of Alhambra in two states.
Survivors: He is survived by his loving siblings, John King (Carmel) and Sally Brennan; sister-in-law Anna King; brother-in-law, William Heffley, M.D.; and three generations of loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Margaret (McHugh) King; and his siblings, Ellen Heffley, Kitty Thompson, Edward King, and Eugene King.
Service: Relatives and friends are invited to his Trisagion (Religious Service) Thurs, Eve. Nov. 3rd, beginning at 7:30 doors open at 6:30 at St. Mark's Armenian Church 400 Haverford Road Wynnewood, PA 19096. Fri. Morning Nov. 4.
Viewing: 8:30 to 10 AM.
Funeral Service for a Priest celebrated by His Excellency Nicholas Samra at Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church 2310 South 24th Street Philadelphia, PA.
Interment at St Peter and Paul Cemetery 1600 Sproul Road Springfield Delaware County Pennsylvania.
Contributions: In lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to Final Farewell Inc. 93 Old York Rd Suite 1 # 403 Jenkintown, Pa 19046.
Published in Daily Times on October 30, 2011