OTIS HAROLD KING, age 77, a legendary attorney, law school educator, author, arbitrator, artist, veteran, community activist, departed this life peacefully on November 21, 2012. Otis was born on February 3, 1935 in Texarkana, TX to Griffin and Eula King. He grew up in the historic Fifth Ward where he attended Bruce Elementary, and graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School in 1952 as the Salutatorian of the graduating class.
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Otis King attended Texas Southern University in 1952 where he competed on the debate team under the leadership of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman. Otis and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan were debate team partners for four years. They actually debated against Harvard University and won in 1956. Otis completed his undergraduate studies at Texas Southern University in 1956 when he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He returned to TSU after a two year stint in the army and entered law school. While in law school, he participated in sit-ins all over Houston that successfully helped to bring about the integration of Houston's eating establishments, theaters, and public accommodations. He also helped Eldrewey Stearns form the civil rights organization, The Progressive Youth Association. In 1969, Otis was named as a Ford Foundation Fellow in Clinical Legal Education at the Harvard University School of Law. He earned his LL.M. degree from Harvard University School of Law in 1970. He was a professor of law at TSU's Thurgood Marshall School of Law for almost forty years, serving as its dean for ten of those years. He served under Mayor Fred Hofheinz as Houston's first Black City Attorney.
Otis was a member of many organizations such as the Texas Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Bar Association and more. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Otis' favorite past time was sailing and fishing as many of his close friends could attest. He also enjoyed painting, sculpting, and writing poetry. Many of his paintings can be found in the homes of family and friends.
Otis married Martha Ann Roberts in 1960. To this union, they had two sons, Byron D. King and Corey R. King. Although the marriage ended, Otis and Martha remained friends until his death.
Otis married Nancy Tervalon Rickett in 1986. Otis was instrumental in raising his step-son, Joncy Rickett.
Otis is preceded in death by his parents, Griffin King, Jr., and Eula King and brother, Everett King.
Otis leaves to cherish his memory, his sons, Byron D. King (Traci) and Corey R. King (Kimberly); three grandsons that he adored and supported: Jeremy M. King, Cameron M. King and Alan M. King; one precious grand-daughter: Lauren E. King; one brother: Hamah King (Gloria) and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and close friends.
The celebration of his life and legacy will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 3015 N. MacGregor Way, Houston, TX 77004. Viewing will be from 9:00 - 11:00 A.M. The Omega Service of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will begin at 10:00 A.M. with the memorial service commencing at 11:00 AM. Interment will follow at Houston Memorial Gardens, 2426 Cullen Boulevard, Pearland, TX 77581.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Nov. 30, 2012