October 20, 1923 - October 2, 2013
Empire, GA- "In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me." Psalms 86:7
SSGT John King, retired decorated Army veteran and long time resident of Empire, Ga., left his earthly home and presented himself for his final deployment in Heaven on 10/02/13. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, on October 20, 1923, as Juan Guardado. John joined the Army Air Corps in 1940 as an aircraft mechanic, where his name was officially changed to John King, for the convenience of the Army. During his tours of duty, he served overseas during World War II and The Korean War, and stateside during the Vietnam War. During his time in the service, John had many accomplishments, but one stood out more than all the others: he survived as a prisoner of war while in Korea for two years, roughly 30 days of which were in an abandoned hut with a few other good men, all of which were disabled from wounds, and had to survive by begging for food and water. During his 20+ years of service, he would receive two purple hearts, four good conduct medals, and several other commendations. Later in life, John was a member of the DAV, American Legion, Middle Georgia Ex-P.O.W.s, a volunteer at the VA and Willing Hands Ministry, a member of Southside Baptist Church where he was a former Sunday School Teacher, one of many veterans to help support the construction of the Korean War Memorial at Andersonville along with his wife, where memorabilia from his days as a P.O.W. is on display, and an avid supporter of Warner Robins Air Force Base, where several other pieces of memorabilia are on display. On December 27, 1957, John married the love of his life, Willie Pearl Dunn King, and later together they raised their son, John David King.
John was preceded in death by mother and father, Desiderio & Santos Guardado, brothers Desiderio, Edwardo, & Emanuel Guardado, sisters Fanny Guardado & Janie Guardado Blaszczyk, his adoptive parents Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd L. King, and his loving wife, Willie Pearl Dunn King. His surviving relatives are his son, John David King (Winnie Victoria Whaley King), daughter, Millet Maynard, grandchildren, Joshua Storme King (Florencia King-Cruz), Matthew Chase King, Josef Hunter King, Robert Maynard (Molly Maynard), and Christina Padgett (Jarad Padgett), great-grandaughter, Isabella Victoria King-Cruz, sister Ramona Raso (Guido Raso Sr.), a multitude of nieces and nephews, good friends, special friend Gus Albritton, and his chihuahua, Paco. John enjoyed spending time with friends and family, making new friends, working in his yard, shucking and creaming corn, growing flowers, fishing, and traveling (especially to the beach in Florida, where he would always get a What-A-Burger). He always enjoyed sharing his experiences as a soldier and P.O.W. with anyone willing to listen, and always credited God with his survival; his story has been shared in several papers, on a variety of news stations, between family and friends, and any old soldier he met along the way. He will be missed dearly, and never forgotten.
The visitation will be at Mathis Funeral Home from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on Sunday October 6, 2013. Services will be at Mathis Funeral Home Chapel at 11AM and Andersonville National Cemetery with full military honors at 2:00 pm on Monday October 7, 2013, where he will join his wife. The family would like to give a special thank you to Gentiva Hospice's nurses and aides, for their dedication and excellence in making John's final days as comfortable as possible.
Published in The Telegraph on Oct. 4, 2013