Michael L. King
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MANSFIELD: Michael L. King, 55, died March 18, 2014 at the Hospice House of North Central Ohio after an extended illness. He was born in Mansfield, Ohio, on December 11, 1958 to Dr. J. Harold and Dorothy Hehman King.
Born with Down syndrome, Mike was part of an historical change in the education of children with mental retardation in Richland County. His participation in the system lasted for half a century. In 1965 he was a member of the first class to enter Newhope School and graduated in 1981. Mike participated in the Special Olympics, collecting over fifty ribbons in a variety of sports, but bowling was his life-long favorite. Continuing in the Newhope system, he entered the food service training program at Richland Newhope Industries (RNI) where he worked part time as Kitchen Manager and he also worked part time for a year at Friendly's Ice Cream. In 1987 Michael was hired by Long John Silver's where he worked for twenty-three years, continuing as Kitchen Manager at RNI until his retirement due to illness in 2010. Michael never missed a day of work, and he received the Employee of the Year award in 1996. After he retired, Mike attended the Options Retirement volunteer program and eventually transferred to Creative Perspectives in the Personal Social Services area of RNI.
Mike lived with his roommate, John Burggraf, in their own apartment in Ranchwood. They walked to Mechanics Bank every other week with their paychecks. With the help of Newhope and HR Choices, Mike and John did their own shopping, cooking, and housekeeping. After John's death, Michael lived on his own for two years with the additional help of Care Companions of Ohio. In September of 2012, Michael moved to Justine home, a group residence under the management of Richland Newhope (Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities). He continued to go to RNI every workday until two weeks before he passed away. His great spirit and good sense of humor will be sorely missed by the entire King family and his Newhope family.
Michael is survived by two brothers and sisters-in-law, John and Jane King and George and Jackie King; five sisters and three brothers-in-law, Mimi King, Angela Johannessen, Mary Ellen and Tom Miller, Marjo and Bill Cavanaugh, and Judy Castle and Gary Mion; sixteen nieces and nephews, and twenty grand nieces and nephews.
Michael was preceded in death by his parents Dr. J. Harold and Dorothy Hehman King, brother-in-law Don Castle, and his beloved friend and housemate, John Burggraf.
The family wishes to thank everyone who made Mike's life so meaningful, especially those who helped him at the end: the staff at both Justine Home/Raintree and Creative Perspectives/RNI, Drs. Sringeri and Padival, the nurses at MedCentral, and the staff at Hospice House of North Central Ohio.
Family and friends are invited to visit Friday, March 28, 2014 from 4-8 p.m. at the Diamond Street Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 98 S. Diamond St., Mansfield. Mass of Christian Burial, conducted by St. Peter's Catholic Church, will be held Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at St. Peter's Church, 104 W. 1st St., Mansfield. Burial will follow in Mansfield Catholic Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Richland Newhope Gift Fund, 314 Cleveland Avenue, Mansfield, OH 44902 or to Hospice of North Central Ohio, 1050 Dauch Drive, Ashland, OH 44805.
Online guest registry at www.wappner.com
Wappner Funeral Directors & Crematory
98 S Diamond St Mansfield, OH 44902
Published in the News Journal on Mar. 23, 2014