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Wada King

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Wada King Obituary
Wada King
1919 - 2014

Wada King passed away at 95. A member of the "Greatest Generation" she was the epitome of the "American Dream" come true.

Wada was born in 1919, the oldest of four daughters of an Arkansas sharecropper. During the "Great Depression" the sisters worked the cotton fields with their parents. Between crops the girls walked miles to school, none of them had the privilege of completing elementary school.

With little medical care available in rural Arkansas, the family contracted diphtheria and two of Wada's sisters died in a week. Their mother never fully recovered from this loss.

In 1943, Wada bought the family's first car, then learned to drive. She persuaded her family to move to California in hopes of finding a better life. They arrived in California on June 6, 1943, the day of the D-Day invasion in France.

Wada worked picking cherries and "thinning" peaches. Later she became a "Rosie the Riveter" at McClellan Airbase. Wada was proud of her contribution to the war effort, as well as her service as a USO volunteer.

After the war, Wada put herself thru beauty college working nights at the Marysville Hotel's Officers Club. Many officers were smitten with the stunning brunette, but Wada married the charming private Milt King. Wada and Milt became proud parents of their daughter Linda.

In 1952, Wada saved $1,000 to buy used furniture and rent space in a "dry goods store". Milt became a barber, and owned Milt's barbershop in Gridley. Milt and Wada delivered furniture after Wada's store closed each day. Their pickup truck had a 4-digit phone number written on the side….no prefix needed in 1952.

After Wada and Milt divorced, many thought a single woman would fail in business. Wada believed you would succeed if you were "honest, worked hard, and treated people right". She focused on quality and fair pricing. Her business flourished.

In 1987, Linda joined Wada in the family business, becoming a California Certified Interior Designer. Linda's son, Jason Banks became Wada King Interiors' business manager. Wada loved working with her daughter and grandson and was extremely proud of their three-generational family business. Wada King Interiors became one of Northern California's finest destinations for home furnishings and interior design, continuing as a Live Oak landmark for 60 years.

Wada believed the more she gave the more she received. She contributed generously to local organizations, served as a Live Oak City Councilwoman and Mayor. Her goal was to beautify the city and generate jobs for the residents. During her tenure, 63 abandoned cars were removed from the city and free trash days were provided. She was instrumental in gaining public support for The Leo Chesney Center providing work for many residents. She worked tirelessly with the female inmates to landscape many areas of Live Oak, including the City Hall.

In 2002, the City of Live Oak presented Wada with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" for her long term service to the City as an exceptional citizen. In 2006, the Appeal-Democrat presented Wada with their "American Dream" Spirit of Freedom Award. In 2007, Wada received the "Woman of Distinction" Award from the Yuba-Sutter Soroptimist Club. Wada also received a resolution from the City of Live Oak "Commending Outstanding Service to the Community".

Wada is survived by her daughter Linda Lang, her grandson Jason Banks, her great granddaughter Maggie Shytle, and four nephews. Share memories, and enjoy a presentation of Wada's life on November 1, 2014, 1:00-4:00pm at Linda Lang Design, 9792 Live Oak Blvd., Live Oak. The family suggests donations to Sutter North Hospice.

Send Condolences to ww.appealdemocrat.com
Published in Appeal Democrat on Oct. 12, 2014
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