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former Elizabeth City resident
Lt. Col. Haldane King, USAF (Retired), passed from this world on July 2, 2013 at the age of 91.
He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 8, 1921, the sixth of seven children in the family of Charles and Estelle (Stansberry) King. An outstanding high school scholar and basketball player, Haldane earned an athletic scholarship to Long Island University where he played on championship basketball teams under Coach Clair Bee.
In early 1942, he volunteered for military service in World War II, entering pilot training in Tuskegee, Ala. as a member of the first class (43J) of African American bomber pilots in the Army Air Force. Following his military service, Haldane returned to New York and became one of the first African Americans to join the New York Fire Department, as a member of an Engine Company. He was recalled into the newly integrated Air Force in 1950 and went to Germany as part of the Army of Occupation after WWII. Over the next 27 years, his military career then took him and his family to assignments in Maine, Germany, California and eventually to the Pentagon where he retired from active military service.
Haldane King then began a career in private industry and public service as the Executive Director of Philadelphia's Mercy Douglass Hospital, where his mother had been a nurse before his birth. He also worked for and retired from the Delaware River Port Authority as the Deputy Executive Director. With his wife Jean, he moved to Florida, and enjoyed an active retirement until her passing in 2001. He lived with his daughter and her family in Elizabeth City, for several years and became a Deacon at Memorial Missionary Baptist Church and was very active speaking at local schools and community events sharing about his time served in the military. In 2004, Haldane married Brigitta Toomey of Lady Lake, Florida. His advancing Alzheimer's illness necessitated a stay at an assisted care facility in Columbus Ohio, near his son.
Haldane King is survived by his wife and four children, Haldane Ernest (Marjorie) of San Rafael, Calif., Stephen Dwight (Iris) of Dublin, Ohio, Janis Camille (Denauvo Robinson) of Elizabeth City, Bruce Edward (Eileen) of Aberdeen, N.J.; and nephew, John B. King (Melissa) of Albany, N.Y.; his grandchildren, Haldane, Leah, Veronica, Dwight, Devire', Camille, and Kia Ayn; and five great-grandchildren. He will receive a military burial at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family as requested a donation in memory of Lt. Col. Haldane King be made to the Elizabeth City Rotary Club, c/o Economic Development Commission, Attn: Cathy Harris, 405 East Main St. , Suite 4, Elizabeth City, NC 27909. Please make check payable to the Rotary Club and note the donation is for the Alzheimer Foundation.
Published in The Daily Advance on July 16, 2013