William Robert King

William Robert King Surrounded by the loving arms of his daughters, William Robert (Bob) King passed away peacefully into the presence of Jesus and our Heavenly Father on May 11, 2013, in Austin, Texas. He is survived by his sister Frances Ruth King of Harlingen, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Claudia and Mike Ledbetter of Huntsville, Alabama; daughter and son- in-law, Robin and David Key of Austin, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Cid and Bill Ransom of Dallas; and grandchildren, Robert Ledbetter, Andrew Ledbetter, Harrison Key, Hayden Ransom Prassas, Joseph Ransom, Russell Ransom, and great-granddaughter Lucia Prassas. Bob was born in San Benito, Texas, and grew up in Harlingen, Texas. He graduated from The University of Texas with two degrees; a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering in 1951 and a Bachelor of Architecture in 1956. He married Betty Lou Brittain in 1951 in Los Angeles, California, where they lived for several years and had their first child. In 1954, they returned to Austin, Texas, and had two more daughters. Bob and Betty were blessed with 56 years of marriage. In the beginning of Bob's career, he worked as a structural designer for North American Aviation Corp. in Los Angeles, California. After returning to Austin, he had partnerships in various architectural firms. Based out of Austin, Texas, for the remainder of his career, Bob practiced structural engineering and architectural design for 42 years. The majority of that time, he owned and operated his own firm, King Engineering Group, Inc. Some of his notable projects in Austin involved Zachary Scott Theatre; Texas Employment Commission, Capital of Texas Complex; Brackenridge Professional Building; Covenant Presbyterian Church; and Married Student Housing, University of Texas System. He particularly enjoyed his years of work for the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Southwestern United States. He also completed the structural engineering for stonework on the home of a famous singer and entertainer, although he claimed to have never heard of her-that entertainer was Mariah Carey. He was a registered professional engineer and architect with the State of Texas, a member of the American Institute of Architects, National Society of Professional Engineers, Texas Society of Professional Engineers, Texas Society of Architects, American Concrete Institute, and a certified fallout analyst. He also served as a lecturer for the School of Architecture at the University of Texas in Austin. Bob and his wife Betty were founding members of Riverbend Church in Austin. At the first service, held so many years ago, they stood ready to greet all who would walk through the doors of the school where the service was held, long before the plans for the present church buildings on Capital of Texas Highway were even drawn. Bob was a truly gifted man who loved singing and performing. He was a member and, at one time, the president of the Austin Civic Chorus. As a long-time member of the Austin Choral Union, he performed in many productions, including the opera "Don Carlo." He enjoyed the opportunity of singing under the direction of the well-known conductor and music director, Robert Shaw. He also served as a docent at the University of Texas Performing Arts Center. Nearly all his life, even as a teenager, Bob was a passionate and accomplished watercolorist. He loved to paint naturescapes, architectural renderings, and family portraits. Painting is what kept Bob going when in his later years his declining health limited his activities; it added value to his final days. Bob was very interested in fostering good governance, that being the basic principles of conservatism, and he supported organizations that worked toward that end. A memorial service will be held at Riverbend Church, 4214 Capital of Texas Highway North in the Smith Family Chapel on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. Bob's family expresses deepest appreciation for the care and friendship of the staff at Emeritus at Beckett Meadows assisted living residence. Also, we gratefully acknowledge the wonderful ICU staff at St. David's South Austin Medical Center and Hospice Austin's Christopher House.


Published in Austin American-Statesman from May 19 to May 20, 2013