Maora Jane "Skippy" KING

Obituary
  • "I worked at the Women's Centre with Skippy and Penny in..."
    - Susan Echelman
  • "Skippy helped bring my son into this world 21 years ago as..."
    - Susan Joelj
  • "Skippy was a smart, kind, gentle, loving woman; and a..."
    - Susie (Mahoney) Jamsky
  • "Skippy touched the lives of my family and me, and I will be..."
    - Kathryn (Rome) Elalouf
  • "I met Skippy in 1972, I volunteered at the first center on..."
    - Cat Thompson

<93, died at home July 7, 2018. Beginning in the late 1960s Skippy began working to help battered women, sometimes sheltering them in her home. She worked closely with Pat Gonzalez to open The Spring in 1977, a center to assist battered women. Skippy was also a driving force in organizing The Women's Center, which was incorporated in 1972 when she became the Director. This was one of the first facilities dedicated to women's reproductive rights in Tampa. In addition to abortions, they offered general health care, vasectomies, a 24-hour answering service, and the first feminist bookstore in Tampa in 1975, The Feminist Connection. Throughout the years she helped other cities start their own Women's Center. In the seventies, NOW awarded her one of the first Diana Awards, which honored those who worked for women's rights.

In 1977, she became an LPN, and then trained as a lay midwife and in 1982 opened the Alternative Birthing Center. In addition to the many home births she participated in, she helped other birthing centers get started around the state. One of the hallmarks of her career was her case begun in 1978 to be licensed as a lay midwife, which went to the Florida Supreme Court before it was finally won in 1982. At the Midwives Association of Florida conference in 2009 she was honored as a founding mother.

Skippy was predeceased by her son, Larry King; her grandson, Ben King; and her best friend and partner of 33 years, Penny Pohle.

She is survived by her daughters, Jane Witt Kemmis (Doug) of Sacramento, CA, Penny Maora Witt of Olympia, WA, and Jimi Lin King (Leon) of Tampa, FL. Skippy is also survived by five grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

Many thanks go to the Plum Team at Lifepath Hospice and to Serenity Meadows Funeral Home.





Funeral Home
Serenity Meadows Memorial Park & Funeral Home - Riverview
6919 Providence Road
Riverview, FL 33578
(813) 677-9494
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Sept. 16, 2018