Otis King
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OTIS HAROLD KING, age 77, a legendary attorney, law school educator, author, arbitrator, artist, veteran, community activist, departed this life peacefully on November 21, 2012. Otis was born on February 3, 1935 in Texarkana, TX to Griffin and Eula King. He grew up in the historic Fifth Ward where he attended Bruce Elementary, and graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School in 1952 as the Salutatorian of the graduating class.
Otis King attended Texas Southern University in 1952 where he competed on the debate team under the leadership of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman. Otis and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan were debate team partners for four years. They actually debated against Harvard University and won in 1956. Otis completed his undergraduate studies at Texas Southern University in 1956 when he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He returned to TSU after a two year stint in the army and entered law school. While in law school, he participated in sit-ins all over Houston that successfully helped to bring about the integration of Houston's eating establishments, theaters, and public accommodations. He also helped Eldrewey Stearns form the civil rights organization, The Progressive Youth Association. In 1969, Otis was named as a Ford Foundation Fellow in Clinical Legal Education at the Harvard University School of Law. He earned his LL.M. degree from Harvard University School of Law in 1970. He was a professor of law at TSU's Thurgood Marshall School of Law for almost forty years, serving as its dean for ten of those years. He served under Mayor Fred Hofheinz as Houston's first Black City Attorney.
Otis was a member of many organizations such as the Texas Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Bar Association and more. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Otis' favorite past time was sailing and fishing as many of his close friends could attest. He also enjoyed painting, sculpting, and writing poetry. Many of his paintings can be found in the homes of family and friends.
Otis married Martha Ann Roberts in 1960. To this union, they had two sons, Byron D. King and Corey R. King. Although the marriage ended, Otis and Martha remained friends until his death.
Otis married Nancy Tervalon Rickett in 1986. Otis was instrumental in raising his step-son, Joncy Rickett.
Otis is preceded in death by his parents, Griffin King, Jr., and Eula King and brother, Everett King.
Otis leaves to cherish his memory, his sons, Byron D. King (Traci) and Corey R. King (Kimberly); three grandsons that he adored and supported: Jeremy M. King, Cameron M. King and Alan M. King; one precious grand-daughter: Lauren E. King; one brother: Hamah King (Gloria) and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and close friends.
The celebration of his life and legacy will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 3015 N. MacGregor Way, Houston, TX 77004. Viewing will be from 9:00 - 11:00 A.M. The Omega Service of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will begin at 10:00 A.M. with the memorial service commencing at 11:00 AM. Interment will follow at Houston Memorial Gardens, 2426 Cullen Boulevard, Pearland, TX 77581.

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Published in Houston Chronicle on Nov. 30, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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40 entries
December 24, 2012
So sad to learn about his passing. I was actually writing about him today and re-reading an interview I did with him in 2008. I am writing a book about NASA and Civil Rights and am spending all day today writing about the protest he was planning at Gordon Cooper's welcome home parade in 1963, which led to the desegregation of Houston's movie theaters. Proud to have gotten to know him.

Richard Paul
Verville Fellow
Space History Division
National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Institution
Richard Paul
December 17, 2012
From the family of Benny A. & Hattie Calbert Joseph (Wheatley '52), we offer our condolences and prayers for the King family and friends one of America's finest. May God continue to Bless and keep you. Mr.King will always be remembered as a great leader, teacher and role model.
Benny Joseph II
December 16, 2012
To the King family: I, Huey P. Mitchell, a friend and former classmote of Otis extend my and my wife, Nelvia's condolence to Otis' family. I, also last evening learned that Hammah expired as well. Both will be missed.
Huey P. Mitchell
December 11, 2012
It was my good fortune to serve in the Legal Department of the City of Houston at the time Dean King was appointed City Attorney. I have never known a more dignified, honest, generous individual who gave us as subordinates the opportunity to spread our wings and succeed. I greatly admired his intellect and his ability to work and engage people of all backgrounds and experiences. One of my great regrets is that I did not find the opportunity to reconnect with Dean King upon my return to Houston. To the family, my deepest condolences and my thanks for allowing us to share him for an all too brief time.
Larry W. Schenk
Sr. Asst. City Attorney
Larry Schenk
December 3, 2012
God Bless
December 3, 2012
Professor King was such a giant of a man to have as a law school professor and a friend. In law school, his classes knew they were lucky to have him as a teacher. I even took a summer school class from him in a subject I wasn't that interested in, just to have another opportunity to have him as a teacher. After law school, he was a great friend. I feel lucky to have known Dr. King and to have had the chance to become a better lawyer and person by way of his teachings. Rest in Peace, Dr. King.
Greg Gilleland
December 2, 2012
My prayers are with you.
Chantia Nolan
December 2, 2012
I met Otis while serving as a senator and treasurer of the Faculty Senate at TSU. I admired Otis for his knowledge of the law and his quest for righting the wrongs in the community. I pray that the King family finds comfort and strength during this holiday season.
Fannie Malone
December 2, 2012
Professor King was a great man of many talents. He taught me at Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Professor King was an legal scholar, artist, poet and civil rights activist. His intellect was so immense and awesome. I will never forget Otis King my Professor. Rest in Peace King. God Bless Byron and Corey King
Troy Pradia
December 2, 2012
I had the privilege of serving on the faculty of Thurgood Marshall School of Law with Otis. There are few people in life I respect and admire more than Otis. Otis, my friend, you may be gone but you certainly won't be forgotten.
Kenneth Williams
December 1, 2012
My thoughts and prayers are with you this holiday season and always.
Dianne Sellers
December 1, 2012
I knew him as a well respected arbitrator on the USPS/ American Postal Workers Union Panel. He listened to the voice of reason.
Diann Scurlark
December 1, 2012
Our deepest sympathy to Martha and family. Rest in Peace, Otis.
Cathy & Lew Green
December 1, 2012
Such a great man and friend. We of Wheatleyworld and the entire Wildcat Nation are truly blessed because he passed our way.
Donald Stewart '54
December 1, 2012
Otis will not only be remembered for all the wonderful things that have been previously stated, but also as a fine actor. I remember, while a student at TSU, seeing Otis perform the role of Othello...he was wonderful!

Family, know that your father, brother, husband was truly a great person.
December 1, 2012
God Bless You and your family Byron....
Cecil Malone
December 1, 2012
We offer our love and prayers in tribute to a wonderful schoolmate and friend, whose life was a gift in so many ways to so many people.
The Bookmans: Harold, Bobbye, and Joan
December 1, 2012
Texas Southern University was enhanced by the long presence of a man of intellect and integrity. I hope he wrote the book he spoke of the last time we talked.
Dr. Ronald W. Hull
December 1, 2012
Rest in Peace Brother Otis King.

Thank you for being so kind to me when I was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha in \1955 at TSU- Delta Theta Chapter.
I also remember the great debate team with you, Barbara Jordon and George Turner. I was in the audience when you debated against the team from Harvard.
I also remember you and Edward Cooper as superior students in biology.

Brother Willie C. Stewart-1957 TSU-Maor-Biology

I live in Fircrest, washington
Willie Stewart
November 30, 2012
There will be an empty chair at the holiday table this year, but it will be filled with loving memories.
Mary Green
November 30, 2012
Mary Green
November 30, 2012
Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.
Lisa Mcclung
November 30, 2012
November 30, 2012
November 30, 2012

What manner of man!!

Thank you Dean King for your guidance, intellectual stimulation, and professorial challenge deployed in crafting our skills and curiousity as aspiring young lawyers. You always challenged us to continuously raise the bar.

Rest in peace our brother as you have earned your place in his kingdom.


Ronald J. Fleming, TMSL '79

Donald J. Fleming, TMSL '73
Sr. Assistant City Attorney
Ronald J. & Donald J. Fleming
November 30, 2012
Thank God I had the opportunity to know such a wonderful and kind man. I met him at Texas Southern Law School in 1978, when I worked for him and 4 other Law Professors. I say to the King family... look to God for he will carry you thru in your time of bereavement.
Vickie Pringle
November 30, 2012
Rest In Peace Dr.King. I will remember the kind words everyday that you would give to me.Georgia Rice Ricks,Houston,Texas
Georgia Rice Ricks
November 30, 2012
My condolences to the King Family especially to Byron King. Now, BK I understand who you get your Integrity and Kwowlege from. Your Father was a Great Man who left a Great Legacy for us, to choose the direction we lead ourselves and love ones. I am Inspired by Your Father's history and may He live on in our Hearts as He enters His Gates with Happy Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name.
Brother in Christ
November 30, 2012
To a great pioneer may God bless your soul and my sincere condolences the the family.
Ronicae Evans
November 30, 2012
To the King Family, my deepest Sympathy. Keep the Faith and Trust in God and know that Otis fought a good fight and kept the faith.
Reginald King
November 30, 2012
To the Family you have my Condolence during this time and know that God is with you all. Continue to look to the hills.

Vernon Crandle
Alpha Phi Alpha 06'
November 29, 2012
To the family of Otis King: My dearly beloved brother, Otis, represented the essence of a renaissance man. He was a dean, professor, legal scholar, Houston city attorney, sailor, author, painter, gardener, home decorator and most of all, a loving colleague at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law (TMSL), Texas Southern University. Your presence will be missed, but your legacy will live on. John C. Brittain, former dean of TMSL.
Professor John Brittain
November 29, 2012
My heartfelt condolences to the family of Professor Otis King who was a beloved fraternity brother and professional colleague.
Dr. Joseph Jones
November 29, 2012
Condolences to the King family. Dr. King was truely an inspiration to us all and will truely be missed.

The Keener Family!
Darron, Sheva, Devin, & Chelsey
Sheva Keener
November 29, 2012
I shall always remember the intelectually
verbal exchange between he and Barbara Jordan during our high school debating sessions. They stood toe to toe on their varied postions of each subject. we have lost a great man and even though I had not seen or been in contact with him in years, He remains a giant of intellect, in my mind. God bless and my deepest sympathy.

Arthur Chambers
Wheatley class of '53
November 29, 2012
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Faira Gilbreath
November 28, 2012
My condolences to the King Family during this difficult time. I will keep Otis in my prayers and may his soul rest in eternal peace with the Lord.
Pam Eugene
November 28, 2012
In loving memory of a wonderful person. His legend and works will live on. He will not be forgotten.
S Schwartz
November 27, 2012
To the King family.
I offer my sincere condolences to you all upon the passing of my classmate and friend. Otis made his mark at TSU and the city of Houston, and all of it began in his upbringing and at Phyllis Wheatley Sr. High, may his soul has been received by THE MASTER and You all be comforted by what He meant to you.
Very sincerely,
Sammy L Washington
Class of 1952 (Secretary). Landover,Maryland,20785
November 27, 2012
Words cannot express how we feel about the loss of your love one. However, we do want of offer words of encouragement and comfort. GOD knew what is right for all of us. Only Jesus can comfort you as none of us can and he tells you: (John 14) Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know…..keep your trust in GOD. Otis King has gone from labor to reward...…know that you will meet again in heaven…..May GOD's grace and mercy continue to guide and lead you and Otis's memories sustain as you heal. Words of encouragement from Step of Faith Church Family & The Cormier Family
Dianna Cormier......co-worker
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