Kevin King
1957 - 2021
BORN
1957
DIED
2021
Kevin Neil King
March 14, 1957 - September 19, 2021
Kevin Neil King, a spirited collector of art, moments and stories with a flair for the absurd, died at home in San Francisco surrounded by all that he loved. He was 64. For almost three years he beat back brain cancer with courage and humility.

Kevin held the honors of friend, son, brother, father, grandfather and husband. All benefited from his unusual way of seeing and participating in the world. He disdained conventional paths of all kinds--career, forest, ski slope—in favor of the precipitous bushwhack. It might be scary to follow him, but you were always glad you did.

Born in Boulder, Colorado as the second of five children, Kevin continued in a long line of artists, including his mother Gretchen and his lawyer/watercolorist father Neil. When not skiing or doing yardwork, his parents immersed the children in art, music, and design. Kevin's grandfather Edward King, longtime dean of the University of Colorado Law School, was also an accomplished collage artist.

Kevin loved the world—its cold lakes, steep ravines, quirky people—and it loved him back. A keen observer always looking for the contrast of the day, he wore his work boots and patent leather spats with equal verve. He was a great giver of silent gifts, ones you didn't know you had received until long after he gave them.

His love for art was complemented by his love for athletics—each, he believed, was key to a balanced diet. Children of all ages flocked to him, and his openness and curiosity led him to see every person as filled with potential and deserving of respect.

Kevin's sense of humor was legendary. He excelled at visual pranks and specialized in hiding things in plain sight, often high atop trees or rooftops. His keen eye and talent as a builder found purchase in the early 1990's when friends asked him to help design sets for a men's club known for its woodsy theatrical performances. Over time, he turned his collection of trinkets, found objects, poetry, and visual wordplay into spirited mash ups that became his own species of comedic presentation, often bewildering and always hilarious.

Kevin saw and heard much that others missed or ignored. This gift, plus his curiosity about the world beyond himself, led him to collect works of art from many underappreciated contemporary artists, musicians, and writers. He often augmented these works with found objects and creations of his own. He paid close attention to craft and was particularly taken by pieces with social or political commentary. Many Bay Area artists attribute their first break to attracting his attention; San Francisco gallerists trusted his judgment.

Kevin met his lifelong companion and wife, Meridee Moore, on the University of Colorado hockey rink when both were 19. They became best friends, moved to New Haven and New York, and later married, a complement of skills that lasted almost 35 years. Kevin introduced Meridee to long boarding and cliff jumping, and when they settled in San Francisco in 1991, he supported her and the family while she pursued her career in investing. They believed the key to a good marriage is to remember to play together.

Kevin surrounded their daughters, Eve, Isabel and Amelia, with art, music and sports. He inspired them by example to pursue their passions, and each day encouraged them to "do their regular good stuff". He drove for countless field trips and took charge of decorations at their proms and Halloween fairs. He was a stalwart at every track meet, every soccer and basketball game, and always had a word for the refs.

Kevin earned a BA in Fine Art from the University of Colorado and a MA in interior design from Parsons School of Design in New York. He served on the boards of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and was Chair of the Board of the Grabhorn Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the Arion Press, the only remaining hand letter press in the world.

Kevin will long be remembered and revered by his wife and children; by his mother Gretchen King, his sister Shannon Bracht, his brothers Neil Jr., Ross and Jeff King; and by his three grandchildren, Jonah, Naomi and Desmond Edwards. A memorial celebrating Kevin's life will be held later in the year. Remembrances in lieu of flowers can be sent to the Grabhorn Institute and UCSF Brain Tumor Center.


Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Sep. 20 to Sep. 26, 2021.
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22 Entries
I feel so grateful to have met Kevin and to have Amelia in my life. Sending you all lots of love
Olivia Kim & Family
Friend
November 13, 2021
Joanna and Chris
November 13, 2021
Spirits like kevin´s don´t disappear, they take to the air, like a dance, and continue to inhabit our lives and imagination. We are lucky to have known him.
Brenda way
November 9, 2021
Andrea and Paul Vizcarrondo
October 27, 2021
Vida & Kamau Anderson & Family
October 12, 2021
It is so hard to know what to say when such a special loved one leaves. Meridee, Eve, Isabel and Amelia, we are praying for you to have peace as you remember all of the good times with Kevin. His unique humor, his appreciation for all of the beautiful things on Earth, and his love of life will continue to live in all of you forever.
Kamau & Vida & Family
Friend
October 12, 2021
Thanks to our parents´ friendship of 60+ years, I have fond childhood memories of Kevin, his siblings, my brother, and me romping around Santa Fe and Boulder. He grew up into a remarkable man. I send my deepest condolences to the entire family.
Julie Campbell
September 27, 2021
So deeply saddened by your family´s loss. Beautifully written tribute to his life! What an extraordinary role model you had in Kevin! We are surrounding you, Meridee, Amelia, Eve, & Isabel in love & care. May his bushwhacking curiosity live on!
Lovett family
Friend
September 27, 2021
Dear Meridee and family, I was so saddened to learn of Kevin's passing. He was indeed a very special person and your beautiful write-up so perfectly captures his spirit. I first met Kevin when the girls were in preschool and he took on the organization of the annual Halloween Faire. How typical of Kevin that he saved the cornstalk decorations in your garage and later related how they attracted rodents! Our paths crossed a number of years later when our daughters were in high school. Once again, Kevin lent his creativity to organizing and displaying the Silent Auction items for Decorator Showcase. His friendliness and can-do attitude made him such a pleasure to work with. May cherished memories of happy times help ease his loss. Sincerely, Maureen
Maureen Murray Fox
Friend
September 26, 2021
I only knew Kevin from basketball at Boulder High, but what an accomplished man and great person!! My condolences to all the family and friends! His presence will be truly missed by all.
Bob Casey
School
September 24, 2021
Kate Renwick-Espinosa
September 22, 2021
A wonderful young man when he played on my basketball team at Boulder HS. So sad to lose someone so young and talented in so many areas.
Kent Smith
School
September 22, 2021
What a beautifully written obituary. I will truly miss Kevin´s smile, voice, his quirky sense of humor and his passion for music. He was so talented. He made all the center pieces for our grandsons, Jonah´s baby shower. My condolences to Meridee and family. May God give you all peace and comfort.
Felicia Dixon-Adams
September 21, 2021
I met Kevin my sophomore year at Boulder High on the basketball team. We were both in the last group of this free throw ladder coach Smith had. We started at the bottom but I remember finishing at the very top together. We had a lot of back and forth and I always appreciated that he would spend time with me. When I read all that was just said about his life. It made perfect sense. What a great family and legacy he was such a part of.
Rick Baker
September 21, 2021
Kevin thank you for helping me plant the pine trees by your house at Glenbrook you are in my heart forever. Jeanne Jackson
Jeanne Jackson
Friend
September 21, 2021
This is the most marvelous obituary ever written. I hope we can all harness a bit of his spirit as people like Kevin make life worth living.
Miegan Riddle
Work
September 21, 2021
The Bay Area lost a legend. Thank you Kevin for supporting the entire arts community, from no names, down and outs, and risky ventures. Im already sad thinking about not having you visit the shop and just having a chat. RIP
derek song
September 21, 2021
Heidi Hansen + Richard Watkins
September 21, 2021
Margaret Jenkins
Friend
September 21, 2021
Margaret Jenkins
Friend
September 21, 2021
I am so sad about this loss. My heart goes out to his lovely family. His generosity and sweet care and support of my company will always be front and center in my heart. We performed in his living room in Feb. 2016 and treasured every moment. Here are a few memories.
Margaret Jenkins
Friend
September 21, 2021
I´m so profoundly saddened by the news. Kevin and I met at my art gallery, Gallery 16 in the mid nineties. Over the years we became friends and I marveled at wit, humor and his deep desire to help young artists. He was an authentic, genuine man with a kind heart and mischievous streak that I´ll truly miss.
Griff Williams
Friend
September 20, 2021
Showing 1 - 22 of 22 results