Alfred Ashbrook King Alfred Ashbrook King was born in Corpus Christi, Tex., July 19, 1916. His father, Richard King, was a rancher, a banker, and a civic leader; his mother, Pierpont King, was also a community leader and a dedicated arts patron; his great-grandfather was Captain Richard King, founder of the famous King Ranch. Alfred graduated from Corpus Christi High School and from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Upon graduation from Exeter he entered the University of Texas in Austin. At the University he was a member and president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, a member of The Cowboys, of Beta Gamma Sigma, business school honor fraternity, and editor of the college yearbook, the 1940 Cactus; with western author J. Frank Dobie as advisor. In 1941 he received two degrees from the University: Doctor of Jurisprudence and Bachelor of Business Administration. Alfred met Ellen Umphres at the University, and he and Ellen were married in 1940. They lived in Austin while Alfred finished law school. After graduation, they moved to Corpus Christi, where he looked after business interests of R. King and Company. A fine horseman, he worked as a cowboy at the family's South Texas ranch-the Santa Fe. He began military service in 1943 and was soon chosen for the Counterintelligence Corps, a forerunner of the CIA. During his military career, he was attached to the infantry, the Quartermaster Corps, the Air Transport Command, and the Air Force. He served tours in the Caribbean and in India before leaving the Air Force after WWII. Planning to spend more time on the ranch, Alfred and family moved to McAllen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, though the ranch was in Encino 60 miles away. He managed the ranch for the next 14 years until the Santa Fe Ranch was sold. While in the Valley, Alfred took an active part in the community. He was a director of the Corpus Christi National Bank (now Bank of America) and of the McAllen State Bank, a director of the McAllen Municipal Hospital, a trustee of Pan American College, today a part of the University of Texas System, vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church, president of the McAllen Library and president of the Rio Grande Valley Boy Scout Council. The Boy Scouts of America honored him with the Silver Beaver award. During these years, the King family began spending time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they have had a second home for many years. There Alfred took a part in the community and was active at the beginning of the Santa Fe Opera. No longer ranching, Alfred and family moved to Austin in 1960. Alfred had become a private investor, and there were many advantages to living in Austin, including the love of Austin itself. His business activities show a wide range of interests. He was chairman of the board or a director of several Muzak franchises, including El Paso, McAllen, Mexico City, Monterrey, Saltillo, Acapulco, and Guadalajara; Director of Inns de Mexico S.A.; Chairman of the board of Management Services Consultants; Chairman of the board of Santa Fe Associates, distributors of Seimans communications testing equipment; ITL Research Corp., military electronic counter-measures company, Director of a plastic container company; Chairman and co-founder of MRI Systems Corp., a computer data management system sold to INTEL in the 1970's; director of Steve Falkenberg and Company, Inc., public relations and marketing firm. In addition to advising or investing in numerous other businesses, Alfred also spent a great deal of time generously counseling non-profit organizations. In Austin, Alfred's outstanding talent for leadership and his vision played a large role in the community, especially in the arts and in the field of healthcare. He was founding Chairman of the Austin Lyric Opera, which he helped to organize and continued to serve the Board as Chairman Emeritus. The opera gave him the signal honor of dedicating the Austin premier performance of La Boheme to him during its 5th season. Alfred has been on the Board of Trustees of Laguna Gloria Art Museum, now the Austin Museum of Art, for over 40 years. It was his vision and determination that Austin should have a downtown art museum accessible to a wide audience. He was Founding Chairman and Chairman Emeritus for that museum. He served on the Comprehensive Austin Arts task force. He is a member of The Knights of the Symphony, which chose him as King Brio XII. He was a Founding member of Austin Meals on Wheels; he is a member of St. David's Healthcare System and past Chairman; a Trustee and President and a member of the Board of Governors of St. David's Partnership; President of St. David's Health Care Foundation and member of the Board of Trustees; a member of Indian Arts and Crafts Association board of directors, a former trustee of the Orme School in Mayer, Ariz., and President of the Orme Visiting Advisory Committee; he was a member of the Advisory Board for The School of Humanities at St. Edwards University. For the University of Texas in Austin, Alfred has been member and Chairman of the Advisory Council of The College of Fine Arts and a member Emeritus of the advisory Council of the School of Natural Sciences. He and his wife established lectureships in the College of Fine Arts and The School of Natural Sciences. He was a member of the Chancellor's Council, the President's Associates, and the Littlefield Society and a Life Member of the Ex-Students Association. Alfred received many awards in recognition of his dedication and leadership. Among them are Outstanding Philanthropist from the Austin chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, The Clara Driscoll Award given by Laguna Gloria Art Museum, GACC Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce for leadership in the arts, the Jane Dunn Sibley award for Outstanding and Sustained Leadership in the arts of Central Texas, Community Maker Award for outstanding contribution to the visual arts community from Austin Visual Arts Association; Allan Shivers Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce; The E.W. Doty Award for Excellence given for outstanding leadership and extraordinary contributions to the College of Fine Arts from the University of Texas; Honorary Membership A.I.A. of Austin and the Texas Society of Architects recognizing longtime association and support of architecture; Austin's Most Worthy Citizen of 2000 for lifelong commitment to volunteerism from Austin Board of Realtors; Austin Arts Hall of Fame given by Austin Critics Table for outstanding patronage of the arts and culture in Austin, Texas. Most recently, the Austin Lyric Opera has dedicated its 20th season to Alfred and Ellen King. Alfred was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church. He belonged to The Headliners Club, Tarry House, Knights of the Symphony, English Speaking Union, the Tuesday Club, Knights of the Vine, and was a past president of the 100-year-old Town and Gown Club. Alfred King was known for his integrity, his marvelous sense of humor, his generosity and his dependability, as well as for his creative thinking his vision and his talent for leadership. He was a devoted husband and family man, a friend and a gentleman. Alfred is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Ellen, son Gilbert and his wife Marci of Austin; Son Gordon and his wife Alma of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and daughter Pierpont of Santa Fe. He is also survived by nephew Richard King, III of Corpus Christi, Tex.; great-nephew Richard King IV and great-niece Marie King of Austin, Tex.; great-nephew James King and his wife Tammy and their children Haley and Harrison of Fort Davis, Tex., as well as by very special friends James Audrey Freeman and Julia Houston Rector of Austin. A memorial service will be held April 8 at 1:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, TX. Memorial contributions may be made to the Austin Lyric Opera's Ellen and Alfred King Society Fund, the A
Published by Austin American-Statesman on Mar. 29, 2006.