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William Luther King II


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Date published: 4/25/2010

William Luther King II

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, at Salem Fields Community Church, 11120 Gordon Road, Fredericksburg, to celebrate the life of William Luther "Bill" King II, 67, who died Friday, March 26, 2010, at Mary Washington Hospital.

Born in Albany, N.Y., in 1942, he was the second child of the late Rev. Dr. Luther W. King and Alba I. King. He was named for his paternal grandfather, the Rev. William Luther King, an ordained minister who served seven Methodist churches in Spotsylvania County in 1929-33.

Growing up in New York City, where his father was pastor of several Methodist churches and his mother an educator, his summers were spent in Spotsylvania County.

In 1964 he earned the B.A. in Philosophy (Honors) at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. He earned the M.A. in Asian Studies in 1968, under a grant from the East-West Center, and the M.B.A. in 1976 from the University of Hawaii. Also in 1976, he earned the J.D. degree from the Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii.

King was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, 1964-66, where he was a middle school teacher in a remote northern valley and a teachers' training college instructor. His peers admired his ability to speak the Thai language like a native.

Author of "Umbrellas Make Their Day," published in 1977 by the Journal of the National Research Council of Thailand, supported by the East-West Center, his analysis documented a village-based umbrella trade. (Such grass-roots industries are now standard for international development agencies.)

He later became proficient in Mandarin Chinese, under a National Defense Language Fellowship, and was an instructor in the Law and Trade Program, Foundation for American Chinese Cultural Exchanges, Shanghai, China.

Moving to Washington, D.C., in 1979, he worked for Charles Morgan Jr. and Associates, a civil rights law firm. He later joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP as a copyright specialist. After working for the Cushman-Pillsbury law firm specializing in intellectual property law, he retired to Fredericksburg in 2003.

He gave pro bono legal assistance generously to many charitable endeavors around Fredericksburg and was a volunteer in the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.

His friendly, optimistic personality made him friends wherever he went. King's interests included observing the Supreme Court, tai chi, basketball, songwriting, international travel and playing the piano.

His marriage to Maria (Odette) Lourdes Villanueva-King ended in divorce in 1983. There were no children.

He is survived by his sister, Mary Elizabeth King, of Washington, D.C., and two brothers, John N. King and Edward W.C. King, both of Spotsylvania County; a niece, Lily R. King; a nephew, Jonathan P. King; an aunt, Amy Charlotte Thomas King; a cousin, David N. King; and a second cousin, Jesse Turner.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made in his name to the Spotsylvania Emergency Concern Association (SECA), Box 923, Spotsylvania, Va. 22553.