Laura Lewis Jackson King, 94, resident of Open Arms Retirement Center here and former resident of Kinston, died January 22 following several years of declining health. She was preceded in death by a son Tillman, brother Warren Jackson, sister Louise Mack and her parents Bernice and Jesse Jackson.
She is survived by sons Adrian King of Kinston, Julian King (and Mary Neil) of Raeford and daughter Janice Jones (and Tom) of Chapin, South Carolina; nine grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.
She was born in Kinston on July 2, 1922 and lived most of her early life in the area formally known as East Kinston. She graduated from Grainger High School in 1940. Her senior year high school annual (Kay-Aitch-Ess) referred to her as "Business-like. Brisk. Neat."
In 1941 she married Ernest Lee King and they were blessed with four children. Shortly after marriage, they became Lenoir County farmers. In 1956 the family moved to Kinston and Ernest went into the restaurant business. Ernest and Laura were divorced in 1969.
Laura spent many hours sitting in Kinston's Grainger Stadium watching sons Tillman and Julian play baseball for the Grainger High School Red Devils, coached by Paul Jones. Her sons, in their respective senior years, were selected as outstanding members of the team.
One of the joys of her life related to the educational achievements of her children: all four graduated from Grainger High School in Kinston and all four successfully graduated from college (Adrian at Wake Forest, Tillman at University of North Carolina, Julian at North Carolina State University, and Janice at East Carolina University), the first in the King and Jackson branches of her families to attain college degrees.
One of her sons wrote "…I give her all the credit for instilling in us the desire to make for ourselves a better life than she and Ernest were able to give us growing up." A "Mother's hope…" was considered the major help in achieving the four children's educational goals.
Laura was a strong force in the life of her four children.
Her giving and straightforward personality earned Laura many friends throughout the various communities in which she lived: Kinston, Fayetteville, Raeford, Charlotte, Jacksonville Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Education was a main objective of Laura's professional life earning certificates from Lenoir Community College and Fayetteville Tech as well as professional credits in the insurance industry.
Her professional life included employment as personnel and payroll clerk for the City of Kinston, service in the radiology department at Lenoir Memorial Hospital and service as a medical secretary in Florida.
Genealogy was one of her passions, especially related to the study of the Jackson branch of her family. She loved to read the newspaper wherever she lived, and novels, and fish in the state's coastal waters.
After living in Florida for several years, Laura retired to Kinston in the mid-1990s.
Her civic associations included a term as president of the Lewis School PTA, president of the Kinston Garden Club, a member of Kinston's business and professional women's association, a member and volunteer for the Lenoir County Historical Association, as an early member of Community Concerts organization; and recently as a member of Northwest Christian Church. During residencies in Raeford, home for son Julian, Ms. King attended the Raeford Baptist Church.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at Howard-Carter Funeral Home from 11 a.m. to noon. The funeral will start at noon with the Rev. Judith Reese officiating. Burial will follow the service at the King Family Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Lenoir County Historical Association, PO Box 3171, Kinston, NC 28502.
Howard-Carter Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Online condolences may be sent to howardandcarter.com