Willard Joseph King, age 92, died Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital in El Dorado, and was born March 14, 1920 at St. Luke’s Hospital in El Dorado. He was the third child of Merton Ellis King and Margaret Isobel (Chase) King. He was preceded in death by his sister, Eleanor Mary (Meyer) King, and his three brothers, Elwood Chase King, Robert Merton King, and Charles Warren King.
Willard was raised on the family farm northeast of Potwin. He attended Potwin schools and graduated from Potwin High School in 1938. He attended Kansas State University, El Dorado Junior College, and Utah State University. For a short time prior to WWII he worked at Boeing.
On June 23, 1942, Willard enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served for three and a half years. During his time with the Marines he served two combat tours overseas in the Pacific, first in the Marshall Islands, then participating in the invasion of the Mariana Islands including Saipan and Tinian. At the time of his discharge in November 1945, he held the rank of Technical Sergeant in the Aviation Corp of the US Marines.
After the war, Willard worked for Haliburton in El Dorado for a few years. In 1948 he married Minnie Swift and they had three children: Willita Jo Edwards, of Jackson, Tenn. Helen Diane King of Topeka, and Stephen Scott King of Gray, Maine. Around 1950 he returned to the farm and engaged in farming in partnership with his father and brother Elwood C. King.
In 1969 he was married to Marilyn McAllister (Nelson). They continued to live at the farm until his death. Willard is survived by his wife, his three children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Willard was a member of the VFW, American Legion, and the Marine Night Fighter’s Association. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Kirby Morris Funeral Chapel in El Dorado. Memorials may be sent to the Potwin Library in care of Kirby Morris Funeral Home.