Sarah Elizabeth McKelley King (Mrs. Walter Hughey King Sr.), born in Murfreesboro on Nov. 7, 1921 and deceased Feb. 20, 2013, community and patriotic leader of Murfreesboro, was a seventh generation resident of Rutherford County.
She was the daughter of the late James Dudley McKelley and Lutie Jameson Osborn. After graduating from East High School in Nashville, she continued her studies at Vanderbilt University. She held an honorary doctorate degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. On May 10, 1941, Mrs. King married Walter Hughey King Sr. They lived near Camp Pendleton, Calif. while the late Mr. King served in the Marine Corps during World War II, with the 3rd Marine Division during the invasion of Iwo Jima and the occupation of Guam.
Mrs. King was a candidate for the U.S. Congress in 1976, receiving the endorsement of the Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro). She was appointed as an advisor to Rep. Albert Gore Jr. He, in turn, served as one of her advisors from 1983-1986 during her three-year term as president general of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization of more than 212,000 women. She devoted much time to patriotic and cultural organizations. A dynamic speaker, Mrs. King awakened a renewed interest by the general public in the activities of the DAR. She believed in peace through strength and a strong defense for the preservation of our American way of life. Her speeches carried this message as she travelled across the world on official visits.
Recognized in 1978 as Rutherford County's Outstanding Citizen, Mrs. King served as advisor to the Tennessee Commission of the Status of Women. In addition, she served on the State Library Commission by appointment of the governor and on the Rutherford County Courthouse Commission. Mrs. King was a member of the New York Society Daughters of the Cincinnati, the United States Daughters of 1812, the DFPA Huguenot Society of Tennessee, and organizing Regent of the Oaklands Association. She made the address to the Murfreesboro City Council to save Oaklands Mansion as an historic site, and also made the address to the Rutherford County Court in 1959, which was responsible for saving the Rutherford County Courthouse from demolition; Regent of the Sam Davis Memorial Association for eight years and member of the Board for more than 30 years. She was Regional Vice-President of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, as well as a member of the Rutherford County Historical Commission Chapter VII of the Colonial Dames of America, Vice-Regent of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Colonists, and organizing Regent of the Captain Thomas Jameson Chapter. A member of many other patriotic organizations, she was a Life Member of the Ladies Hermitage Association, First Methodist Church.
She is predeceased by her husband, parents, sister, Martha McKelley Meeks and brother, James Dudley McKelley Jr. She is survived by Children Walter Hughey King Jr., M.D. Carmine King Jordan (Charlie), Newton Dudley King (Cynthia) Sallie King Norton (William) Grandchildren: Walter Hughey King III, Cannon King (Catherine), Mollie King, Collier King, Hamilton King, John Jordan (Sanna), Andrew Jordan, Susan Jordan Russell (Blake), Christopher King, William L. Norton IV(Heather), Jameson Norton (Anna), Sarah Norton Ross (Adam), Great Grandchildren: Caroline King, Cannon King, Wilson King, Andrew Jordan, Amelia Jordan, Bennett Jordan, Sarah Virginia Jordan, William L. Norton V, Charles Norton, MacAllister Russell, Tinnon Russell, Hamilton King Jr., and Jameson Norton.
Memorials to The Exceptional Foundation, 1616 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, ALa., 35209, NSDAR Tennessee Room, 1776 D. Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 or a charity of your choice.
Funeral service will be 11:00am Saturday at First Methodist Church. Father John Sims Baker and Rev. Michael O'Bannon will officiate. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery.
Visitation will be 4:00 until 7:00pm Friday at Woodfin Memorial Chapel.615-893-5151. www.woodfinchapel.com