John Morrow King
1928 - 2020
John Morrow King, 91, died peacefully in the early morning of April 2nd on Hilton Head Island, 7 months after the passing of his beloved wife Folly Fisher King. John was born in Milwaukee Wisconsin, on May 1st, 1928, to Paul Juneau King and Susan Morrow King. He grew up in the Wisconsin and Illinois area and attended Washington University in Saint Louis and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, graduating with degrees in Architecture and Architectural Engineering in 1951.
After school due to the Korean war he joined the Airforce as an engineering officer for 1-1/2 years with time spent in Fairbanks, Alaska.
After this John dedicated his working years to all manner of housing and land use arenas. First as City Planning Director in Merced CA, next in Research and Development at the National Homes Corporation in Lafayette IN and then in Washington DC with the National Association of Home Builders, Research and Environmental Design Institutes. Later he founded companies to provide lectures, print articles and interviews for a wide range of progressive housing topics. He became a semi-professional photographer of housing to support this work. He also founded a custom home construction company where he designed and built houses in the Maryland suburbs. Another later position was the Vice President of Marketing for the American Wood Council promoting the use of wood with model houses built around the country. He wrote a weekly housing related article for the Washington Post for a number of years and was a member and leader for many housing and land use related organizations both locally and nationally. He was elected to the Washington DC chapter of Lambda Alpha the national honorary professional land economics fraternity in 1975.
In 1952 he married his college sweetheart Marjorie Spafford of Springfield, Illinois and they raised 3 children in a beautiful and loving way with the usual numerous mistakes along the way. The family spent many years in the DC suburbs of Arlington and Rockville with adventures in sailing on the Potomac river and Chesapeake Bay, swimming, tennis, and camping in the Shenandoah National Park. Designing and building their own home in Rockville was an enormous 3 year family project with many rewards, trials & tribulations.
The couple parted in 1978 with pain and struggle but intending to move on to better days which they were both able to achieve. The estrangement with elder son Steven and loss of daughter Catherine to mental illness and death at age 44 were additional painful experiences in his life.
A few years later he fell in love with Folly Fisher, a therapist, when they met at a singles group she was leading. This blossomed into a beautiful marriage of 38 years with many amazing adventures. One house was rebuilt, another built overlooking the Potomac River, then they moved to her 88-acre farm north of Frederick, Maryland, and renovated a 1892 house in the
nearby town. He designed and helped build houses for close friends & themselves near Creed, Colorado along the Rio Grande River. They ran a tanning salon business and invented & manufactured a solar sauna tent. For recreation the couple took bicycle trips to France, Netherlands and down the Danube River. They went to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, England by canal and sailing around the San Juan islands in Puget Sound. On weekends they often went cruising out of Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay in a Swedish built Ohlson 35 foot wooden yawl named Veracity. Truth and honesty was a strong part of John’s ethic.
In 2002, tired of six-foot snow drifts, the couple moved south to Hilton Head, SC with residences in Hilton Head Plantation, Cypress and Seabrook and of course more boats. Soon they were both active again with John founding and heading the ACLU chapter for Beaufort County and Folly working tirelessly for antiwar and social justice issues. They were both active in the local Unitarian Universalist Congregation, helping to grow the organization and develop their beautiful building in Bluffton.
After passing in the intense struggle of the COVID-19 epidemic, John was gently buried in the Sufi tradition by his son & grandson near to his daughter in the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship cemetery in Chester County, PA.
John is survived by sons Steven (& Lori Rolfe) in Shelton, Connecticut and Michael (& Ruth) in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, & stepchildren Eben Fodor of Eugene, Oregon & Becky (& Richard) Marlin of Buxton, North Carolina.
They have 9 beautiful grandchildren Aisha, Ana, Bobby, Brenna, Jed, Jessie, Juli, Mo, and Saajid spread around the country and growing into their own wonderful lives.
Born into the Great Depression of the 1930’s and passing on in the Great Pandemic of 2020, John had a very full and blessed life, much to be grateful for.