Percy Leroy King, 91, died on Aug. 19 in Burns.
He was born on Jan. 4, 1920, to B. Frank and Catharine King in Burns. He spent all of his life in Harney County, except for a short time in school in Eugene and in the service in the Army.
King’s early childhood was spent on the Thousand Springs Ranch, 10 miles north of Burns, where his father and mother raised cattle, sheep and horses, two huge gardens of vegetables, two hay fields and a large potato field. King learned to work with animals, loved them and was always kind to them.
When he was older, he trained the dogs to bring in sheep and cows with verbal commands. He had many different commands that the animals seemed to understand.
King started in the Bluebird School — the same school his dad had attended years before, which was by the Five-Mile Dam, five miles north of Burns. Percy also attended Sagehen School, Hines, Silver Creek School and Frenchglen. In 1936, he got his eighth-grade diploma at the Bluebird School. Being in so many schools, he met many people.
In 1942, King moved to Portland to live with his older sister, Frankie, and brother-in-law, Lewis Fedor. He found a job at Niccolai Door Factory, where he worked a few months before being drafted into the Army. On Aug. 28, 1942, he went to Fort Lewis for training, then to Fort Bliss, Texas, before shipping out at Staten Island, N.Y. He was with the 533rd Company C, 7th Armored Division, which landed at Casablanca, Morocco, North Africa. He spent time in other towns in North Africa, before returning to Casablanca to the hospital for his shipping orders. He spent nine months overseas. He worked the switchboard in Casablanca.
King was shipped back to Fort News, Va., then to White Sulfer Springs, W. Va., where he was discharged on Oct. 27, 1943. When discharged, he went home to Burns.
In 1945, King went to an automotive and machinery school in Eugene, while working at John Straub Hall on the University of Oregon campus, and a short time at Vets dorm. He lived across town and bought a bicycle to ride to work.
While living in Eugene, he belonged to the Salvation Army, where he played a baritone in the Salvation Army Band at Wednesday and Friday night meetings.
After finishing school, King went back to Burns, where he was promised a job in a garage in town.
This job fell through, and thus began his series of jobs on ranches, haying and working with all kinds of machinery. He worked many years for Delmar Clemens at the liquor store stacking merchandise, where he took much ribbing because he was not a drinker.
King was a member of the Grange, and when he was young he was chaplain for the Juvenile Grange. He loved to attend the dances at the Grange and picnics at Idylwild Park. He belonged to the American Legion and was a life member of both the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
In later years, he built a shop on the home place, where he lived in a trailer in back of the house. He stocked the shop with many tools he used to do repairs and build projects for other people. He mowed lawns, stacked wood and did odd jobs to earn a living.
In later years, he moved to The Aspens, where he needed their nursing care. King had a memory of every detail of his life from childhood, as he was excellent in remembering details.
King is survived by his sisters, Frankie Fedor of Winston, Jean Wenzel of Springfield, and Rose Robirts of Hines; nieces and nephews, Louise Levitin and husband Gerald of Napa, Calif., Vickie Wilson and husband Eric of Winston, Steve Fedor and wife Elaine of El Centro, Calif., Carol Dickinson and husband Ken of Springfield, Marjorie Smith and husband Tim of Florida, Kathy Teeter and husband Terry of Salem, Norman Wenzel of Portland, Duane Schmidt and wife Pat of American Forks, Utah, Jerry Schmidt and wife Kathy of Mt. Vernon, Wash., Sande English of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Frank Schmidt of Hines; and numerous great-nieces and nephews.
A graveside service for King will be held on Friday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m. in the Burns Cemetery. A Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 5:45 p.m., at Holy Family Catholic Church.
Contributions in King’s memory may be made to the Harney County Senior Citizen Center, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720. LaFollette’s Chapel is in charge of arrangements.