Saturday, April 11

Obituary : Fr. John King dies;

STARRUCCA, Penn. -- Father John J. King, the founding pastor of Epiphany Parish in Normal who served that parish for 29 years, died on Monday, April 6, 2015, at Barnes-Kasson Hospital in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He was 92.
A funeral Mass has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, April 10, at St. John the Evangelist Church, 15 E. Church St., Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. Burial will take place in Starrucca at a later date.
Father King, a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria, had lived in his hometown of Starrucca since his retirement in 1995.
Born Nov. 26, 1922, in Starrucca to Daniel and Katherine (Gilleran) King, he attended St. Bonaventure University and completed his studies for the priesthood at Christ the King Seminary, both in St. Bonaventure, New York.
He was ordained for the Diocese of Peoria by Bishop John Mark Gannon on May 6, 1948, in Erie, Pennsylvania.
In a 2008 story in The Catholic Post on the occasion of his 60th anniversary of ordination, Father King explained that he came to the Midwest rather than staying in Pennsylvania because the rector of his seminary and then-Peoria Bishop Joseph H. Schlarman were friends. He was presented the option to serve in the Diocese of Peoria, and accepted it.
His early assignments were as parochial vicar at St. Mary, Rock Island; Holy Trinity, Bloomington; St. Joseph, Pekin; St. Mary, East Moline; and Holy Family, Peoria.
In 1960, Father King was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Camp Grove, where he served for six years. He became founding pastor of the new Epiphany Parish in Normal in 1966.
“These were to be exciting years as the parish grew and developed,” Father King later told The Catholic Post. He would lead efforts to retire the debt on the convent and school which had been built prior to his arrival, raise funds for the construction of the rectory, and oversee plans for the new church which was dedicated in 1973.
He guided the parish until being named pastor emeritus with senior status in 1995.
“I was there for 29 years, but it didn’t seem that long,” he said, praising the “graciousness and charity” of those he served in Normal and at all his assignments. He received the “Citizen of the Year” award from the city of Normal in 1995 for his service and for being “a major spiritual force” in the community.
He is survived by a sister, Genevieve (King) Leet; two nephews, a great-nephew and two great-nieces.
Memorial donations may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, Holy Family Residence, 2500 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

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