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Memorials: San Jose Monthly Meeting

Tom King

Date of birth

Oct. 27, 1940

Date of death

Sept. 9, 2019


San Jose Monthly Meeting

Memorial minute

Tom King was born on October 27, 1940 in Colusa, California to Mr. William Byron King and Mrs. Rose Elizabeth Standish King. He was the younger brother of Charles Standish King of San Bruno, California. Tom attended Yuba College in Marysville, California, then he transferred to University of California, in Berkeley.  After his graduation, he served for two years in the US Army.  Following the service, he entered the teaching profession. It was while teaching in Novato, California that he met his first wife; they were married for three years.


Tom started attending San Jose Friends Meeting in 1972, joining as a member of the Meeting in 1975.  He was an active member, serving on the Library Committee, the Property Committee, and as recording clerk.  In the mid 1980’s, Tom played an important role in preserving the archival records of the Meeting, which resulted in the transfer of all the pre-1885 business meeting minutes, as well as Meeting’s oldest and most valuable papers and books to the Quaker Collection of Haverford College in Pennsylvania.


Tom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the mid 1990’s. After researching available treatment options, he entered a two-year drug program for Parkinson’s Disease at the National Institute of Health.  He used the Traveling Friends Directory for securing temporary housing. One of the hosts was a Quaker named Amy Southwick, whom he married in 2001. Tom’s frequent visits to D.C. gave him opportunities to use the National Archives and the Library of Congress for pursuing his research. After Amy retired, the couple lived in Tom’s historic home in the Burbank area of San Jose. In 2003, they took up residence in a home in Santa Rosa located close to Friends House. Tom attended Quaker meetings in the Santa Rosa area while he maintained his membership in San Jose Friends Meeting. After he and Amy divorced in 2012, Tom moved back to his home in San Jose.


Tom was a man of many interests, among them genealogy, travel, the history of San Jose, and the history of Quakers. He authored several historical articles, and in 2012, he published his first book, “History of San Jose Quakers, West Coast Friends.” At the time of his death, he was working on a sequel.


Tom was a man who held strong opinions and was not easily dissuaded. His independence and tenacity sustained him through years of physical challenges. One of the major surgeries Tom had was a deep brain stimulator implantation, around 2005, which helped relieve some of his Parkinson’s symptoms. Despite his many physical challenges, Tom refused to let anything prevent him from living life on his terms. He attended meeting for worship nearly every Sunday -- taking two buses to get there – and participated in the life of the meeting with enthusiasm. His indomitable spirit and persistence in pursuing his goals were inspirational and admired by those who knew him. 


It was Tom’s wish that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Habitat for Humanity.