Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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Herbert King, 1927-2011: Church mainstay was sports coach

Herbert King, a mainstay of his church — in the choir, in the kitchen, in the classroom — who coached adult softball and youth baseball, died Sunday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania. He was 83.

Mr. King, most recently of South Toledo, had congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and lung cancer. His wife, Mabel, died three months ago. Yet he gathered his strength and joined 120 relatives for a recent family reunion in Maryland.

“He got to see his cousin, who is 90. She said, ‘I want to see him one last time,’” his daughter Herva said. “And his brother was there. Everyone in the room was crying because they hadn’t seen each other in a year and a half. It was awesome.”

A member of Phillips Temple CME Church, he taught Sunday school and was a Sunday school superintendent. He sang in the gospel choir and the men’s choir, the Phillips Temple Southernaires. He cooked for church functions. He painted and landscaped.

“He was regarded as the angel of the church,” LaVerta Latson said. “[Members] felt good when they came to church knowing there was a man like him.”

He was a supervisor at the former Mather Spring Co., an auto-parts maker, until injuries from an auto accident forced him to retire. He was a coach and a player on the plant’s fast-pitch softball team, which took on other company’s teams at Willys Park, Sterling Field, and Joe E. Brown Park.

Neighbor children recruited him to coach their baseball team, his daughter said.

“He was like the favorite uncle. We were the neighborhood house,” she said. “Everybody was crazy about him and my mother both.”

He was born Sept. 22, 1927, in Brownsville, Tenn. He was 19 when he joined an aunt and uncle who settled in Toledo. His first job was at a brick-making company. To support his growing family, he started a house-painting business.

The Kings formerly lived on Oakwood Avenue. In 1997, he and his wife became downtown pioneers, moving from their Old West End home of more than a decade to the then-new LaSalle Apartments in the former Lasalle & Koch department store. He was inspired to write a poem about being downtown.

“They liked it because they could go on the roof and look at the river, and they met a lot of people there,” their daughter said. He and his wife married Aug. 27, 1950. She died April 11.

Surviving are his daughters, Herva, Krista, and Fern King; sons, Daryll, Jerome, Barry, and Paul; sister, Vanzilla Potts; brother, Ocie King; 27 grandchildren; 44 great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Sunday in Phillips Temple CME Church. Funeral services will be at noon Monday in the church, where a family hour will begin at 11 a.m. Arrangements are by the Dale-Riggs Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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