A Georgia Bulldog to the very end

William D. King was a Georgia Bulldogs fan his entire life. (Photo by Bill King)

William D. King was a Georgia Bulldogs fan his entire life. (Photo by Bill King)

We laid my Dad, William D. King, to rest in Athens’ Evergreen Memorial Park Wednesday, and it being national signing day much of my Bulldog-centric family naturally had one eye on ESPN while we got ready for the funeral at First Baptist Church.

Dad wouldn’t have minded in the least. I’ve written in the past about his devotion to the University of Georgia, and several favorite family stories of Pop involve the Dawgs. Such as how he came to stand on the sideline as a “high school prospect” when the 1942 national championship team met Alabama in Atlanta. And how he nervously ate his way through almost an entire bag of oranges as Georgia beat Auburn for the SEC title in 1959 — a tale that seemed to resonate with quite a few readers who’ve mentioned it to me over the years.

It was a burial befitting a lifelong Bulldog, and not just because of the beautiful plant bedecked with a red and black ribbon, sent by the UGA gymnastics program, on whose booster club board my brother Jon sits. We also left the Georgia “G” pin in its longtime spot in the lapel of the gray suit Pop was buried in, and at my brother Tim’s suggestion a red Georgia cap was placed by Pop’s side — in recognition of his trademark at the assisted living home that was his residence for the last three years of his life after my Mom died. Dad wore UGA’s colors proudly just about every day.

As I’m sure many of you know, it’s not easy losing a parent, even one who’s lived a full and useful life for 89 years. But Dad’s last week, spent at the wonderful St. Mary’s Hospice House in Athens surrounded by three generations of his loving family, was an incredibly uplifting experience. He knew we were there and that we loved him and were proud of him. And he told us how much he loved us. The room was full of family photos, and pinned up on the memory board by my niece Jennifer was one of Pop’s favorite red Georgia caps. We played his favorite music nonstop and at times he even tried to sing along as my daughter Olivia or my other nieces, Missy and Caroline, held his hand. He was comfortable and at peace.

As my son Bill, another of Dad’s namesakes, told the assembled mourners at First Baptist in eulogizing his beloved grandfather on Wednesday, “It was the ending he deserved. Amazing grace. How sweet the sound.”

What more can you ask for in leaving this life?

Now, for me, it’s back to writing about the Georgia Bulldogs that Pop loved so much.

Wednesday’s recruiting class perhaps didn’t rock the recruitniks’ world quite as hard as last year’s Dream Team, but it appeared to do a pretty good job of fitting the needs of the program — at least, before three misbehaving freshman got the boot Thursday.

Yeah, another offensive lineman or wide receiver would have been great, and depth might be a future issue in the secondary, but sometimes timing and momentum are what signing day buzz is all about. Had Keith Marshall, Todd Gurley and John Theus waited until the last minute to join Josh Harvey-Clemons in committing to UGA, we’d be talking about what a tremendous closer Mark Richt is, and the class Marshall has hopefully dubbed the “Ring Team” might well have been hailed along the lines of last year’s signees. As it is, ESPN still ranked it the nation’s fifth-best recruiting class.

As for this week’s dismissals from the team, I have to admit I’m more than a little disappointed that we won’t get to see whether Nick Marshall would have grown into the potential two-way star we thought he could be. But I’m proud that Richt has shown once again that, unlike some SEC coaches past and present, he acts decisively when players go too far in a way that could hurt the team. The punishment was swift and sure. The offending players are gone. Period.

I think my father, with his unwavering belief in always doing the right thing, no matter how inconvenient it is or how much it hurts, would approve.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

120 comments Add your comment

daslicksta

February 4th, 2012
10:12 am

A Great man, who had a lovely bride, and raised 3 fine sons…R.I.P. Mr. and Mrs. King…

31-17 Dawgs STILL Run This State!

February 4th, 2012
10:13 am

Great story Bill.

Go Dawgs! GATA!

huntdawg

February 4th, 2012
10:15 am

Bill sorry for your loss and it is true time will ease all pain. go dawgs!!

ARdawg

February 4th, 2012
10:18 am

Our condolences Bill

Bill King

February 4th, 2012
10:19 am

Thanks, Slick! And a heartfelt thank you on behalf of my entire family for the many kind thoughts and prayers offered up on Facebook and elsewhere the past couple of weeks. It meant a lot to us.

Dawg Haus

February 4th, 2012
10:21 am

Sounds like he went out exactly how he should have- surrounded by the people and things that he loved so dearly. We’re so sorry to hear of your family’s loss, Bill, but may your father always be remembered for the great man, and Dawg, that he was.

Go Dawgs!

DawginCLT

February 4th, 2012
10:23 am

as usual, your perspective is right on point. sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Sounds like he was a great man and DGD.

Go Dawgs.

Huntsville Dawg

February 4th, 2012
10:25 am

Bill, we mourn your loss, too, brother…
Love the burying him with the pin. We buried my grandfather with a UGA tie and his white chorded one ear piece radio tuned to WSB 750.
I could care less if we ever have a NC under Richt’s tenure knowing that he is a man of his word, doesn’t manipulate kids with “grey shirts” and disciplines instead of selling out to keep kids on the team. He’s my coach and I’m dang proud to have a man of his character and ethics…
Tuscaloosa can’t say that. But they don’t care who he runs over, uses and lies to as long as they get to line up at Walmart for a new shirt with a new number on it.(that’s called comprimising your values to get what you want boys…that you can’t deny)

BuzztheKiller

February 4th, 2012
10:27 am

Bill- Condolences from a Tech grad on the loss of your Dad.

GDawg

February 4th, 2012
10:35 am

Sorry for you loss Bill, and you are right on with your points we all loved what Marshall brought to the table but you can’t keep a vampire.

CARLTON POWELL

February 4th, 2012
10:40 am

Agree all of us in attendance share the joy and sadness of saying goodbye to “Big Bill” King last Wednesday. Let me say once again, what an honor it was be asked to serve as pallbearer for a man I have know since I was 4 years old. As has been well chronicled, “Big Bill” was the ultimate Bulldog fan. And I cannot forget how, even in the dark days of the Braves, he could always be found listening to Milo Hamilton describe yet another Brave loss.
And from another personal note, my father in law, Bob Harden, was an associate of “Big Bill’s” at the old C&S Bank. They played golf together at The Athens Country Club on the weekends. Bob recalls, with much joy, how “Big Bill” would carefully set the pipe he smoked aside on the tee box, then split the fairway with a tee shot of about 240 yds. It is a treasure that both my immediate and extended family is intertwined with the King’s. “Big Bill” was always “Big Bill” to me since the writer of this blog was “young Bill,” and now we have “Bill 3,” “young Bills” son, so the legacy continues. And a fine one at that.

Fridawg

February 4th, 2012
10:41 am

Thanks for sharing your dad’s story. It’s a blessing to read about your love and admiration for your father. I’m very sorry for your loss, but glad to see you back on the Blawg. We missed you!

BigDaddy

February 4th, 2012
10:41 am

Sorry for your loss. May the Dawgs win one in honor of your Dad.

JaxDawg05

February 4th, 2012
10:45 am

Great story, Bill. So glad you and your family got to enjoy the last days with your Dad.

Bill King

February 4th, 2012
10:53 am

Thanks, Carl. It really meant a lot for us that you were willing to do that for my Dad.

cnj

February 4th, 2012
10:54 am

Bill-To lose a parent who has been a faithful and good role model is so difficult. Your family is obviously strong and loving. What a blessing! I know there will be a huge hole in your heart and family as well as many rich memories. …my deepest sympathy in your loss. Your article stirred within me deep emotions and memories of my own dear father and his influence.. Thanks for sharing with your readers those precious last experiences with you dad.

Dawg Goneit

February 4th, 2012
10:58 am

You’re a good guy, Bill.

Best Wishes

SatchelBuzz

February 4th, 2012
10:59 am

Bill,….So sorry for your loss. Prayers lifted for you and your family.

59bulldawg

February 4th, 2012
11:02 am

My condolences to you and your family Bill. I wish I could say I had the privilege of meeting him.

jfmurrah

February 4th, 2012
11:05 am

Sounds like your dad created a legacy. You do a mighty fine job keeping the legacy alive by sharing these stories about UGA and your dad. You really know how to lay it out. I’m looking forward to many many years of getting fired up by the blawg.

At

February 4th, 2012
11:12 am

Bill very sorry for your loss. I lost my dad 12 years ago and it still hurts everyday. During this time depend on your family and friends now and just try to keep your head up.

LawDawg86

February 4th, 2012
11:17 am

Touching story, Bill. Sounds like you have a family of DGDs. Thanks for all you do!

Chris

February 4th, 2012
11:20 am

Enter your comments here

Chris

February 4th, 2012
11:21 am

Prayers go out to you in your family. I’m glad he was a dawg to the end.

R.I.P.

Malinda

February 4th, 2012
11:21 am

I am sorry for your loss! Your Dad sounded like a special person!! I have the obituary from our “Oglethorpe echo” if you want me to mail it to you. Just e-mail me your mailing address. Malinda.section 104.

Dawgs97

February 4th, 2012
11:24 am

Bill, a great tribute to your dad – appreciate you sharing the story with us. It sounds as though your family honored him in the way that would have made him proud. Sounds like a DGD to me.

Regarding the dismissals, yes, ultimately we can’t have guys negatively affecting the team like that – but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say our secondary is in deep trouble this year. Any team we play with a top flight Quarterback should be able to throw on us & now covering that new 6-6 WR recruit Missouri just landed has become that much more challenging. This is tough to have happen with so much high hopes for this year.

(I think it’s safe to say we won’t be redshirting Shelden Dawson).

minnesota dawg

February 4th, 2012
11:38 am

Bill, I grieve over your loss. Lot’s of great memories that you will cherish and pass on to your children. Have you seen that new running back from NC? He’s a dog now and boy can he turn on the after burners when he get’s open. Go to espn to their college football section. Watch the video on him.

RedandBLackDAWG

February 4th, 2012
11:50 am

Bill, God bless you and your family as you go through this very sorry time in your life,

I never knew my real father, but I laid the man to rest that I considered my dad, almost 5 1/2 years ago. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. He taught me everything I needed to know to get through my early years and instilled values in me, that I was able to use though out my
life.

whatya got loren

February 4th, 2012
11:51 am

My condolences Mr. King. I’ll continue to pray for you and your family. I really appreciate your heart felt articles.

Kinda the Munson of type. God Bless and Go DAWGS!

JRW7

February 4th, 2012
12:07 pm

BILL, my thoughts and prayers to you and the KING family.

SiddyBoy

February 4th, 2012
12:10 pm

I can relate to your story Bill. Always difficult when we lose a parent but your comment “at peace” is eternal not temporal.

aarh

February 4th, 2012
12:12 pm

Sorry for your loss Mr. King. My prayers are w/ u & your family.

DC Dawg

February 4th, 2012
12:13 pm

By condolences to the King family and may Big Bill King continue to cheer on them Dawgs from heaven! Maybe he’ll have a word with the big guy and get some bounces to go Georgia’s way!

Dawg24

February 4th, 2012
12:39 pm

Bill, It sounds like a big part of your dad lives in you. Yes, I miss my dad as well. You will definitely be on my prayer list. GOD BLESS and GO DAWGS!

Joey

February 4th, 2012
12:40 pm

The title could have been used to describe my dad, also, Bill, who lived long enough to finally see another SEC Title in ‘02.

Sorry for your loss.

Dawg98

February 4th, 2012
12:47 pm

Bill, many condolensces to you and your family. God Bless!

Steve Osborne

February 4th, 2012
12:50 pm

Condolences Bill…..we will miss another great Dawg fan !!! RIP Mr.King!

anotherdawg

February 4th, 2012
1:11 pm

So sorry Bill; I lost my mom Nov 29. May God bless you and your family!

buzzDawg

February 4th, 2012
1:34 pm

Bill – Very sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was a great dad and great Dawg fan. You could not ask for much more.

DostaDawg

February 4th, 2012
1:44 pm

Bill, my prayers are with you and your family. I lost my dad on January 12th. I still have the urge to pick up the phone and call him. Take comfort in the fact that our dads are now in a better place where there is no pain or sorrow, only the love of our savior, Jesus.

Dawgdad (The Original)

February 4th, 2012
1:44 pm

Bill, sorry about losing your father, we need more Bulldogs in this state, but I guess Heaven needs a few as well. I’m sure Larry was up there giving him the picture.

jj

February 4th, 2012
2:20 pm

Sorry for the loss Bill. Just remember Dawg fans don’t really die, they just move
up to better seats.

DawginTX

February 4th, 2012
2:44 pm

Bill, what a beautiful column and a great way to honor your dad. Condolences to you and the entire King family.

Dawg4Life

February 4th, 2012
3:51 pm

My condolences Bill. I too lost my Dad three weeks ago, he was 82. I understand and know what you are going through. Lets hope we have our discipline problems over for the year. I have been real impressed with how Keith Marshall has carried himself in the interviews to date. Go Dawgs lets hunker down in 2012!!!

teewest

February 4th, 2012
3:51 pm

Bill my esteemed feline sidekick Clyde Boogie and myself self give you andyour Dad a hearty salute!!!! As we are faithful readers of your blog.

dawggirl

February 4th, 2012
3:56 pm

Bill, I am so sorry for your loss. This was a wonderful tribute column to your dad, and may your memories comfort you and be for blessing. A true Dawg fan, he certainly was that.

SSIgator

February 4th, 2012
4:06 pm

Bill, I Know the feeling all too well. It is never easy losing one that you love, especially if that person is a parent. It certainly puts all of this college football rah-rah in perspective with life. Like a priest once told me, from the minute we are born, we begin the process of coming to the end of our lives. All one can hope for is that they are ready for that day when it arrives. On a side note, if that is you in the background of that picture, you might want to consider cutting back on the fried food and deserts. Your sons will thank you for it.

ATL_AU_FAN

February 4th, 2012
4:45 pm

Bill — So very sorry for this loss to you and your family. While we may always be on opposing sides when it comes to our respective favorite teams, I nonetheless offer thoughts and prayers during this time. A very nice article of which your dad, I’m sure, would be proud.

Jacket99

February 4th, 2012
4:53 pm

My condolences, Bill. Very sorry for your loss.

mlee

February 4th, 2012
4:57 pm

Bill – I was touched by your story. I hope happy memories of your dad will sustain you! Go Dawgs!!