SUNY Canton is mourning the loss of the founder of the College’s air conditioning engineering technology program.
Professor Emeritus Harry E. King, Class of 1940, taught at SUNY Canton for 37 years and remained active with the College as part of the Alumni Board of Directors until passing away early on Monday, July 26, 2010. He was 90 years old.
“Harry King was one of the College’s biggest supporters and advocates for nearly 70 years,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “We’re lucky to have his legacy live on in so many of us. He touched the lives of everyone around him and we are grateful for the impression he left on our community as a student, professor, mentor and friend.”
Mr. King, who grew up in Redwood, N.Y., graduated in 1940 from the College with a degree in technical electricity. During the next six years, he worked for the George H. Hyde Plumbing and Contracting Co. in Ogdensburg and married Wilda “Willie” Barton King in 1943. Mrs. King, who also worked for a time at SUNY Canton, predeceased her husband in August 2008 just after the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
He returned to his alma mater in 1946 and started what was then the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program (HVAC). One of the most profound ways Mr. King influenced SUNY Canton was teaching, developing a wonderfully crafted air conditioning program that prepared students for successful careers in the field.
“After his family, I think his greatest love was teaching young people,” said Ronald L. Woodcock, who served as co-chair of SUNY Canton’s Centennial Campaign and was a 1959 graduate of Mr. King’s program. “He took trips to Syracuse with students to show us job opportunities, set up job interviews and see interesting HVAC projects. He exposed his students to the real world of the heating and air conditioning industry, and we are thankful for his dedication in helping all of us achieve much during our lives.”
That sentiment was evident in 2008 when alumni, family and friends of Mr. King came together early in the year and raised enough funds to name the new air conditioning laboratory after him.
“The efforts of nearly 200 people coming forward and raising over $150,000 to name the laboratory after Mr. King is perhaps the greatest tribute I know that expresses how Harry influenced so many lives,” said SUNY Canton Vice President for Advancement David M. Gerlach. “It illustrates the impact he had on all of us and the Harry E. King Air Conditioning Engineering Technology Laboratory now serves as a constant reminder of his continued generosity and passion for SUNY Canton.”
Mr. King was honored by SUNY Canton several times throughout his life, including being named Distinguished Alumnus in 1979 and Distinguished Faculty two years later.
The year of his retirement, 1983, was commemorated by the campus and the students with the yearbook being named in his honor. Alumni also honored his retirement by establishing ‘The Harry E. King Scholarship’ that same year in recognition of his long devotion to the College and to his caring interest in the many students he taught throughout his tenure.
In 2003, SUNY Canton recognized Mr. King’s continued dedication and commitment to the College by naming the annual Honors Convocation after him.
A long time resident of Canton, Mr. King was also an active member in the local community. He served as a volunteer board member for United Helpers Nursing Home for 25 years. Earlier in July, he was awarded Emeritus status by the organization in Ogdensburg and celebrated for his outstanding commitment to its mission and vision.
His family remains in the Canton area, including his three daughters and two sons-in-law, Barbara King, JoAnne and James Danehy ’65, and Martha ’74 & ’78 and Peter MacArthur, as well as four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, at the First Presbyterian Church of Canton with Rev. Michael P. Catanzaro officiating. Calling hours will be Wednesday from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Lawrence Funeral Home, Canton, where a Masonic Service will be held on Wednesday evening at 7:45 p.m. Burial will be held privately in the Redwood Cemetery.
Those desiring may send memorial contributions to: Harry E. King Scholarship, SUNY Canton College Foundation, Canton, NY or to the First Presbyterian Church of Canton, 17 Park Street, Canton, NY or United Helpers Maplewood Campus, State Street, Canton, NY 13617.
Mr. King’s full obituary can be found at: http://northcountrynow.com/obituaries/harry-e-king-90-canton.