Jack Donald King Jr. (Sign Guestbook)

KNOXVILLE, TN – Jack Donald (Don) King, Jr. fell asleep in the Lord Jesus Christ, filled with the peace of God and surrounded by his beloved family on April 23, 2019. Don suffered from pulmonary fibrosis, which progressed rapidly in the last month of his life. Don was born to Jack Donald King Sr. and Romelda Pyle King on June 9, 1947, in Kingsport, TN. He is survived by the love of his life, Linda Zirkle King, one brother, David Lynn King (wife, Mitzi) of Greenbrier, TN; three children and seven grandchildren: Jenny King Neeley (husband, Blake, and daughters, Elizabeth and Anna Katherine) of Hendersonville; Whitney King Reidinger (husband, Josh, and daughters, Ellen and Camille, and foster son, J.C. Davis) of Birmingham; Jack Donald King, III (wife, Emily, and daughter, Madeleine, and son, Colin) of Knoxville.

Don was a graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan University, and he served on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater for several years until the time of his death. He was enthusiastic about development of the Health Sciences department and highly engaged in expansion of nursing technologies. Don received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis in 1971. He began practicing medicine in Roane County and eventually established Knoxville Medical Center in 1985, where his practice of primary care extended to the occupational community. His joy in medicine was the development of strong relationships with patients, staff and community. He was known among both medical colleagues and patients as a skilled diagnostician, which shaped his medical practice. Don practiced wise medical care by focusing on the prevention and early detection of diseases. Likewise, he helped his patients prolong their lives, helping them to manage any known conditions.

Music was an essential part of Don’s life. From his early teens he began directing a church choir. This expression of music through conducting became a central theme in his life. Don’s leadership with choirs in several area churches spanned decades. Additionally, he organized and led three community choral organizations from 1971 to the present. His energies were poured into the formation and development of Knoxville Handel Society in 2017, which he co-founded with longtime friend Wendell Boertje. Amidst his many interests, Don also found great joy supporting the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tennessee Vols.

Don was a vibrant visionary who dreamed things and made them happen by attention to details and exceptional organizational abilities. He was a motivator of people, with contagious enthusiasm and energy. Optimism propelled his purpose, whether treating patients, planning choral programs, connecting with friends, or planning exciting trips for his family. He endeared himself to people by his strong loyalty and compassion in times of difficulty. He was extensively involved in the lives of his children, and especially grandchildren, who knew him as Pop. He created countless memories by coaching sports, encouraging music study, and just being present in special moments. Don’s impact was profound and, while he will be missed, memories of him will endure.

The King family will receive friends on Tuesday, April 30th, from 4:30-6:30pm at First Baptist Church in downtown Knoxville. A memorial service in celebration of Don’s life will follow the receiving of friends at First Baptist Church on Tuesday, April 30th, at 7:00 p.m., officiated by his son, Jack King, rector of Apostles Anglican Church, and family friend, Aaron Wright, rector of Old North Abbey. A graveside ceremony for the family will be held on Wednesday morning at Oak Grove Cemetery in Rockwood. Gentry Griffey in Knoxville is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Knoxville Handel Society at 1921 Belcaro Drive, Knoxville, TN 37918. Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the King family and invites you to view and sign the online registry below.

33 guestbook entries for “Jack Donald King Jr.”:

  1. Linda Whittaker says:

    Praying for comfort for Linda and the entire King family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you during this time as you remember the special times with Don.

  2. Michael and Beth Sykes says:

    Wish we could come and celebrate Don’s life with you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. May God continue to be with you.

  3. Carolyn Phibbs (Cox formerly) says:

    There were only two church choral directors that made a difference in my life and Don was one of them. I so enjoyed the time I spent with him on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings at Powell United Methodist Church as the church pianist. He made me open up to different styles of music that so enriched my life. Don realized my reluctance at first to go beyond my typical Southern Baptist style of music. However, he persisted in my education and I was able to take my “blinders” off and try new territories. That’s what made Don special. He did not give up on anyone. His caring and compassion made me want to try and do better. He demanded excellence and even when I was lacking he just smiled, knowing I’d dig in and follow him on the choral worship journey. God had a plan for him while he was with us and I’m sure his plans for Don now are far bigger than you and I can imagine.

    Linda, Jack and family: Don will be missed by all that passed through his life. My prayers and thoughts are with you all…..

  4. Joe & Patsy Mode says:

    We are so sorry to hear of the loss of this wonderful man. He was such a blessing to so many people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his precious family, that we love dearly.

  5. Carl & Faye Benjamin says:

    Jack, Linda and family, we are so sorry for your loss. He was such a talented man and a friend of K.F.C.N. His service there will always be remembered. I always considered him to be my friend and supporter with the children’s ministry and the choir. Knoxville has lost a multi-talented man. Our thoughts and prayers are for his precious loving family.

  6. Judy Cates says:

    Prayers and sympathy to the King family. Thankful that Don passed through my life. A talented and good man.

  7. Jeanne Tapp says:

    So sorry to hear of Don’s death. I fondly remember Tennessee Wesleyan Days. Jeanne and Bill Tapp

  8. Mike Hueser says:

    Linda and the entire King family is in my thoughts and prayers during this time. Wish I could be there to give you all a hug.

  9. Lee Ann Johnson says:

    To Linda and all the King family, I am so deeply sorry for your loss of a fine man in Don. He knew how to direct choirs so much to make them want to sing and enjoy the music he would teach us even if we thought we could never learn it much less sing the piece. Then when we did he would say, see I knew all along you could learn it and sing it. He made it his mission to help people enjoy different facits of music and show new ways to make others thrilled to hear it and listen to it. Praying for all of your family during this time.

  10. Lucille Shreve says:

    My heart hurts for you, his closest loved ones, and for his many, many friends. He was a well loved man who gave love to others in so many ways. Even though we grieve we also rejoice in his well deserved heavenly reward. His heart and soul were full of God while he was here on earth and now he is able to experience God’s presence in sublime love for eternity. My love and prayers are with you all!

  11. Laura DiFatta says:

    I am a friend of Whitney’s and have been privileged to know Don through her stories. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers as you celebrate his life and grieve him with the hope of Christ.

  12. Janey and John Sterchi says:

    We were devastated to learn of Dons death. We will miss his sweet smile and happy personality. Elk River will not be the the same without him. Our love to Linda and his family.

  13. Heather Lawson says:

    So wish I could attend this celebration of Life for Dr. King. He was a great man and he taught me so much! He will be dearly missed and I cherish the time I spent with him. Prayers to you, Linda, and all of your family. I know he will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.

  14. Greg Johnson says:

    Jack and family,
    We grieve your loss and celebrate your joy and proper pride in a life lived well, an abundant life filled with joy. What a legacy Don left, for those who knew him well and those of us who learned his love from those to whom he was so devoted. Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of Don King.

  15. F. Michael Combs says:

    I spent many many years working with Don – playing in his orchestra and, most recently, contracting and arranging for the musicians he wanted to accompany his performances. I had conversation with him just days before he died when he was still asking for me to attend to some details of the Handel program. The last things I remember him saying – and what I will always remember – is “Mike, you are so much like me.” We both were detail driven and focused on getting things done so that is one of the reasons (along with many) that we got along so well.
    To the family – please let me know if there is anything I can do.

  16. Catherine Washburn says:

    Linda and Family,
    You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this time. Don touched our family’s heart at Elk River. He was one of the first members to welcome our Family on the golf course. We exchanged many long conversations about golf as he would cheer our daughter on with his wisdom and his warm smile. We will miss him dearly, he has touched us and our daughters heart in a profound way. We will carry his spirit with us were ever we are.

  17. Mark Lusby says:

    Linda and family. I am sorry for your loss. Don had a great influence on my life after joining FCUMC and having the opportunity to be a part of the choir . Don was an excellent choir director, a very dedicated Christian and overall a very good man. Lifting you up in prayer during this difficult time.

    Mark Lusby

  18. Ray and Dolores Wolfe says:

    Remembering your beautiful family and all the special photo shoots we had through the years – we will miss Don – I can hardly believe he isn’t with us ! God bless ✝️

  19. Roger Wright says:

    We are so sorry for your loss are thoughts and prayers are with you and the family I’m going to miss Don I’ve worked for him for many years and become good friends over the years.

  20. Ben K says:

    God Bless the entire King family.

  21. Debbie Davis says:

    So sorry to hear of Dr. King’s passing. From our conversations I know he was a Christian and will remember the King family in my prayers.

  22. Kenton Page says:

    Our family is deeply saddened with your loss of Don . The community has lost a wonderful friend to many, and we have lost a multi-talented person. I well remember the wonderful music at Fountain City United Methodist Church for over 20 years, and also I remember many softball, baseball, and basketball games during the time when our children were growing into adults. More recently I bumped into him at Chic-Fil-A in the morning, and we would exchange greetings. Thank you for sharing Don with the community as he went about the passions of his life. It can truly be said that the world is a better place because he came our way and touched so many lives in so many different ways. I am sure that the music of the Heavenly Choir has gotten much better since his arrival there. You will continue to be in our prayers as you reflect on the “Precious Memories” that he left with you. All your pictures & videos are now a priceless treasure.

    • Linda Z King says:

      Thank you, Kenton, for this beautiful tribute. Touches my heart! So many memories layered among church, community and family. He was an extraordinary man. He loved well.

  23. Vicky Cavin Inger says:

    I grew up in Kingsport and Jack King was our pastor at Golda Memorial United Methodist Church. Don and I were in the youth choir together and his mother was our director. Later when I taught in Harriman he gave me a physical for school when he was in practice there. Later I saw him one more time a few years ago. He was a wonderful person when he was younger and all of his life. He was so talented in so many ways and shared his vision and talents with so many. I am privileged to have known him.

  24. Katy Beeler says:

    Don King would come eat at Litton’s for a long time. I have seen him come in To eat on many Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. I’m sure he came in several times. I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of this man. Wishing the family condolences. PRAYERS TO ALL.

  25. Danny Hays M.D. says:

    A fellow physician who served his church, family, friends and a significant member of TWC board of trustees. Don worked and contributed to his alma matre greatly working for the TWC nursing programs. He will be greatly missed.

  26. Steve byrum says:

    Phyllis and I met Don when he moved to Athens for his senior year in high school. As hard as that move must have been, he immediately made new friends that would remember him fondly over a lifetime. We reclaimed our friendship across the last three years we were in Wesleyan together. He was smart, uniquely talented in everything musical, and was—without question—one of the bright spots of the entire campus. Over the years, we would cross paths in Athens or Knoxville, and take up conversations like we had been talking just the day before. I loved the way it was always so easy to be around Don. In the past several years, we were on the TWU board together, and we always found a way to sit together and share old and new times. He gave unselfishly of his time and wisdom to our beloved college. Don will always have a warm place in our memories. It was an honor and pleasure to have him as a part of our lives. We wish the very best for Linda and all of Don’s family. Phyllis and Steve Byrum

  27. Bill and Sarah Greene says:

    Don’s impact over the years as a friend, physician, and choir director will be missed by both of us. Condolences in this loss to all of his family.

    Bill and Sarah Greene

  28. William “Harry” Sherrod says:

    What a Great Godly Man, Father and GrandFather, and Friend !

    KNOXVILLE was so blessed with his life!

    William “Harry” Sherrod

  29. Sharon and David Gerkin says:

    Stunned to hear of Don’s passing. We go back as friends a long time, to Tennessee Wesleyan days. He has always been an energetic, talented and spirited individual. He will be missed by so many. Our condolences and love during this time to Linda and the entire family. I am so sorry that we are out to town and will be unable to attend the funeral to express our love in person.

  30. Bob Davis says:

    So sorry about your loss. Don was a great friend. Suzanne and I are currently out of the country and will not return until Wednesday Bob

  31. Melissa Brandon says:

    Dear Linda and family, I know the angelic choir in Heaven celebrated Don’s arrival even as you and your family are left to mourn his passing. My prayers are for comfort and peace, knowing this is a temporary absence until you are reunited in Heaven. The years of family adventures and other memories will sustain you. I weep with you during this sad time and yet rejoice that you have comfort in knowing Don is healed! Alleluia. Alleluia. And Alleluia!

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