Francis M. King, an avid outdoorsman who loved his guns, died Wednesday, December 5, 2012 in the El Dorado Springs Healthcare Center of congestive heart failure. He was 93.
He moved from Cape Fair, Mo., to El Dorado Springs, Mo., in 1994 along with his wife, Nina Ruth King, who died March 9, 2012.
Francis, a decorated World War II veteran, was born June 29, 1919, in Laclede, Mo., to Frank and Ethel King. He is survived by a daughter, Judy L. Sands of Grandview, Mo., two grandchildren, Rick Sands and Cheryl Carson, both of Topeka, Kan., along with five great-grandchildren, Christopher and Matthew Carson and Jessi, Jenna and Jared Sands.
Francis was a long-time member of the Masons and enjoyed his close association with fellow members. He was Worshipful Master of the Galena Lodge in 1968.
He first joined the Army in 1937 at Ft. Riley, Kan., serving in Cavalry B Troop. He got out in March 1939, after marrying Nina Ruth Jackson on Feb. 11, 1939. He was drafted then sworn in to the Army June 16, 1944. He went to Ft. Hood, Texas, for basic training before being shipped overseas in November to fight in World War II.
He joined the 318th Infantry 80th Division (Blue Ridge Mountain Division) and was assigned to the Third Army. He was shot Christmas Day 1944 while walking toward Bastogne, Belgium. He was awarded the Purple Heart. Ten days later he was back on the firing line. On January 29, 1945, he was hit by shrapnel and was in the hospital until May 1945. He received the Bronze Oakleaf Cluster. After being discharged from the hospital, he was sent to France to oversee German prisoners building bridges. He received an honorable discharge in March 1946.
After the Army, he rejoined his family in Chillicothe, Mo., before moving to Weatherby Lake near Parkville, Mo., in 1953. He loved fishing and hunting and felt the urge to move to Cape Fair on the James River arm of Table Rock Lake. He picked out the site before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooded the area and he and his wife built and ran Pebble Beach Resort.
While he enjoyed fishing, his true love was hunting and shooting his varied and sundry shotguns. During the CB craze, his handle was easy, the Crow Hunter.
While in Cape Fair, he and Ruth joined Cape Fair Baptist Church where he was a deacon and spent many hours helping with construction and refurbishing the church structure. He did most of the stone work on the church.
While in El Dorado Springs, they became active members of the Speedwell Baptist Church.