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Jul 1, 2016 7:36 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Richard 'Tate' King Dies June 29

Jul 4, 2016 11:21 AM

Richard “Tate” King (Tate), a 12th generation East Ender died on June 29 at his home at his North Sea farm in Southampton. He was surrounded by his children and caregiver, Julie. He was 90 years old.

Mr. King was born on March 30, 1926 in Southampton to Stanley and Julia Powers King. He spent his childhood years growing up in Amagansett before moving to the Dimon farm on Flying Point Road in Southampton in 1931. Mr. King attended Southampton public schools, graduating with the Class of 1944. He was an all-around athlete, but his main passion was baseball. His friends commented that he had the talent to be a major leaguer, but he couldn’t quite overcome being 5 feet 2 1/2 inches tall.

He also loved to act, playing the lead role in his high school play, “Behind the Eight Ball.” He said he played a wild kid and didn’t even have to act. He also acted in many holiday plays at the First Presbyterian Church. Eleven days out of high school, Mr. King was drafted and served during World War II. He was assigned to the First Cavalry in the Philippines and spent time in northern Japan at the war’s end. Mr. King was discharged in 1949 with the rank of Staff Sergeant. At the war’s end Mr. King returned to Southampton and worked with his father and brothers on the North Sea Farm which his father Stanley King purchased in 1945. He ran the farm upon his father’s death in 1957.

After the war, Mr. King and his high school ball players got back together and played on the championship softball team “The Anchors.” During that period of his life, he met the love of his life, Millie, who was a nursing student at the Southampton Nursing School. In 1952, they were married and settled in the home at North Sea Farm in Southampton. They raised their four children, Richard, Karin, Kevin and Kathleen, in the same home.

During his children’s formative years Mr. King worked the dairy farm as his wife Millie worked as a private duty nurse. He was one of the first “stay at home” dads, working the farm all day and keeping an eye on his children as they played (at least that’s what he called it). The farm also had 5,000 chickens at that time, and Mr. King delivered fresh eggs to residential and commercial customers for many years.

Mr. King was active in the Southampton community, serving as a North Sea firefighter for 56 years. During his tenure in the fire department, he served as treasurer, a member of the board of directors and was a two-term fire commissioner. In addition, he was the athletic field director, where he established the baseball fields on the North Sea community property.

However, his proudest accomplishment was as chairman of the North Sea Fire Department Scholarship fund, an award made to a fire district high school graduate every year. His family has many fond memories of his years as a firefighter, where many lifelong friendships were made.

Mr. King was also active in the First Presbyterian Church, where he was an ordained deacon and a member of the board of trustees. Mr. King was also very active in the Boy Scout community. He became the committee chairman of Troop 11 in Southampton in 1959, a position he held for more than 25 years. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts enjoyed their camps on his farm for many years. He was awarded many District Scouter awards and also received one of the highest Scout service awards, the “Silver Beaver,” in 1976.

Mr. King was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He participated in many community outreach programs always offering meals and assistance to those less fortunate. Mr. King always gave credit to the Reverand John Felmeth as one of the most significant inspirational people in his life. Mr. Felmeth’s first wedding at the First Presbyterian church was Mr. and Mrs. King's in 1952.

Mr. King loved his country foremost, and always looked out for the needs of others. With his twinkling eyes and great smile he was always available for wise counsel, family recalled. Mr. King helped many people solve their problems just by listening, on his bench during his retirement years, or over carrying pails of milk during his farming years.

In addition to being a wonderful father to his children, his family recalled, he was a surrogate dad, mentor and friend to the hundreds of young people that worked at his farm over the past decades. He loved a good joke and maintained his wit right up until the end of his life. He loved his family most; always proud of their accomplishments no matter how major or minor. "Tate" was the namesake of his daughter Kathleen's Tate's Bakeshop Company. He always commented that he was the richest man in Southampton because the love of his family could not be purchased. There was never a stranger at the King house, his family said.

Mr. King was predeceased by his parents, his three brothers, Stanley (Sam), Truman and Calvin, and recently by his wife Millie.

Mr. King is survived by his sons Richard and wife Robin of Southampton and Kevin and wife Claudette of Yorktown, Virginia; and daughters Karin Driscoll and husband, Paul, of Bloomfield, New York, and Kathleen and husband Zvi Friedman of Water Mill. Mr. King is also survived by eight grandchildren: Christina Fouser and her husband Mike of Rochester, Brad King and his wife Nancy Sim of New York City, Julia King of Greenport, Nate Driscoll and his fiancée Kay Cotton, and Kara Miller and her husband John of Victor, New York, Clark King of Richmond, Virginia, Kyle King of Charlottesville, Virginia, Justin Friedman of New York City; one great grandchild, Harper Tate Miller, a sister-in-law, Margie King of Dalton, Pennsylvania, his nieces Caroline Tighe of West Haven, Connecticut, Robin Hawthorne of Dalton, Pennsylvania, Peggy Fezza of Water Mill, his nephews Tom King of Rockville Center, Tim King of Audobon, Pennsylvania, Sean King of Water Mill, Tate King of Scranton, Pennsylvania, his sisters-in-law Cordelia Keegan of Stratford, Connecticut, and Marge King of Dalton, Pennsylvania, along with their families and many close friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the North Sea Fire Department Scholarship Fund, The Boy Scouts of America, The Food Pantry of Human Resources of the Hamptons, the First Presbyterian Church of Southampton, and the Peconic Land Trust.

Visitation will be held at the Brockett Funeral Home on Tuesday, July 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday, July 6, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 7, at the First Presbyterian Church in Southampton at 10 a.m. The family invites all to attend a celebration reception after the service at the North Sea Firehouse at 149 Noyac Road.

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A fond farewell to one of North Sea's finest.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jul 3, 16 12:20 PM
This marks the end of an era. We have lost the patriarch of a family which continues to exemplify what made this area so desirable. Sadly, there is little left here that even approaches the qualities that men like Mr. King brought to our community.
By Arnold Timer (326), Sag Harbor on Jul 3, 16 11:08 PM
A true man of the community...
By knitter (1850), Southampton on Jul 4, 16 9:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
Southampton has lost a true patriarch, not just of the King family but of his entire community.
By InnerBay (71), Southampton on Jul 5, 16 8:36 AM
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