Jason King of the Shinnecock Nation died on April 28 in a car accident. He was 33.
Born on July 1, 1978, to Martha and Robert King Jr., he attended Southampton public schools and attended Five Towns College, majoring in music production. Raised on the Reservation, according to survivors, his days were filled with school activities, sports, playing with his friends, and yes, getting into trouble. Whenever something happened in the community, they said, his mom was sure to ask “Where’s Jason?”
In his later years, Mr. King, known as “Tek,” put his talent to work. His artistic flair and promotion of strong cultural values was evident in his Evitan (Native backwards) Couture clothing line. He was so proud of his powwow stand last year, making sure he was fully stocked with different styles of his T-shirts, original styled wampum jewelry, and his signature abstract Native-themed paintings. Some of his designs seemed haunting yet beautiful and gave subtle hints into what he was feeling at the time of the painting.
His custom Chevrolets were a big part of his life. He was known for having his cars repainted over and over, and only after his careful scrutiny did they pass muster. He was meticulous in their upkeep and made sure they were clean and ready for show at any given time.
Mr. King founded the Young Men of Shinnecock with co-director Tony Robinson. The organization was formed for the benefit of providing an outlet for the young men of Shinnecock to have educational opportunities, positive activities and camaraderie. He was also a member of the Shinnecock Warriors Society. He was elected to Tribal Council in 2010, a proud day in his life and for his family. He provided very detailed council trip reports and was excited to report on the day-to-day activities.
Known as a mentor, a friend, a practical joker, and a warrior, survivors recalled, beneath the sometimes hard exterior was a loving man. A man who would take in stray animals, a man who loved nature, a man who traditionally danced and sweated for his loved ones, a man who created his own boundaries, a man who had one of the biggest smiles, a man who liked to travel.
Mr. King was predeceased by his mother, Martha J. King. He is survived by his father, Robert King; a brother, Randy and his wife Nora; a sister, Apryl King; aunts, Barbara Gregory, Lillian Gardner, and Christine King; uncles, Robert Gregory and Dennis King; and his girlfriend of eight years, Natahne Dennis.
He is also survived by goddaughters Tationa, Kenya and Nyava; cousins Dawn Smith, Brian Evans, Wendy Gardner Arrindell, Troy Gardner, Alan and Chris Gregory; his extended family, “mom-in-law” Paula Collins; “aunties” Cheryle Terry, Donna and Kathy Bess; and many cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, big brothers, and aunts and uncles.
Visitation for Mr. King took place on Friday, May 4, at the Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton. A funeral service was held at the Shinnecock Presbyterian Church on Saturday, May 5, and interment at Shinnecock Cemetery followed.
Memorial donations may be made to Young Men of Shinnecock, c/o Dyron Robinson, P.O. Box 5006, Southampton, NY 11969.