Our matriarch, Phyllis Mary Ann King, passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 12, 2021 at the age of 88 of a heart attack while playing the slots in Las Vegas, something Mary loved to do.
Mary is survived by her son Robert Paul King, wife Karie, and grandsons Matthew and Heath of Olympia, WA; daughter Jerry Lynn Cooper and husband Hamil of Lakeway, TX; son Patrick Michael King and wife Susan of Highland, CA, and grandsons Bryan King of Waco, TX and Colin King of San Diego, CA.
Mary was born in Phoenix, Arizona to Everett and Virginia Currell. As a child she loved to hunt and fish. Mary attended Tolleson Union High School in Arizona and then went to Arizona State College in Tempe, where she met her husband Paul. She later moved to Fontana with her husband and resided there for 66 years and raised their three children.
She returned to school and graduated from California State, San Bernardino in the school’s second graduating class. Mary continued her love for education by teaching first grade at Poplar Elementary School in Fontana. Mary had an enormous impact on the lives of her students and was still in contact with them until the day she died. After 23 years of teaching, she received an Honorary Life Membership from Poplar PTA and the Arrowhead Reading Council’s Distinguished Teacher Award.
Mary had many hobbies that continued into retirement, one of which was sewing. This was a huge blessing when the pandemic hit in 2020 as she made hundreds of masks for family, friends, students, and hospital workers. She volunteered at Somerford Place in Redlands, as well as Kaiser Hospital where she donated more than 4,000 hours of her time. She brought and read her own books to the children in the pediatric unit, volunteered in the service office with hospice, helped at hundreds of blood drives, and organized the clothing closet to ensure patients had clean clothes when discharged from the hospital.
Mary’s grandsons were her love and joy. She spent her life around them and instilled a love of science and natural curiosity to uncover and discover new things.. She spent hours taking them to museums, the living desert, and zoos.
A phrase Mary loved and would say frequently was “the power of positive thinking,” and with this you can do anything. With this, there is no reason for sadness, because if you have a positive mindset, anything and everything can be achieved. She is gone from us in body but will live on in our hearts forever.