Cover photo for John M. King's Obituary
John M. King Profile Photo
1938 John 2019

John M. King

January 27, 1938 — January 21, 2019

John King, 80, of Sodus died Jan. 21, 2019, in his home. He was born Jan. 27, 1938, in Benton Harbor to Harold and Mildred King.

John raised tree fruit on the land where his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather had once farmed. He was chosen Outstanding Young Farmer in 1967 by the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Jaycees. In addition to King Farms, John owned and operated Fruit Grower Services, harvesting fruit for area growers. Also, Agri-Air Crop Spraying, and with partner Tom Michael, Harvest-Rite, harvesting citrus in Florida.

After many years of farming, John began a new career as a chief mechanic for Indy Car teams, including A. J. Foyt Enterprises. He won two Indy Car Championships and also was given awards for excellence in the Indy 500 and his contribution to Indy Car Racing as Outstanding Chief Mechanic.

John is survived by his wife of 62 years, Louise (Staubach) King; daughter, Marlene (Kevin) Burbach; daughter-in-law, Cherie (Kevin) Groenke; six grandchildren who greatly loved and admired Grandpa King: Jacob and Tyler (Karli Loushbough) Burbach, Nicole and Michelle King, Ariel (Rusty) Strouts, Nathane (Kayti) Corwin (and their children, Orion, Violet and Paisley); brothers: Robert (Donna) King of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., and James (Karen) King of Union Mills, N.C.; along with many nieces and nephews and his beloved bull terrier, Max.

John was preceded in death by his parents; and his son, Bret in 2003.

The family wishes to thank Caring Circle Hospice, Berrien County Cancer Service, and special caregiver, Kelly.

As John requested, there will be no funeral service or visitation. A private interment service will be held in the spring.

Memorial contributions may be given to Chapel Hill United Methodist Church (of which John was a member), or Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan, Niles Road, St. Joseph.

Messages may be left online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John M. King, please visit our flower store.


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