Longtime Carson City physician dies
November 10, 2006
As one of Carson City’s first and longest-working surgeons, Dr. William King is credited with saving many lives. But his greatest legacy may be woven in a child’s ballerina costume or in the hearts he touched outside the operating room.
“He was a physician in everything he did, both medically and spiritually,” said Rev. Bruce Kochsmeier of First Presbyterian Church, a friend of 11 years. “He was a pillar of this church and community.
“Saying he will be missed doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. He never took himself seriously, but seriously cared for everyone else.”
King, who opened his Carson City practice in 1957, died Thursday from cancer. He was 83.
King practiced all types of surgery except back and brain surgeries. He also donated time at the Ross Clinic on East Long Street. He volunteered 10 years at the clinic, “retiring” from there in September 2004.
“He was a very loving, thoughtful man,” said Christine King, his wife of 60 years. “I will miss everything about him.”
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The Kings met on a blind date on a Friday the 13th. Regardless of the month, Christine said they celebrated each Friday the 13th with flowers or by going out to dinner.
“He was a fine, warm and wonderful person,” she said. “Very caring. We had a lot of fun together.”
King’s daughter, Freddie, recalled life with her father while growing up in Carson City. She was 10 years old when they moved here.
“I remember we had a St. Bernard, Clancy, and he would go to the hospital with my father,” she said. “One time (Clancy) actually went into the hospital, and my father had to take him home.
“There were so many firsts for him in the area. And of course he did house calls – the whole nine yards. He was good friends with the late doctors Stewart and Petty. They were like the doctors of Carson City years ago. It’s the end of an era.
“He was the only surgeon in Carson City when we moved here. Dr. Petty talked him through a Cesarean section, and (Petty) had never done one. There was a lot of experimentation.”
King had a general practice and was trained as a surgeon, and even performed surgery on a colt’s femur in the surgical area of his office.
“He really did help every man, woman and horse in the community,” Freddie said.
Freddie said her father spent six weeks in the hospital as a child. While there he read a lot of books and learned to knit and crochet.
“He made my first ballerina costume.”
King’s first office was behind the Carson Nugget, an area that is now a parking lot.
“He was in private practice 15 years, then Dr. Jim Pitts came in with him, then Dr. William Thomas,” Christine said. “Then they called it ‘Carson Surgical Group.'”
Joy Amodei worked for King for 30 years in his practice. She remembers one patient not being able to pay with cash, so she paid him with a cooked chicken.
“He was the best – not only as a doctor or boss, but as a friend,” Amodei said. “One of the very best.”
Among his survivors are his wife, Christine; daughters Fredrica King of Reno and Sarah King Scott of Baltimore, Md.; son Dr. Douglas King in Portland, Ore. He was preceded in death by his son Dr. William King Jr., two brothers and a sister.
“So many people said Bill saved their life,” Christine said. “One of the medics who came to the house said he operated on his appendix. And Bill Maddox said Bill saved his life during an appendectomy.
“He was a very amiable guy. He really listened to his patients.”
A service for Dr. King will be 2 p.m. Nov. 18 at First Presbyterian Church in the Family Life Center.
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.