John David King, almost 61 years of age, passed from this life on Tuesday, May 9. Born May 26, 1962, to devoted parents John Hiram and Robbie Cooper King, John lived in Arab, Alabama (where his parents owned and ran the family clothing store, Kings) until 2005. At that time, he and his mother moved to Madison, Alabama, to be nearer their family.
John’s diagnosis of Down Syndrome did not prevent him from living and enjoying life to the fullest, and in turn, he made the lives of those he touched better. His parents made sure John was afforded every opportunity to be successful. John was enrolled in school from the time he was four years old until the program closed during the Covid Pandemic in 2020. He loved school and the friends he made there. Riding the bus was always a highlight of his day. Excelling in bowling and Frisbee golf, he also enjoyed participating in Special Olympics.
John was a member of the Madison Church of Christ. While attending there, he was awarded a special commendation from the Madison City Council for his dedication to community service: always making sure the class lectern was placed away before the worship service began. Most importantly, John loved Jesus. He would sweetly tell people that he had God’s Son down in his heart. Perhaps of all the special memories of John, his sweet prayers will be the most treasured.
John David loved to laugh, tell jokes, and play tricks. Nursery rhymes and old television shows brought him immense joy.Cartoons, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Dukes of Hazard were some of his favorites. A big fan of Elvis, John liked to entertain others with his rendition of “Hound Dog.” John also loved listening to Dolly Parton, as well as The Chipmunks. John’s clown dolls, especially Bozo, and his friends Mickey Mouse, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy gave him countless hours of happiness. John also loved to say, “War Eagle!”
Though John had no biological siblings, he was blessed with many cousins. He was like a baby brother to them. The adoration was mutual. John would light up at the mention of a family gathering and loved to speak of his “kinfolks, loved ones, and so on.” The greatest love of John’s life was the love he felt for his parents. Mommy and Daddy, as he referred to them, devoted their entire lives to John, and he loved them fiercely. He reminded them, as well as others, that “the greatest gift is love.”Always affectionate, even to the end, John’s hugs and kisses were a delight to all.
In addition to his parents, John David was preceded in death by his grandparents, Faires and Annie Cooper and Luther and Lena King, all who were residents of Rogersville, Alabama, andseveral aunts and uncles.
He is survived by his aunts Emma Goode and Eula Goode and his uncle Allen Goode, of Rogersville, as well as a host of adoring cousins. His cousin Jeffrey Goode and his wife Linda, of Huntsville, received the honor of a lifetime by being chosen by John’s parents to be his guardians when they were no longer able to care for him. Tremendous help was provided to John by his special cousins Resa Self of Fayetteville, Tennessee, and Lori Bailey of Huntsville. John is also survived by four “Bonus Moms” who have lovingly cared for him in his home for the past four and a half years. His wonderful caregivers were Lauren Caraway, Decatur; Martha Jane Kirby, Decatur; Liz Moore, Huntsville; and Odessa Robinson, Hazel Green. The last chapter of John’s life was also made sweeter by his two playmates, Anna Persall and Callie Campbell, who were faithful “teachers” and companions.
The family would like to thank Sarita Timmons of In Good Hands for her role in helping staff exemplary caregivers for John. We would also like to thank Tasha Carter and the Madison County 310 Board for the invaluable assistance they provided John and continue to provide other members of the special needs community. We also express gratitude to Gentiva Hospice for the loving care and support they gave John during the last few months of his life.
In John’s memory, donations may be made to the Madison County 310 Board (219 Jim Harding Way, Huntsville AL 35806)and to Special Olympics of Madison County (2095 Scott Road, Hazel Green, AL 35750).
A Celebration of the Very Special Life of John David King will be held at Legacy Chapel in Madison on Friday, May 12, at three o’clock in the afternoon. The family will receive friends an hour prior to the celebration. Burial will take place at the Cooper Cemetery in Rogersville. Cousins will serve as pall bearers.
Thank you to everyone who has made his life so rich! If you have ever met him, you will never forget him!
“We wouldn’t have changed him for the world, but we would have changed the world for him.” (Amy Wright)