Monday, April 6, 2009

Honoring an Amazing Mom

Posted by Kim:

You may have heard about the senseless tragedy that took place in Binghamton, NY on Friday. Well Binghamton is my hometown and while I often tease about Binghamton and how happy I am that I now live in Colorado, when I heard about this horrific event I started to feel nostalgic about my little hometown. I am drawn to the memories of all of the great times I had growing up, because Binghamton really was an amazing place to grow up. And in the middle of the wonderful memories I have of my youth, is one of my best friends from High School and College, one of the daughters of Mrs Roberta King. I was adopted into the King family and was always envious of the sheer size of their family as I am an only child. Ten children?! WOW! I can hardly handle the two that I have. But their house was always full of family, always open to friends, and at the center of it all was a jovial, happily married couple, Dr and Mrs King.

This past Friday one of the sweetest, most giving, most community oriented women I have ever known was tragically taken from this world and I have to pay tribute to Mrs King. The mother to 10 amazingly talented and successful children, one of the most avid doll collectors (seriously I have never seen so many dolls), and the world's greatest substitute teacher. Mrs King was always happy to see you and always offered a kind word. She is a true Binghamton icon.

While everyone in our town is trying to process this senseless act of violence I can only deal with the reality of the situation by believing and having faith that Mrs King has been reunited with Dr King in heaven and together they are looking down at the wonderful family they created together seeing how many people's lives they have touched and what a difference they made in the town of Binghamton.

As Carri said, "Anyone that can have 10 children and still have plenty to give is a rare gift to the world." This couldn't more true.

Beloved English teacher among deceased
By Nancy Dooling • • Staff Writer • April 5, 2009

Grandmother of 17.


Doll collector.

History and architecture buff.

Talented cook.

And she knew how to be a beloved friend.

Roberta "Bobbie" King, 72, was teaching English to adult students Friday at the American Civic Association when a gunman burst into her classroom and killed her and 12 others, before turning a gun on himself. Family members confirmed her death Saturday.

"I believe that 'Bobbie' had more genuine friends than anybody I know," said Brenda Margolis, one of the many friends who loved her.

Margolis had been a friend of Mrs. King's for more than 30 years, through child-rearing, weddings, grandchildren, funerals - all of life's big moments.

Other families affected by Friday's violent massacre on Front Street were anxiously awaiting word Saturday about their loved ones. Binghamton city officials are now saying a full list of victims won't be released until today.

Friends and family of Mrs. King's are trying to cope with her loss.

"She impacted a lot of lives because of her very warm, very upbeat, kind disposition and her many interests," said Margolis, of Binghamton. "Everyone loved her."

Funeral services for Mrs. King will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Temple Concord on Riverside Drive in Binghamton, said Mrs. King's daughter, Georgia Lerner.

Family will sit Shiva from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Temple Concord.

Her family was the center of her life. But so were her many interests and her many friends.

She was always positive, always upbeat, and able to competently and without complaint tackle anything that life threw at her, friends said.

With 10 children, her house was always full, friends said.

But Mrs. King took everything in stride.

"Her strength came from her gentle kindness," said another long-time friend, Beverly Hirsch, a Binghamton resident.

Mrs. King loved teaching immigrants and had no plans to retire, said her son-in-law, Dr. Todd Lerner.

She taught English to immigrants learning to be U.S. citizens. She substitute taught at public schools.

She loved her students, family and friends said.

"She was an amazing lady," Lerner said. "She was always busy with something."

She and her husband, the late Dr. Abraham King, put their children first in their lives, sending all 10 to college, five of them to Cornell University in Ithaca, her son-in-law said.

She was a passionate collector of dolls and dollhouses, which filled her South Side Binghamton home. She loved historic architecture and was involved with Temple Concord's Hanukkah House, Roberson Museum and the Phelps Mansion.

But it was the quality of her character that drew people to her.

"She was always gentle and kind," Hirsch said.

"Never critical. Never negative."

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