, one rare journalist
, March 10, 1919-October 31, 2010
This week came news in my hometown newspaper that Henry King had died at age 91.
Henry King was a cotton mill worker in a mill town called Franklinville, who began submitting articles to the newspaper and it began to print them.
eventually left the mill, but not the mill town for writing.
didn't get his
first full-time job as a newspaper writer until he
I worked with him in the small newsroom of the Courier-Tribune
in Asheboro, N.C. in the late 70s and early 80s.
Chip Womick of the Courier-Tribune, who knew King for many years, does a good job of taking his measure.
"It made The Courier-Tribune
a special paper having Henry
You always knew that Henry
was going to have something interesting and entertaining to read.
just had to be poking in the back roads.
was always going down little trails and finding interesting people.
"There are just so few people like Henry
, with his
curiosity and his
ability to write and his
love of people.
could find a story in anything or any person.
never once said "there's nothing there" or "there's no story."
A woman said if an acorn fell from a tree, he
could write a column about it.
A man said he
could spin a tale from a horse's footprint and he
proved him right, too.
got a column out of our wedding, tying in the LoveLady Fire Department
for extra measure.
I think he
"discovered" Rufus Hussey, the "Bean Shooter Man." If he
certainly had already interviewed long before Johnny Carson had him his
show or Charles Kuralt visited.
In a long running series in the newspaper on places, usually a rural crossroads or maybe just a wide spot in the road, he
would always found someone who said some version of: "I've always lived here and wouldn't live anywhere else."
A man of many interests, who read widely, and had a genuine interest in people, he
could interview politicians, celebrities, and the rich and powerful, but what he
enjoyed was pulling the stories out of people who had never been in the newspaper and never would be again until their obituary notice.
In "retirement," he
wrote at least seven books and created two nature libraries.
Filed in Newspapers and tagged Asheboro North Carolina, Charles Kuralt, Henry King
, Jerry Bledsoe, Johnny Carson
I knew Henry King
"from a distance".
As a member of the Franklinville Baptist Church
, I used to see his
house and think of him every week.
Of course, his
columns always appealed to my love of the outdoors and items of interest in Randolph County and all over the state.
I talked to Henry
was one of a kind.
We all knew it.
books will always hold a special place in my home, and he
, in my heart.