State Senator Jim King Passes Away at Age 69
Affable longtime lawmaker and former Senate President Jim King died Sunday at age 69, succumbing to a rapidly spreading cancer that he had recently thought he'd beaten, a family spokeswoman said.
James E. “Jim” King Jr., a Republican from Jacksonville, was one of the most well-liked lawmakers in either chamber – quick with a joke, often about his zest for life, widely seen as fair and genuinely interested in all sides of a debate, but also well versed in the art of politics.
King “battled his final campaign as he did all others - with a fighter's heart and with humor and humility,” his family said in a statement. “Many throughout the state of Florida will feel they are better for having known him.”
King served 12 years in the House, including a stint as budget chairman, before heading to the Senate in 1999. He was Senate president from 2002 to 2004, and served as majority leader of both chambers.
King was a moderate who bridged gaps between battling sides in debates and between the parties.
He was most proud of the “Death with Dignity” legislation he shepherded to passage that had a premise that competent adults should be able to made certain decisions about their death, and reject life prolonging care, and established procedures for living wills.
King's legacy also includes the James and Esther King Biomedical research program, named for his parents, that provides money for research into smoking related diseases.
King was also known for his love of life. Never one to hide his appreciation for a good drink, King also liked to spend time in Welaka, where he fished and enjoyed the company of a succession of black Labrador Retrievers over the years. Two of his labs will be buried with King.
The Jim King Life Sciences Building at Florida State University, King's beloved alma mater, was named for him in recognition of his support for cancer research and it will be King's final resting place, the statement from the family said.
King is survived by his wife of almost 30 years, Linda Braddock King; his two daughters, Monta Bolles, of Tampa and Laurie Anne Dolan, of Gainesville; Son in laws Major Chuck Bolles and Rick Dolan and three grandchildren, Carley Elizabeth Bolles, Jack Bolles and Ashley Dolan.
A memorial service is set for next Saturday at the St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville and on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at the House chamber in the Capitol.
The King family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Jim King’s honor to either the James & Esther King Biomedical Research Foundation or the Community Hospice of Northeast Florida.