Marie Antoinette King
May 5, 1945 – October 12, 2020
Marie Antoinette (Toni) King was born on May 5, 1945 in St. Louis, MO to Mattie and Russell McFadden. Her father was in construction, and her mother was a nurse. In her youth she was always a tomboy. She loved music and learned to play piano. She also loved spending time outdoors and playing baseball with the boys, activities which earned her the nickname, ‘Toni the Tiger’. After moving to Los Angeles, she graduated from Bishop Conaty High School and became the first in her family to go to a 4-year college. She attended UCLA, where she earned a degree in Psychology. She would continue going back to school to get more education, earning three more degrees over the next four decades.
Travel and Marriage
While in Los Angeles, she took some of her first trips abroad, visiting the Caribbean, West Africa, and Europe at a time when worldwide travel was uncommon. This marked the beginnings of a lifelong love of travel. She traveled overseas and met interesting people, but always came home to Los Angeles. It was in LA that she met her future husband, fellow student and future college professor, Dr. Jules King. She married Jules in 1972 and soon afterwards gave birth to two children, Malik and Jamil.
Discovering the Outdoors
Her family moved to various places over the next several years, one of which was Rochester, NY. It was there that she joined the Falcon gun club and introduced her children to outdoors culture and fishing. She also learned sport shooting, a hobby that she maintained throughout much of her life, continuing to shoot competitively into her 50s. While in Rochester, she went back to school and obtained her second degree, a Master’s in Counseling.
She and her family moved several more times before eventually settling in Atlanta, GA in 1980. It was there that she raised Malik and Jamil to be Christians, explore a wide variety of activities, and learn independence. She got them involved in the Catholic church, supported them in Boy Scouts on camping trips, and got friends to teach them carpentry, minor appliance and electrical repair, and become more independent and ‘handy’ around the house. She did all this while working as an account executive at Xerox and then AT&T. She passed on her love of music and singing. And her penchant for travel led her to ensure her kids were able to explore different parts of the country, visiting lakes, rivers, caves, and other scenic areas and taking coastal and island beach vacations, something both of them still love to do with their families today.
Back to School Again...Becoming a Teacher
After both children went off to college, Toni moved back to Rochester and again went back to school. Her plan was to, in her words, “...acquire my teaching credential in a foreign language because I feel if you teach something you enjoy, the students will catch your enthusiasm and enjoy learning more.” She obtained a Bachelor’s in Spanish from SUNY Brockport, then moved to New York City and earned her Master’s in Education from New York’s Columbia Teacher’s College.
After becoming a licensed teacher, Toni taught at the prestigious all-girls Japanese school Keio Academy in Yonkers, NY, but then moved out to Las Vegas to teach there so that she could be closer to her mother and brother in LA. She taught Spanish and ESL for more than 10 years before retiring in Las Vegas.
Managing Health and Moving to Texas
In late 2015, Toni began having greater difficulties with her memory, and by early 2016 she could no longer live independently. Her sons packed up her house and moved her to The Ivy, an assisted living facility close to Jamil’s house north of Dallas, TX. For four years, she was able to see her family much more regularly. Those who visited and those who cared for her at The Ivy grew to love her smiles, her spunk, and her infectious laughter. Known for constantly roaming the halls and always being on the move, Toni continued making friends and entertaining others until her health began deteriorating in late summer 2020.
She passed away on October 13, at the age of 75. She is survived by her brother, Russell; her husband, Jules; her sons and their spouses, Malik and Sharona, and Jamil and Brandi; and five grandchildren (Micah Amari King 13, Alexis Joyce King 12, Camryn Anthony King 11, Simone Aliyah King 9 and Jacob Grant King 7).
Marie Antoinette King lived a life devoted to the service of God, her community, and her family, and she will be missed dearly.
Friday, October 16, 2020
Marie Antoinette King
October 16, 2020
I first met Toni thru her cousin, my husband, Cary Thornton. We became immediately friends thru our love of teaching and traveling, and after she moved to Las Vegas, going to the casinos. She was such an exquisite person, and never met a stranger. Everyone just loved Toni. She will truly be missed, but our memories will last forever. Rest In Peace My Dear Friend/ Cousin. One of my favorite picture taken of her at the Ivy.