MANALAPAN — Henrietta King was the quiet balance to her husband Don King’s outward flamboyance. But in her own right, she had a résumé varied enough to include entrepreneur, farmer, fashion designer, nurse, sheriff’s department staffer and philanthropist.
Henrietta King, who with her husband had moved to an oceanfront mansion in Manalapan in 1999, died
Dec. 2 after a battle with stomach cancer. She was 87.
While Mrs. King lived very privately on the island, she had touched many people during her life. According to an obituary her family submitted to the Westside Gazette in Broward County, Mrs. King was an entrepreneur, owner of a number of community-based businesses and properties. She provided jobs for many in the community and was a member of the Ashtabula County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Department.
Mrs. King had left her hometown of Cleveland, moving to Windsor, Ohio, where she taught her children how to live off the land, raising cattle and pigs and growing vegetables, her family said in the obituary.
She always had a fondness for police and fire departments, her family said.
In one of her rare public appearances in South Florida, Henrietta and Don King had personally attended a meeting of the Deerfield Beach City Commission for the announcement of their donation of a $326,000 fire engine.
But the woman whom King called his “rock” may have played a larger role behind the scenes.
When King planned to move his headquarters to the former Palm Beach Jai Alai fronton on 45th Street in 1999, it was Henrietta’s name on the
$6.25 million deed.
She had snapped up the property when it became available, the South Florida Business Journal quoted her Realtor as saying at the time.
Mrs. King collected fine and unusual shoes, and she had a great love and passion for fashion and interior design, her family said in the obituary.
Manalapan neighbor Don Silpe recalled that she had personally decorated the Kings’ entire estate and guesthouse.
“They had been very good, quiet and private neighbors all these years,” Silpe said.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. King is survived by a daughter, Deborah King, 47, sons, Carl, 52, and Eric, 57, and five grandchildren.