Home > In Memoriam > Joseph King – 1914 to 2005

Joseph (Joe) King who died on 15th March 2005, was born in Norwich on 21st June 1914, the fourth of six children of immigrant parents. He was brought up in an Orthodox household in Surrey Street, attended Norwich School and left home at 17 to work in the family scrap metal business. In 1947 he married Leila Saxton, whose brother Ian became a lifelong friend.  Joe learned to fly before the War and later served in the Fleet Air Arm in the Pacific as an officer on HMS Formidable, which came under Kamikaze attack three times.

In theb1960’s and 1970’s Joe’s entrepreneurial instincts led him to diversify widely into mushroom farming, North Sea oil and gas supply, leisure and property development. He was fully involved in running the business up to his death.

King & Sons originally had sites in King Street and Ber Street, moving in the 1960’s to Hall Road and finally to Horsham St. Faith. Joe inspired strong respect and affection in all of his business associates and employees, many of whom worked for him for many years.

Joe’s great passions outside business were tennis and walking. His and Leila’s home, where they lived for 50 years before moving to Holt, had two courts, one for winter and one for summer. He walked widely in Norfolk and on holiday in Cornwall and the Lake District especially. His favourite place was their bungalow at Eccles-on-Sea, which its lovely beach and fine swimming.

Joe had huge reserves of energy, determination and optimism. He liked to rise early and dedicated many hours to caring for dozens of stray cats and feeding the birds. He enjoyed cooking: his breakfasts, barbecues and fish fried in Matzo meal were unsurpassed. He was remarkable for his total modesty, his genuine interest in others and their achievements and for the quiet way in which he gave his support to numerous people and organisations, both inside the family and out. Joe is survived by Leila their two children and six grandchildren.

Neil King