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‘A man worth noting in his own right’

Wesley King, brother of late Geneva leader, dies at 93

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 26, 2014 1:36 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Wesley Robert King was an athlete at Geneva High School, graduating in the Class of 1939.

Wesley Robert King, the younger brother of the late Merritt King, a late leader of Geneva and well-known D-Day veteran, died Saturday in Arizona at 93. He suffered from Alzheimer's disease, said his son, Charles Spencer King.

"Dad was a man worth noting in his own right," Charles King said. "He was an author, mentor, lecturer, husband, intellectual, golfer, sportsman and loving father."

Wesley King, who lived in Geneva and St. Charles, became an architect, earning numerous international awards for his designs and was an AIA emeritus, his son said. Resorts such as Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass in Colorado, and Indianhead Ski Mountain in Michigan incorporated his designs and redesigns, his son said.

King was chief architect for Sears worldwide and Homart from 1967 to 1977, Charles King said. King also built towering buildings, schools, churches, stores and residences around the world, his son said.

Locally, King's architecture includes several in St. Charles: The tower and theater at Pheasant Run Resort, Scotland Yard, the Arcada building, St. Charles Episcopal Church, the Colonial Ice Cream original factory and stores, as well as several residences, such as the Dort Fauntleroy home in Geneva, his son said.

King had two sons and a daughter, Page Cameron. His youngest, Andrew Marshall King, died in the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Charles King said.

King designed and built the Andrew Marshall King Memorial Bridge at the Geneva Golf Club, in memory of his son and others who died in the attacks, his son said. Andrew Marshall King, a St. Charles native, was a partner with Cantor Fitzgerald.

"It was quite an architectural feat to build a single-span bridge. It is reminiscent of the one at St. Andrews in Scotland," Charles King said. "It's not just to my brother, but is dedicated to "all those lost on 9/11. It is a very lovely tribute."

King graduated from Geneva High School in the Class of 1939. An athlete, he played basketball and football and got a full-ride scholarship to Purdue – but lost it when he broke his leg in a car crash on the way there, Charles King said.

King went to Knox College in Galesburg, then enlisted and served in World War II as a medic in the mule corps – with his mule, Rosebud – serving in the China, Burma and the Indian Theater. Charles King said his father received a Purple Heart and an honorable discharge.

After the war, King graduated from the University of Illinois – the first in his family to have a university education – and became an architect. He apprenticed with Ralph Stoetzel and Perkins and Will in Chicago, his son said.

King developed Alzheimer's disease after a brain injury, his son said.

"What happened was, he had a subdural hematoma – he bumped his head – and lost his entire memory," Charles King said. "He got it back over three years, got his faculties back 98 percent, then developed dementia and Alzheimer's."

He said he took care of his father until he moved to Arizona for a better climate in 2003, at a doctor's suggestion. Charles King said his father's body was donated for Alzheimer's research purposes at Life Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit facility in Arizona. 

After six to eight weeks, King's remains will be released to the Vistoso Funeral Home, also in Arizona, Charles King said.

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