On Wednesday, July1, 2020, Captain Henry “Tony” Carlton King, Jr., loving father of four and grandfather of two, passed away at the age of 80.
Tony was born on May 6, 1940 in Dahlonega, GA to Henry “Shorty” and Connie (Grizzle) King. Although named for his father, Shorty insisted on calling his first-born son Tony after his favorite boxer, proclaiming “I don’t care what y’all name him, I’m calling him Tony.” It stuck.
Tony graduated from Lumpkin County High School in 1957 and spent two years working for The Wimpy family before returning to Dahlonega to attend North Georgia College. He graduated in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics and commissioned into the United States Army where he served honorably for six years. He served two tours in Vietnam and returned highly decorated, to include the Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, among many other commendations. His final duty assignment was teaching military science at Georgia State College, where he also served as the Army (Death) Notification Officer.
After his military service, Tony worked in the family business on the Dahlonega Square alongside his mother. On August 28, 1971, he married Lanell “Sam” Alyce Weatherford. They raised two sons, David and John, and two daughters, Alison and Rachel. Tony was active in the Dahlonega Community and during the early 70s served as a city councilman. He was later appointed Mayor and elected for a second term. Tony was a true entrepreneur and pursued many successful careers during his lifetime, from selling shoes to running a trucking company. He had almost as many jobs as he did nicknames.
Tony was an active member of the American Legion. He earned his private pilot license in 1964. He always followed the news. He knew more about what was happening in the world than anyone you were likely to meet, and he had an opinion about every bit of it. He loved NASCAR and never missed a race – or an episode of Jeopardy.
Fellowship was the center of Tony’s life. He loved nothing more than playing the piano for a house full of family and friends. He was known to stay up half the night practicing The Entertainer. Tony loved to cook, and the scope of his menu spanned breakfast foods, fine dinners, and the backyard grill. He was always the last person to leave a party (probably because he was always the last one to arrive).
Tony’s storytelling skills were unmatched. His knowledge of family ties, the history of Dahlonega and all her residents could make even a stranger feel like a local. He loved to recall the early days of Dahlonega and his time spent working on his grandparents’ farm. During a recent visit, one of his daughters complimented “You are full of such great old stories, Daddy.” Tony briskly replied, “I know, and it makes me mad!” He quickly softened and explained “There’s almost no one left to tell them to me.”
Tony was known for his quick wit and his charm. He was a man with strong opinions. He liked to joke, “I used to think nobody was perfect, but I realized I’d made a mistake. I am.” His employees once gifted him a plaque for his desk that read “Nobody’s perfect but me.” It was one of his prized possessions. Tony was fiercely independent, even through his final days.
Above all else, Tony loved his children and granddaughters. They were the light of his life and a source of immense pride.
Tony was preceded in death by his wife Sam, his parents Shorty and Connie, his paternal grandparents Henry and Sarah King and maternal grandparents Talmer and Fannie Grizzle, his brother Larry King and his sister Carlene King Kimmel. He is survived by his children David, Rachel, John and Alison and son-in-law Ryan Puckett, his two granddaughters Elanor and Emily, his sister-in-law Dianne King, a large and loving extended family and a host of friends who are chosen family. These last years of Tony’s life could not have been possible without his devoted caretaker, son and best friend David.
A celebration of Tony’s life will be held on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at the Dahlonega Funeral Home chapel at 6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks friends to honor his memory by sharing a story with a Veteran or a loved one over a cup of coffee (two sugars, one cream). Donations may be made to American Legion Post 239 (Dahlonega) in his name.
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