Ed King’s death last week will be felt throughout East Texas. If you don’t know his name, it was because he liked it that way. But many, many residents have benefited from the good works King did in his lifetime.
Claude “Ed” King, 77, died at his home in Tyler on June 19.
King’s most public role was that of a local business owner, with two Chick- fil-A restaurants. But he was a silent supporter who assisted more than a dozen local nonprofits.
King and his wife Sandra regularly gave to several key institutions including The Salvation Army, Bethesda Health Clinic, Toys for Tots, Goodwill, Children’s Miracle Network, Meals On Wheels, the food bank and Champions for Children, and gave away everything from bicycles to chicken biscuits.
He was also a faithful member of Green Acres Baptist Church, where pastor Paul Powell recalls him as a “friend to humanity.”
“He was one of the most generous people that I know of,” Powell says. “Any cause that was a good cause, Ed King was involved in it and supported it.”
Larry Adkins, coordinator for Toys for Tots, notes that King preferred to be quiet in his giving and not make a big splash.
“We are losing a mainstay in this community,” Adkins says. “He is someone who cannot be replaced.”
King was a true Southern gentleman, and a man who displayed the kind of servant-leadership that people want to follow and emulate. He was an example worthy of imitation.
The Tyler school board could have done a better job of vetting a new issue recently when it rendered an out-of-the-blue decision to fund a $2 million swimming facility with leftover bond funds.
The proposed natatorium will cost millions more than that — according to former TISD Superintendent Gary Mooring, the figure could be as high as $7 million. The school board allocated the $2 million contingent on the community raising the rest of the cost. No mention has been made at all of the cost of maintaining such a facility.
Here’s why the vote was troubling. We’ve been encouraged in recent years in the board’s willingness to consult with the community about big projects. Certainly swimming is a positive activity and this could well be a worthy project for bond funds — in a voter-approved setting similar to TJC’s recent public-private project.
Unanimous board support of something brought up so suddenly might lead observers to conclude the topic had been discussed at the board level extensively prior to the public’s being properly informed.
Has the board done its homework on the issue? Where are the feasibility studies? Where is the cost analysis? No proposed design and no specific location were revealed at the school board meeting.
In years past, the board has been faulted for putting the cart before the horse — for approving big projects and bond proposals without making its case to the community adequately. Indeed, many would point to the natatorium component as the biggest factor that doomed the 2002 bond proposal, which set TISD back by years.
The board has made it clear that it will be coming to voters soon with the next big bond package. The board will need every bit of credibility with the community it can bring.
Getting something like this wrong, even though it’s a relatively small matter, could have very big consequences.