Len King - 1921 - 2015

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MattKing

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Anyone here on APUG who is familiar with my posts over the years might recall that I refer to my father a lot.


Well, I and my brother Jim and our families are quite sad because our Dad, Len King died last Friday.


Dad was 94, and was bright and involved and in generally good health for his age up to about three weeks before he died. At that time, his circulation problems in his legs started worsening, his balance and strength started getting much worse and he had two falls, with the second causing a serious neck injury.


He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was there over two nights. He was evaluated for physio and rehab and was looking forward to that starting, when he suddenly started having difficulty swallowing and breathing. He died just moments after talking with the physio. I and my wife were there.


Prior to the last, he was on no regular medication, he had never had to be taken by ambulance anywhere, and had only once had to stay over-night in hospital, and that was during WWII.


He and I were very close. I have absolutely no doubt that I owe my love of photography to him.


Dad worked for Canadian Kodak (as it was originally known) for over 1/3 of a century, and had almost everything processed and printed for him, including after his retirement began over 30 years ago. Ironically, he had almost no experience doing his own darkroom work - to the best of my knowledge the only darkroom work he did for himself was one set of colour enlargements he did about 57 years ago in the employee darkrooms at the Toronto plant of Canadian Kodak. I came across those badly faded prints yesterday. Not surprisingly, they are of me as an infant. I do remember them with more colour though.


Other than those prints, to the best of my knowledge my Dad’s experience in the darkroom began and ended with the two of us working through the Kodak instructions, and developing my first black and white films. We then worked out how to contact print those 616 negatives. I was eleven and I was off and running, with a lifetime of joy ahead.


I talked a bit about this in 2007 in the description attached to my entry for one of the APUG Monthly Shooting Assignments - in this case the MSA with the theme “Portal” . It is still up in my APUG Gallery - here is a link for subscribers who might be interested: (there was a url link here which no longer exists)


While Dad didn’t spend time in the darkroom, he certainly took pictures. We have them by the thousands. Boxes and boxes of slides - 127, 828, 110 and 35mm; movies - both regular 8 and super 8 (including with sound!). There are also significant numbers of negatives in all the aforementioned still film sizes plus disk and many, many prints, including a bunch that we have never seen!


But primarily, there is lots of Kodachrome!


One of the problems, of course, is that there are relatively few pictures with my Dad in them. He was, after all, the photographer, at least until I got older. But there are enough, and he invariably looks comfortable when photographed.


He started working for Kodak just after returning from WWII and worked there until his retirement in 1984. He, his fellow retirees and many others remained in touch and to a great extent remain fiercely loyal to Kodak. And despite what you may think, Kodak Canada (as it is now known) has remained loyal to them - there has been absolutely no interruption to their pensions or their retiree benefits, and reunions still happen.


When Dad died, he still had his last Kodak business card in his wallet. Of course, it has his photograph on it - you can see it below. In the last few days I’ve had a few conversations with some of his Kodak friends, and apparently Dad wasn’t the only one who still carried their Kodak business card with them long into retirement.

For good or ill, I think it is safe to say that you wouldn't have me here on APUG if it were not for my Dad.


My mother passed away in 2014. Mom and Dad had been together for 66 years then. They shared a love of the jazz of their youth and later years and, in particular, dancing. My brother Jim and I are arranging a celebration for Dad, and there will be lots of music, and lots of talk about Kodak and the good old days.


Goodbye Dad - you are already missed.

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Sincerest condolences, Matt. This may sound insensitive, but he met his end in almost the best possible way. My in-laws were married almost as long as your parents. While my father-in-law made it to 96, his last three years were a frustrating slow decline. However, that paled in comparison to my mother-in-law's suffering, which began with a series of strokes and took more than nine years to reach its conclusion.

Given that my parents both lived to a bit more than 80, I'm envious of your (and my wife's) genes. To me, 'the best possible way' means a sudden, unexpected heart attack while sleeping. Hopefully, many years in the future.

Stay well.
 

Sirius Glass

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I extend my condolences to you and your family.
 
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What a guy. I'm sitting here in tears after reading that. Truly I am...

Take care,
Ken
 

mooseontheloose

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I'm in tears too. What a moving tribute...I'm so sorry for your loss Matt.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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A fine tribute, Matt. Condolences.
 

BrianShaw

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I'm sorry for your loss. That is a beautiful tribute to your father. His legacy lives on not only in the memories of him and his accomplishments, but in you.
 

TheToadMen

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Hello Matt,
I'm sorry for your loss, my condolences to you and your family. I'm glad you have such good and fond memories of your dad.

Have a nice evening viewing his slides with your brother someday to remember him, or make a book of some of his images.
It might be a nice way to honor and remember him - and it might help you through the grieving process.

I'll say a prayer for him and your family.

Bert from Holland
 

HiHoSilver

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'Very sorry to hear, Matt. He sounds like a wonderful man. Carry his love & legacy with joy.
 

SuzanneR

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Matt, my sincere condolences to you and your family. He sounds like a great guy who was loved and respected by many. So sorry for your loss, and hope the celebration of his life you are planning brings you peace.
 

ME Super

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So sorry to hear of your dad's passing, Matt. My condolences to you and your family.
 

cliveh

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Matt, sincere condolences and wish you well for the future.
 

papagene

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So sorry for your loss Matt.
 

StephenT

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Sorry for your loss, Matt. Your dad had a "great run" in this life, one of which many could be envious.

You've got his genes, so I hope you will be around well into your 90's as well.
 

Shawn Dougherty

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I hope you are holding up well enough, Matt. A fine tribute which surely brought back many fond memories.

I was born late in my father's life, 1978. He was born in 1922, a part of your father's generation and also served in WWII (Europe). Those fellows (and ladies) were strong people and we were lucky to not only have know them but to have been raised by them.
 
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MattKing

MattKing

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Thank you all for your kind words.
 

markbarendt

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My condolences Matt
 

Black Dog

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My deepest condolences Matt-take care and all the very best!
 
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