Visitation at Funeral Home
Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Rev. Dr. Donna Ruth King
Rev. Dr. Donna Ruth King, 64, of State College, went to be with her Lord on Thursday, January 7, 2021, at Hershey Medical Center, after a courageous battle with cancer. Through it all, she was able to inspire us with her strength, determination, and unwavering faith.
Born April 28, 1956, in Brooklyn, NY, she was the daughter of the late Samson and Ruth Gregory Freemon. On July 26, 1980 she married the love of her life, Barry W. King.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by four children; Barry C. King and his wife Shannon, Kimisse R. King, Kory W. King, and Kristall A. Vastardis and her husband Louis; four siblings, Clifford Webb, Sandi Harrison, Gary Freemon and his wife Christina, Debbie Freemon and six beloved grandchildren: Deontay, Najee, Jaheem, Kaysean, Isaiah, and Aviana. She was preceded in death by her sister, Diane Britt.
Rev. Dr. Donna King had many titles and held each one with dignity and pride. She was a community activist, scholar, cultural pedagogue, social justice educator, public historian, spiritual guide, breast cancer awareness advocate, and a pillar in the State College community.
She was a life long learner with multiple degrees from multiple universities. Her highest educational achievement being the PhD she received from The Pennsylvania State University in the College of Education. As a professor, she was known to her students as both Dr. King and "Mama King". She inspired, mentored, and encouraged all of her students to strive for and reach their full potential.
After retiring from her role as Lecturer in African American Studies at Penn State, she honed in on her passion for research of local black history in Centre County and at Penn State. Her main focus was the historic roles that Bellefonte and Penn State played in the Underground Railroad, and the local abolitionist movement. She gave Underground Railroad walking tours to community members, both young and old, while carrying her lantern and singing "Oh Freedom". The historical knowledge she bestowed on others with her tours and programs is yet another way that she has left her mark on this community.
She went from being church historian to pastor of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) Church, founded in 1859. It is commonly known as the incredible "church on the hill". A church that played a crucial role in the Underground Railroad. A church that she felt God wanted her to inherit from the elders before her. Her mission being to keep the doors of the church open, to keep its legacy alive, and its light shining bright for all to see. The church where her legacy now also resides and her light continues to shine.
In her own words, she went from being a parent advocate, to community activist, to teacher educator, to faith based leader. Humbly serving the kingdom, she was a teacher, preacher, historian and scholar. She worked wholeheartedly to transform her community while leaving her lasting imprint on the hearts of everyone she met. May the light from her lantern never cease and may it continue to light the way for all who knew her, for everyone she inspired, and everyone who loved her.
Visitation will be Thursday, January 14, 2021 from 6:30-9:00 pm and Friday, January 15, 2021 from 10:00-11:00 am at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 S. Atherton St., State College.
Funeral service will be held on Friday, January 15, 2021 at 11:00 am at Koch Funeral Home. She will be laid to rest at Graysville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to METAvivor.org in her memory and/or the "In Remembrance of Rev. Dr. Donna King" GoFundMe. Any amount is both welcome and appreciated!
In Remembrance of Rev. Dr. Donna King, organized by Dana Durham
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.
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Koch Funeral Home
F. Glenn Fleming, Supervisor
2401 S. Atherton Street
State College, PA 16801
(814) 238-0482 fax
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Huntingdon, PA 16652
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