Every day is a gift, and despite anything that may be happening in your life, if you get that gift, you should make the most of it and be thankful. This is especially true on the hardest of days, because even those are “better than the alternative”.
If quotes from Dr. Buzz King were to be celebrated, there are not enough pages here to print them all. If you are reading this and knew him, you’re smiling through tears right now because you know the truth in this, and probably remember something he said to you that made a good impression on you. If you think about it, he probably gave you advice. He was very good at listening and telling you what you needed to hear – sometimes not necessarily what you wanted to hear, but always with the intention of solving a problem. Or making the best of a situation. Or, knowing when to “choose your battles”.
Sadly, Herbert Allen King lost the battle for his extraordinary life on January 21, 2020 to several ailments that somehow managed to outsmart him. Outsmart Buzz? How is that even possible?! Suffice it to say it took significantly more than most people could manage, because he wasn’t most people. He always did things on his terms, period. The last moments of his life were no different, and not a single person who knew him is surprised by that.
This public notice, or more aptly put, tribute – may reach people who didn’t know him well or at all. As such, we should review a brief history. Perhaps some of you who did know him may also learn something new about Buzz King. As a lifelong teacher and lecturer to his children and grandchildren, he would like that.
Buzz was born July 16, 1943 in Durham, NC at Duke Hospital, the eldest son of Dr. Herbert Arthur King and Claire Francis Price King. He and his little brother, Lawrence B. King (aka “Mufti”) who predeceased him in July 2006, grew up in North Carolina, Texas, and the family finally settled in Daytona Beach, FL. His love of the beach was lifelong, and in his youth he enjoyed surfing – often times bragging to his kids that he even surfed ahead of a hurricane – which he told them was entirely ill-advised. This may have been where the lecture about “don’t put yourself in a situation you can’t get out of” originated.
He was a spirited and strong-willed child & teen, and upon graduation from high school he attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. He earned his undergraduate degree and was accepted to the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. In dental school, Buzz worked tirelessly to train to be the best dentist he could be- “work harder and longer than everyone else; while your classmates sleep, you pull ahead of them”, he would say. He continued his education by earning an MS in Prosthodontics from UNC- CH and was a proud recipient of the Monte Miska in Prosthodontic Excellence Award. This plaque hung on the hallway wall of his practice; if you were a patient then you no doubt walked by it. Many people would see it but may not know its’ significance. It was another confirmation of his dedication to and delivery of excellence in prosthodontics. Buzz’ patient care was unparalleled; he was the one you call when you’re at the “end of the line” – if he couldn’t fix it, it couldn’t be fixed. His patients would tell you that he always took the extra effort to care for them – if you had surgery that morning, he called that evening just to check on you.
While in dental school, he became a Daddy. There are fathers, and there are daddies. Buzz King was a brilliant and complicated man, but he absolutely and undeniably was a supportive and dedicated Daddy to his three children. In the past 17 years, he also became Poppy to his four grandchildren. The loss of his constant assurance of love and pride in them will be a most profound loss to his children and grandchildren. Yet in these days following his peaceful passing, his voice is still ever-present. People who love you never really leave you, and because he made sure the people he loved knew how much he loved them, they will do exactly what they promised him. Receive the gift of a new day, if given the chance, and make the best of it. Because “it WILL be OK…because it HAS to be.”
Dentist, golfer, daddy, granddaddy – Buzz had many facets, but none was more dear to him than being husband to the love of his life, Bonnie. Friends and family know that there was no bond stronger. Buzz & Bonnie worked together, lived life to its fullest together, laughed together, enjoyed all of their moments together. Even the hardest of moments these past weeks, being together made it possible for him to keep fighting. Bonnie gave him strength when he had none left. It surely must have just been his time, because if love could have healed him, his love with Bonnie was great enough to overcome the health obstacles that had the audacity to aggressively conspire against him.
Buzz moved to Southern Pines, NC to start his practice and joined a group practice with fellow graduates, eventually establishing his practice in Yadkin Park. He went through several “phases” that included perming his hair, riding motorcycles, looking cool in corvettes, declaring himself masterful captain of various boats. When taking his children fishing, he was responsible for baiting all the hooks, which was very much appreciated. He was very fond of grilling oysters & making his special concoctions that always had a kick to them. If he had a free moment, he would be on the golf course, addressing the ball with his never-ending waggle and might just be the only person who could hit a ball while talking throughout his swing. His home is lined with various trophies and plaques from local tournaments.
His sense of humor will be greatly missed. If you were lucky enough to experience his spot-on accents, you know another of his many talents (his New York & Boston accents in particular). He could be very serious but was quick to remind his family and friends to stop being so serious. Buzz made a point to do bucket list items long before he became ill, and perhaps if you’re reading this you might think about doing something you’ve been wanting to do but have put off. He would tell you it is a good idea. What did Buzz say about waiting to do something? Don’t.
There are so many more stories and memories, there just isn’t enough time and space to contain them here. He leaves behind his wife of 39 years, Bonita Moss King; children Michael M. Stephenson of Miami Beach, FL; Virginia Claire King-Barker (Jason Barker) of Wake Forest, NC; Alisa-Marie King of Pinehurst, NC; grandchildren Isabella Claire Johannes, Sabrina Marie Barker, Charles Byron Price Johannes, and Declan Alexander Barker; from New Smyrna Beach, FL his sister-in-Law Eileen King, nephews Bonner King (Melissa) & Bryan King (Amy) who love The Ranch as much as he did; the entire Moss family of Aberdeen, NC; his best friend, Jene Jordan, who was beside him until the end; and his golfing group, better known as the Georgetown Mafia.
As per his wishes, there will be no public service or memorial. The family are having a private service. In lieu of flowers or other tributes, Buzz requested donations to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, www.stjude.org .
Online condolences may be made at www.bolesfuneralhome.com
Services are entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.