James Franklin King


Died June 15, 2005

College: Silliman

Widow: Ms. Kaaran E. Thomas
Address Not Available

Children: Philip, 1968

Jim’s life was a battle against foes both real and imaginary. When he was winning he was wonderful to behold. He was a talented athlete, fighting for his beloved Bulldogs, playing rugby and tennis. He read obsessively, widely and with total recall. He raced through the New York Times crossword puzzles and delighted in word games, dismissing anyone who couldn’t keep up with his puns and alliterative flights of fancy. He was an ingenious artist, painting with skill and insight. He could be enormously witty and charming, modest and curious. In the end, though, his opponents got the better of him. Not on the football field, but in his life where he was crippled by severe rheumatoid arthritis, coronary problems and, worst of all, paranoid schizophrenia.

While illnesses interfered with his ability to live a normal life, he battled each handicap and the fears that plagued him as he struggled to cope with both friends and foes. His greatest joy came from Yale and his “Undefeated” teammates. He looked forward to each class and team reunion and afterward treasured the memories with an intensity that could only come from someone for whom they were of paramount importance.

Jim’s schizophrenia made for tough relationships. Two marriages could not survive, and his closest friends from Yale took their licks. But golly, at his best Jim was fearless and funny. Time spent with him was turbo charged, at higher level of intensity. The memories are indelible.

He was challenging to befriend, difficult to love and, in the end, impossible to save.

— by Kaaran Thomas and Lou Muller