Elizabeth Hollis King, 97, of Hamilton, Mont. died Monday, April 4, 2011, at Marcus Daly Hospice in Hamilton. She was born Nov. 13, 1913, in Albuquerque, N.M., to Arthur C. Hollis and Mabel Gardiner Hollis. Her parents and grandparents were from Hartford City, Ind. and her parents, older brother and sister had moved to the dry Albuquerque climate for her mother to recover from tuberculosis. Elizabeth’s grandmother and grandfather, both medical doctors, would go back and forth from Indiana to New Mexico to oversee the recovery of their daughter-in-law. During that time Elizabeth’s father helped build the post office complete with gun turrets on the roof, protection from frequent raids as New Mexico was not yet a state. They remained in Albuquerque after her mother regained her health at which time Elizabeth was born. New Mexico didn’t gain statehood until the year prior to her birth.
The family moved back to Hartford City where two more sisters were born. All five children helped their parents with the family grocery store and lived in quarters above. The sisters would at times accompany their brother who, with a horse and wagon, delivered groceries to some of their customers. She remembered the end of prohibition when the grocery sold the first beer in town. It was placed in horse troughs filled with ice. Family members took turns pushing the keys on the old cash register until their fingers were blistered.
Elizabeth began taking violin lessons, eventually becoming so accomplished that her high school sophomore year was spent in Santa Barbara, Calif., living with an aunt and studying with a violin instructor for advanced students. She was a lovely red-head with curly hair and her aunt was very worried about the close proximity of the naval base and the sailors who would undoubtedly notice her.
Wanting to become an elementary teacher after high school, Elizabeth was admitted to Ball State Teachers College in Muncie, now Ball State University. She was a member of Alpha Chi Sorority. At that time elementary teaching certificates required only two years so after graduation she entered her career and her love of teaching reading began.
Within a few years she was reintroduced to a young man who had also graduated from Ball State. They had known each other briefly and casually in college but now their relationship became one of love and respect. Elizabeth and Herschell Leland King were married on Christmas Day, 1937, in her family home under an arbor built by her father. This was a true union of their lives and souls which would span nearly 70 years until Hersch’s death in 2006. At the time of their marriage, a single female teacher had to resign when she married because she would then have a husband to support her. This vacated her position for a man or perhaps another single woman.
Elizabeth and Hersch had a daughter and a son and when the children were both in school, Elizabeth began teaching again. The family lived in Columbia City.
By then a four-year degree for elementary teachers was required, and even though she had a family and was teaching kindergarten in two different schools, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, she began classes to meet requirements for two more years of college. She went evenings, weekends, and summers, not only finishing her B.S. degree but continued classes completing her master’s degree. Later in her career she taught second grade and was deemed a master teacher in her school district. She loved children and she loved teaching.
Elizabeth and Hersch both retired from teaching in Indiana and moved to Butte, Mont. in 1976. After living in Butte for three years they moved to Hamilton. They enjoyed traveling and being together. Elizabeth enjoyed cooking, reading, knitting, walking, and was sharp mentally throughout her life. She kept informed and could discuss anything intelligently from world events to sports, often injecting her quiet, subtle sense of humor. Accepting the journey of aging with grace and dignity, she touched lives with her sweetness, her optimism and her consideration for others. The center of her universe was her family and all felt her selfless devotion to them.
She is survived by her daughter, Judith (Lee) Yockey; son, Tom (Diane) King; grandchildren, Greg (Amy) Yockey, Chris (Kristen) King and Kelly (Jon Zogg) King; and seven great-grandchildren, Kyle, Ryan, Megan, Kellen and Quinn Yockey, and Claire and Davis King.
Elizabeth was preceded in death by her husband, Herschell Leland King; grandson, Lt. Colonel David Leland Yockey; brother, Samuel Hollis; and sisters, Helen Tidd, Kathryn Dee and Aldah Robbins.
At her request there will be no service. Arrangements are under the care of the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com .
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to either Marcus Daly Hospice or Marcus Daly Hospital Foundation at 1200 Westwood Dr., Hamilton, MT 59840.