Plainfield attorney Victor King in a favorite family photo.
Hilary Harding, wife of longtime Plainfield Board of Ed attorney Victor King, reached out to me on Sunday to tell me that Victor had passed away suddenly early that morning.
I had known Victor almost since we moved to Plainfield 36 years ago.
He was great friends with Councilor Cory Storch and his wife Lois Mattson, who are among my first friends in Plainfield. This was long before Storch's public life, and he and Victor hiked and biked together for many years, until Victor was no longer able to enjoy those activities.
Victor with fellow hikers at Lake Squam, NH,
one of his favorite hiking spots.
In 1986, when I first got into real estate with the former Burgdorff Realtors in Fanwood, I turned to Victor and his firm -- King, King & Goldsack -- for legal services in closing my real estate transactions.
Over the years I took hundreds of real estate deals to Victor and his partner, John Wood Goldsack. The partnership was one of Plainfield's old-line law firms and very prestigious, doing a lot of wills and trusts in addition to real estate. (They had something of a reputation as a "blue hair" firm -- referring that is to their clients, not members of the firm.)
In the 1990s, when I became active in school board affairs -- working to get Rick Smiley, Lynn Richard, Veronica Taylor, Beulah Womack, Randy Bullock and others elected to the Board, Victor was the attorney for the Board of Education.
This was in the days when Dr. Larry Leverett was the Superintendent, regarded by many as a "golden" age for the District, when morale was high, the community supported Dr. Leverett's initiatives, and the District was on the move academically.
Victor's work with the Board was exemplary (this was in the days when the Board attorney was apolitical, the job being based on a broad knowledge of the law as it related to public education).
Working alone as the attorney, Victor along with Rick Smiley (who headed the Board of Ed's negotiation team) helped ensure an unprecedented nine-year stretch of contracts with the Plainfield Education Association (PEA) without lapses, contention or strikes.
In the mid-1980s, I began to attend Grace Episcopal Church at the invitation of a friend who was a member.
After my confirmation in 1985, I was elected by the congregation to the Vestry -- the parish's governing body -- where I served alongside Victor for a number of years.
It was there that I got to observe his lawyerly style up close. Though he did not represent the parish in legal matters, his attention to detail and often probing questions undoubtedly steered us from some blunders.
If no one ever said thank you for that service, I will publicly say it now -- "Thank you Victor, for your service to Grace Church."
But dearer to Victor's heart than serving on the governing body was singing in the choir. Victor was a faithful, long-serving member of the choir and lent real sturdiness to the bass section in the challenging repertoire which is standard fare in Episcopal worship.
He was also an eager supporter of Grace Church's two musical outreach programs of the 80s and 90s: The Plainfield Boy Choir, and its successor, The Plainfield Girlchoir.
In addition to loving biking and hiking, for many years Victor kept several beehives in the spacious side yard of his Hillside Avenue home. The bees frequented the gardens of the homes in the areas and produced wonderful honey.
Lastly, I remember a Thanksgiving dinner Victor and Hilary and Lois Mattson and Cory Storch hosted for a large number of friends and family.
It was quite a crowd and we spent the afternoon and long into the evening enjoying a groaning table of turkey and fixings and then endless desserts.
There were so many people that the enclosed back stoop was pressed into service as an impromptu refrigerator to chill the white wine and craft beer that flowed freely.
It was truly an unforgettable meal, made more so by Victor and Hilary's graciously opening their home.
While a dedicated and competent attorney, I always felt Victor's real sense of freedom came when he was with friends and either hiking or biking.
Plainfield has lost a dedicated public servant. Grace Church has lost a talented voice. And all of us have lost a special friend.
Rest in peace, Victor E.D. King.
NOTE: Condolences may be sent to the family at --17 Bayard Road, Somerset, NJ 08873
Hilary has advised that there will be a memorial service scheduled after the scattered King and Harding families can come together. I will post further information once I get it.
-- Dan Damon [follow]
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