Fred King, long-serving Okanagan politician, dead at 93

Flags flew half-mast in Penticton Wednesday for long-serving federal politician from the Okanagan Fred King

Fred King

Flags flew half-mast in Penticton Wednesday for long-serving federal politician Fred King, whose commitment to the region was shown in his accomplishments.

King, 93, died at a Penticton hospice on Aug. 31. He was a Second World War veteran and served as the elected member of Parliament for the riding of Okanagan Similkameen starting in 1979, continuing for almost a decade.

“He always met you with a handshake and a smile,” said Dan Albas, a longtime friend of King, who received his endorsement when he was chosen as the Conservative candidate in 2011 for the now-defunct Okanagan Coquihalla riding. “Fred was a mentor and a friend, actually reverse that order.”

King was instrumental in making the deal for the land that currently is where the Penticton campus of Okanagan College sits, was a director with the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation and headed a project in Kaleden to recognize veterans.

Albas credits King for how he got into politics.

“He suggested young people should get involved in the community and one way to do that is through politics. He explained how it changed his life,” said Albas, who is now the MP of the Central Okanagan-Nicola Similkameen. “He impressed upon me how much he enjoyed serving the community in a myriad of ways. He continued to give to others his whole life. I always believed that as his greatest asset, his character and generosity.”

King, who was married to Audrey for 65 years before her death in 2013, still remained heavily involved in the community after his retirement from politics.

“He always had a lot of energy and it was inspirational to see his spunk and passion for the region and community,” said Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit who was at the flag lowering ceremony at city hall on Wednesday. “He was a great personality and certainly will be missed.”