Harold Edward King, Sr.

Harold Edward “Bruh” King Sr.

March 14, 1939 – March 9, 2019

“The Few, The Proud, The Brave”

Rev. Sherman Dunmore - Officiating

Harold Edward King Sr., affectionally known as “Bruh” to some and “Brother” to others, faced the final challenge in his life the same way he did all others, without fear. Harold entered eternal rest on March 9, 2019 after a long battle with cancer.

Harold was born on March 14, 1939, in Winter Garden, Florida, to the late Dallas James King and Dorothy Rollins. Shortly after Harold was born, Dallas moved his family to Utica, New York. Harold attended Brandegee, Kernan, and Utica Free Academy. As a teenager, he met and fell in love with a beautiful girl named Ella Mae Deese. Harold Married Ella in 1959, at Hope Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church located on Catherine Street, while the Late Rev. Aubrey was the Pastor. Harold and Ella were married for 45 years, until her untimely passing. Harold was an active member of Hope Chapel A. M. E. Zion church. He was a member of the Men’s Club, and often funded the Sunday School Hot breakfast. Harold remained active until his health no longer permitted him to do so.

As they were starting their family, Harold decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He made this decision with a few of his closest friends. They made a pact, six of them (Billy Frances, Nova Lee Smith, Howard Stubbs, Joe Yarbrough, and one other young man, whose name is not recorded), and they entered Corps together. By way of Syracuse N.Y. to Paris Island SC, Harold was officially inducted and proceeded to Boot Camp at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Harold often reminiscedabout Boot Camp, because it was there that he often found himself challenged. Harold once talked about the time when one of his Sargent’s who would randomly walk up to you and punch you in stomach without reason or notice, chose Harold as his punching bag. Harold remarked, “It never bothered me, because I could take a punch, so I stood there and let him tire himself out. Harold then added, after enduring things like that, when you come out of boot camp you believed that “there weren’t any two people you couldn’t whoop at the same time”. Corporal King served his country from 1959 to 1965; 4 years of active duty and 2 years in the Reserves and received an honorable discharge.

As a father and a provider for his family, Harold was employed through the years in several different capacities. He worked at Brandegee School, as a Substitute teacher, the Utica School District as a Bus Driver, General Electric, and Annsville Youth Center, where he traveled up and down the 411 roadways to the Adirondacks near Watertown, and to NYC. As a counselor, Harold was often responsible for transporting troubled youth throughout New York State. He was also employed by New York Telephone Company, Kelsey Hayes, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the Utica School Board of Elections as an inspector. Harold was also an entrepreneur. He owned and operated an Upholstery shop on Mohawk Street, and helped his grandfather Hardy Bowens repair the fabric on the pews at Hope Chapel on South Street in Utica, NY. He also owned a car detail shop, where he meticulously cleaned and restored vehicles. 

Harold knew how important it was, during the late 40’s and early 50’s for black folks to stick together.  During this time the only safety and security that blacks were afforded, was the protection they were willing and able to provide for one another. 

Harold was regarded by community members as a strong and fearless man, and one who emboldened others to be fearless, especially young black males. His friends called him “A people’s champion”, because he had the strength and bravery of a soldier, even as a youth, which meant others could draw their strength from him.

Harold cared deeply about the plight of others, and worked alongside community leaders like Carol Crooms, Larry Taylor, Harold McCleod, and Mae Francis Rucker, for the sole purpose of organizing black folk and teaching them to work together and eventually strengthen themselves. Harold often talked about the work he and others collectively did to better their own community, organizing and establishing coalitions like the Institute of Black Awareness, while supporting other entities,like the Screaming Eagles. The Screaming Eagles won every competition they ever participated in, including the annual contest at Macy’s in New York City. Harold often traveled with various organizations providing security to ensure that the women and children who traveled felt safe.  Harold also served as an assistant to Utica’s Local Chapter of Congress of Racial Equality, (CORE) when Larry Taylor served as the local Chairman.

There was nothing that happened in the lives of black people in the City of Utica that Harold and his team were not notified about. They helped with every type of need including: feeding the hungry, paying utility bills for those that fell on hard times, posting bail after individuals were arrested, finding housing for those that were evicted, purchasing appropriate clothing for aloved one’s funeral, and assisting those with medical emergencies as they were rushed to the hospital. 

Harold and his core group of community organizers, wanted to do everything they could to assist, support the black progress, while simultaneously lessening the struggle for black people during the Civil Rights Era. Harold was also instrumental in helping those in the inner city see more than their current circumstances, by taking 40-50 children and chaperones to various cities, making it possible for them to attend professional football and basketball games. Lastly, one of the most talked about events in the City of Utica during this time, was the annual community Christmas Parties that Harold provided.

Through the years, Harold and Ella worked tirelessly to instill their three core values in their children: Faith in God, Family First, and Academic Excellence. Harold believed in you even if you didn’t know how to believe in yourself. He and Ella created an incentive program called the “The Graduation and Moving Up Ceremony”, for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

With family as the centerpiece of his existence, Harold believed that there was no battle he could not win, and he was always“Dressed to Defend” his name and honor. Harold loved his hats, suits, and dress shoes. He rarely wore a pair of sneakers.

One of his last endeavors was to ensure that his great-grandchildren would be able to think strategically as they faced life’s challenges. He started and funded the “Chess Club”, for his great-grandchildren and asked his Nephew Larry Goodman to serve as their instructor. The only time Harold ever sought the assistance of an expert outside of his own family, was if no one in the family, had the knowledge, skill or expertise necessary to complete the task. Harold was a true Leader who loved his family and his community.  

Celebrating his life and home going are his loving children Frieda Rodgers, Harold (Darlene) King Jr., Stephanie and Martina king all of Utica, NY, Kiyanna (Gligo) Starcevic, of Latham NY, and Dorthea (Samuel) King-Simpson of Rochester, NY., Son-In-Law TJ Borawski of Williamstown MASS.; Brothers: Donald King of Syracuse, NY, and Bobbie (Mytsooko) King of St. Thomas Virgin Islands.; God Children:Audrey, Arthur, and Tiffany Pearson, all of Utica, NY. Reggie Pearson of New York City, NY. Trina Ceaser, Rock Hill SC, and Niomi Jones of Kingsport, TN; Sisters In-Law, ArnetteJefferson, of Utica NY., and Doris (James) Robinson of Birmingham Al.; Grandchildren: Louie Olive of Tarpon Springs FL, Shaquita Rodgers, Shamika Rodgers, Doneilous King Sr., Dallas King, Dante King, Denicqua Holmes, Donecia King, Deandre Buchanon, and Claudette Dixon, all of Utica, NY; Katrina King of Ocala FL, Sylvanus Jones of Baltimore MD, and Niomi Jones of Kingsport, TN; Great-Grandchildren: Aylayna Huxley and Olivia Huxley of Sherill, NY., Ann Marie Olive and Isaiah Olive of Tarpon Springs, FL., Yahira Jones and Saraya Jones of Baltimore, MD., EmmauelKing, Kiara King, and Damari King, of Ocala FL., Zavion Jonesof Kingsport TN., Rosaella Starcevic of Latham NY., and Komeja Green, Dominick Borawski, Jason Borawski, Jacob Boarawski, Niyanna Boarawski, and Lynneiah Borawski, all of Williamstown MASS. Special Friends: Joseph Yarbrough, Sonny Peterson, Ezell Hawkins, Larry Taylor (Amefika Geuka), Jean Davis, and Jean P. Williams who was a wonderfulconfidant, and companion to Harold, until his passing. God Sister: Ernestine Wilson of Stone Mountain GA.

Very close cousins who were more like his brothers, Charles Pearson, and Jessies Bell of Utica, NY., and a Host of very special nieces and nephews who were all uniquely his favorite.

Harold believed that a community should take care of its own, and he loved others as if they were in his bloodline, and his own, especially George Buchanon, William Thornton, Allen Swain, Milagros Roman, and Ashley Mayo, Irene Williams, Jayne Arrington, Erstella Bell, Lareka Hill, Shawn Hill, Tashiona Hill, Damare’ Hill, Lamyia Maye, and Cadiricus Maye.

Harold was predeceased by his parents Dallas and Dorothy (Rollins) King, daughters Shelly Marie King and TarajaBorowski, and granddaughter Martina Shelnore Wooten.