John Thomas (Jack) King, Jr. ’50

Dr. John Thomas (Jack) King, Jr., a lifelong resident of Thomasville, went home to be with the Lord on October 18, 2021 after leading an active and full life. Born February 11, 1927 to Dr. John Thomas King, Sr. and Mary Balfour King, he is survived by his wife Clarice Polak King, sons, Mark Charles King and Robert Thomas King (and wife Susan Tanner King), sister-in-law Anne Gatlin King (wife of predeceased brother Dr. William Balfour King) and their children William Michael King (and his wife Anne Douglass King), Marianne Rebecca King and Jan McMinn.

A graduate of Thomasville Public Schools, Dr. King was drafted in WWII toward the end of the war. Entering civilian life, he began training for a career in medicine. He graduated from Davidson College and then graduated from Emory University School of Medicine in 1954. Dr. King specialized in Ophthalmology and met his future wife, Clarice Polak, while training in New Orleans at Tulane University. Jack and his wife then took up a new residence in the U.S. Air Force for a tour of duty.

After serving in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force, Jack returned to Thomasville with his wife in 1961 to practice Ophthalmology with his father and brother in a family medical/dental clinic. During this time, he joined the medical staff of Archbold Memorial Hospital, where he eventually served as Chief of Surgery and later as Chief of the Medical Staff.

Dr. King was a member of the American Medical Association and a Fellow in the American Academy of Ophthalmology. During his Fellowship, he published three articles in national medical journals.

Always active in the Thomasville community, Jack was a member of the Thomasville Rotary Club, presiding as President when the club won “Best Club in the District.” His work as a Rotarian was recognized when he was named a Paul Harris Fellow.

Jack was among the many people who wanted a private school in the Thomasville community. He was founding trustee of Brookwood School and was delighted to serve on a committee of 10 individuals that procured seed money for the formation of the school. Being among the “group of 10”, the school’s subsequent success was a joy to Jack.

Dr. King was a supporter of the Thomasville Music and Drama Troupe. He served as President of the Troupe during it’s early years, and was instrumental in forming the Troupe when the Troupe left it’s birthplace (Thomasville First United Methodist Church) to move to it’s Madison Street location.

Jack was also very active in the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce. He was a Director and Vice President. He served on the Administrative Board and a number of committees, and in 1987 Jack was recognized as “Man of the Year” by the Chamber.

A lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church, Jack served on the Administrative Board in a variety of roles, including Chairman of the Board for three years. Jack loved his church, and in 1985, he published a historical perspective in celebration of the church’s Centennial.

Although medicine was Jack’s calling, photography was his passion. From the early days of film and darkrooms to digital photography and electronic manipulation, he relished and excelled in all of it. For 15 years, he filmed the Thomasville High School football games with his brother, including a year the Bulldogs won a National Championship. He also filmed Where Roses Reign – a video that became the theme for the Garden Club’s annual Rose Shows.

Nearing his retirement from medicine, Jack established Image Makers, a commercial photography business. He enjoyed commercial photography for 9 years. Among local clients was Thomasville Magazine who used his images for four covers and numerous article illustrations. When fully retired, Jack enjoyed woodworking, creating furniture and accessories he often shared with friends.

Dr. John King’s legacy will be forever cherished by his family, friends and patients, and the Greater Thomasville community.

A Memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church on Friday, October 22, 2021 at 11:00 am with Rev. Carrie Myers officiating. A reception will follow in the Social Hall. Visitation will be held on Thursday, October 21st from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Whiddon Shiver Funeral Home Chapel.

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