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Jeffrey Hamilton King, 65

May 12, 2011

Jeffrey Hamilton King, 65, step-son of Donald M. MacIsaac of Rochester Mills, died unexpectedly of natural causes March 15, 2011, at his home in Gaithersburg, Md., after visiting his terminally- ill brother, Timothy H. King, locally three days before.

Mr. King was born Dec. 21, 1946, in White Plains, N.Y., a son of the late Hamilton and Bettye (Huntley) King, both of whom were trained as teachers at Oswego State College, Oswego, N.Y.

He attended the public schools in North Syracuse, N.Y., through seventh grade; junior high school at the Keith School in Indiana, and graduated in 1964 from Punxsutawney Area High School. He spent his freshman year of college at West Chester State College, West Chester, then transferred to Harpur College, Binghampton, N.Y., now the State University of New York (SUNY) Binghampton.

To earn money to help defray college expenses, Mr. King washed dishes at a resort in Speculator, N.Y., one summer and at a hotel in West Chester during a college semester to earn his room and board. Later, he was trained as a heavy-equipment operator and drove earth-moving pans on a highway construction project out West. He had union papers from the International Union of Operating Engineers, in Warren, and he also had Merchant Mariners documents with ratings for Ordinary Seaman, Wiper and Steward’s Department and worked on a Bethlehem Steel ore boat on the Great Lakes as an ordinary seaman another summer.

Mr. King earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and English from SUNY Binghampton. Subsequently, he was awarded a Fullbright Fellowship to study philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, from 1980-81.

Upon his return, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at SUNY Binghampton. He was fluent in German, and in subsequent years, traveled extensively in Europe, both for work and for pleasure. The experience and skills he learned there were extremely helpful in his work with the German Marshall Fund, Washington, D.C., where he worked for several years after teaching at Colorado State University at Colorado Springs and at Empire State College (SUNY) in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

A major professional interest of Mr. King's was in devising programs to bridge the divide between high school and work for American high school students. Starting at the German Marshall Fund, but continuing through Euro-Net and other avenues as well, he worked actively until his untimely death trying to focus governmental and public attention on programs that would give high-schoolers significant technical work experience while in school, coupled with post-secondary training at high-quality technical schools that would certify the skills learned, so that well-paid jobs would be available to the graduates.

His vision of School-to-Work programs was in part inspired by European models, but was also rooted in his own personal struggles and his belief that all young Americans, whether college-bound or not, had a right to significant education that would lead to good employment opportunities. He worked tirelessly on that project from his base in the Washington, D.C., area for many years, and was still devoted to the work when he died at his desk. He was the author of many articles on subjects relating to School-to-Work, and was sought after as a consultant by many governmental agencies at the international, national and state levels.

In addition to his step-father, surviving relatives include his wife, Heidi Cherenson King; a daughter, Francesca King of Gaithersburg; briefly by his brother, Timothy H. King; a half-sister, Jennifer L. MacIsaac; a half-brother, Bruce M. MacIsaac; and step-mother, Joyce Eppler MacIsaac, all of Rochester Mills; a nephew, Justin Wilkinson of State College; and a niece, Olivia MacIsaac of Hilton Head, S.C.

In addition to his parents, Mr. King was preceded in death by two uncles, Harold and Cecil Huntley; two aunts Evelyn Huntley and Ruth Huntley Greenleaf; and a cousin, Peggy Humphrey.

A memorial service was held in Gaithersburg.

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