A Message from the Director
WDVA Honors Former Director,
John M. King - 1948 - 2021
By WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos
On January 26, 2021, John M. King lost his battle with cancer. John was a Vietnam Veteran who believed the sun rose and set with his wife Joy, and lived for his sons, his grandchildren and his entire family.
Appointed by Governor Locke, John led WDVA from 1997 to 2008 with tenacity and vigor. He was active not only with his colleagues in Governor Locke’s cabinet, but also with leaders across the country as an officer of the National Association for State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA). Washington State even hosted the NASDVA annual conference in Seattle in 2005, allowing WDVA to showcase all our state had to offer.
During his tenure, two major milestones were achieved in our State Veterans Homes Program.
In 2001, John saw an opportunity to expand WDVA’s long term care services east of mountains, when a Spokane area hospital decided to get out of the nursing home business. The building, and all the equipment, was for sale. John’s power of persuasion and tireless advocacy to legislative leaders led to the purchase of the building. The Spokane Veterans Home was opened soon after and was the ‘nose in the camel’s tent’, as John liked to say, for WDVA’s provision of services in Eastern Washington. Today we have expanded far beyond the walls of the Veterans Home with facilities like the State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake and the Spokane Regional Veterans Service Center.
At our Port Orchard Veterans Home (it was still Retsil during John’s time at WDVA!), John led the team designing a new nursing care building. The goal of the project was to provide a unique design, giving every resident the feel of a private room, while still meeting the requirements of the Federal VA State Veterans Home Construction Grant Program. The new building replaced buildings 9 and 10 and offers 240 beds to veterans and their spouses or widows, and it met the LEED Gold requirements, the first time a nursing home had been built to these strict environmental standards.
There are many other contributions John made to our agency. John was a mentor and a friend. His family and friends can be proud of the legacy he left as Director of YOUR Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.
Yours in service,
OBITUARY - John M. King - January 26, 2021
Olympia, Washington - John King, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend passed away at home, at the age of 73.
He will be remembered for his life-long commitment to public service, his dedication to veterans, love of the outdoors and most of all, his love of family.
John is survived by his wife of 48 years, Joy & two sons, seven grandchildren, six siblings and 21 nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at Mt. Tahoma National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be directed to:
Nineline Veterans Services, 5013 Pacific Hwy E, Suite 21, Fife WA 98424
More information at: www.forest-funeralhome.com