By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – To residents, Levon and Gloria King, who died July 22 in a plane crash in Harmony Township, Ohio, will be remembered as warm and friendly people who listened and cared for others.
Levon King was mayor from 1999 to 2003, and Southgate’s city administrator from 2005 to 2009. He also was a lawyer, and was an ordained minister, with a theology degree from Yale.
The Kings moved to Dearborn a few months ago to live at Henry Ford Village.
They were active in the music ministry at Allen Park Presbyterian Church, 7101 Park, where their funeral was held Friday.
Visitation was Thursday at Weiss Funeral Home, 7210 Park.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Allen Park Presbyterian Church.
Church member Rachel Marengere said the Kings were incredibly open and loving to everyone they met.
“The Kings were always welcoming new people to our church, and making sure they felt comfortable,” Marengere said. “They shared their gifts of not only singing, but Levon ringing in the bell choir.”
She said she sang with both of them in the church choir.
“They were such incredible people,” she said. “They always made sure to say ‘Hi’ to me, even when I was running around. I will greatly miss them.”
Mayor William Matakas said he knew the Kings for many years.
“They did a lot of things through the church. They helped a lot of people,” he said. “They were active at the community center. He loved to fly.”
Matakas said King built the airplane they died in. He said the plane was Federal Aviation Administration-certified and air-worthy.
Media reports are uncertain what role thunderstorms and lightning in the Harmony Township area played in the crash.
Matakas said three former mayors – Richard Huebler, and the late Gerald Richards and King urged him to run for mayor in 2011.
“I was already thinking about it, but it kind of solidified my thoughts, that maybe the people would be receptive to the ideas I had for the city to try and right itself of the economic problems it was suffering,” Matakas said. “(King) was influential in getting me to run. They were very supportive of my first campaign.”
Matakas said he didn’t know anybody who didn’t think well of the Kings.
“I’m sad to see someone that was so active and interested in living have this accident,” he said. “They lived the way they wanted to.”
They leave behind their daughter Kate Altork of North Carolina and her children Lily and Jordan; son James (Linda) Mush of Wyandotte and their children James W. (Sandy K.) Mush of Wyandotte, Jason D. (Alison J.) Mush of Beverly Hills, and three great grandchildren, and Michael S. (Suzanne) Mush of Fort Smith, Ark., and two great grandchildren; son Paul (Leigh) Mush of San Francisco, and their children Paul Steven, Aimee, Damien and Iliana; SON Michael (Katie) King of Birmingham, and their children Maxwell, Nick and Nina; daughter Martha King and her children Vaughen and Matthew of Ann Arbor; son Jonathan King; daughter Marcie Judge and her children Joshua and Cameron of Indiana.
They also leave Gloria King’s sister Diana (Kostas) Voutsinas of Livonia, and their children Niko and Michael; niece Mary Kay (Wayne) Pryce of Northville, and their children Kati and Steven.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)