Charles Conaway King
December 26, 1929 to October 13, 2023
Charlotte, North Carolina — Charles Conaway King, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away peacefully on Friday, October 13, 2023. His wisdom, gentle spirit, and deep devotion to God and family will be missed by all whose lives he touched.
Born December 26, 1929, in Crockett, VA, Charles was the first son of Hazel Vaught and Kahle King, Sr. Although he would eventually have three brothers and three sisters, he effectively grew up with three sisters, as his first brother came nearly a decade later. He was a prankster as a youth, playing many tricks on his sisters and cunningly side-stepping much of the blame.
An early scholar, Charles graduated from Rural Retreat High School at 16 years old. His first job was at a knitting mill in Wytheville, VA, while he saved to attend college at nearby Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA. Halfway into his studies, his funds ran short, and he moved to Welch, WV, to work as a private investigator for an insurance company. A few years into his tenure there, he responded to a job ad for a family-owned textile mill in Siler City, NC. He was hired in late 1958 and started his career at Hadley-Peoples Manufacturing Company, where he worked for three generations of leaders and rose to the highest non-family position as Chief Financial Officer before retiring in 1994.
Charles’ hiring manager at Hadley-Peoples was impressed by his new employee and wanted to deepen his roots in Siler City. He played matchmaker in introducing Charles to his wife’s cousin, Betty Ann Sizemore. The two had their first date on February 7, 1959. They married 10 months later, on November 22, 1959, at Tysons Creek Baptist Church, where Betty served as pianist, and Charles later served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons and taught Sunday School for many years.
The newlyweds worked and saved to build their home, moving into their ranch-style house on Greenhill Drive in 1963. Their daughter, Dorlisa Dawn, was born several years later, and Betty became a full-time homemaker. Charles worked days and commuted in the evenings to nearby Greensboro, NC, finishing his undergraduate degree at Guilford College in 1966.
Charles next set his sights on earning an advanced degree. Told by the guys wearing light blue in Chapel Hill that he was a bit long in the tooth to start their graduate program, he drove 10 miles farther to Duke University in Durham, where he earned his master’s degree in 1970 and Ph.D. in 1971. Upon receiving his doctorate, Charles moved the family to VA, where he fulfilled his teaching aspirations as an economics professor at Emory & Henry College.
The family missed NC and returned to their home on Greenhill Drive three years later, with Charles resuming employment with Hadley-Peoples. He retired 20 years later after overseeing the sale of the company. Charles moved on to his next avocation: raising beef cattle. The CFO-turned-cattleman enjoyed the outdoors and eventually owned and operated three separate cattle farms, spending his days feeding his cows hay baled in his pastures, mending fences, and conveying cows to the stock market to sell. He was later forced to retire because of health problems that limited his mobility.
At their daughter’s invitation, Charles and Betty moved near her to an apartment in a Charlotte-based senior living community in March 2020 — only five days before COVID-19 hit. After a three-month quarantine, she permanently earmarked Fridays as “Parents’ Day” for lunch dates, doctor appointments, and other outings. They moved to a new senior community near Lake Wylie, SC, two years later. Charles loved gazing out the window to envision a herd of cattle grazing in the backyard or relaxing in his favorite recliner while reading books about miracles. Even as his health waned, his jolly attitude and quick wit made him a favorite among the staff.
Left to cherish Charles’ life are his loving wife of nearly 64 years, Betty, daughter Dorlisa Flur and her husband Peter, and granddaughter Arella. He is also survived by his sister, Anne Clark, and two sisters-in-law, Doris King and Ann King, nine King nieces and nephews, and their families. He is also survived by his wife’s sister, Nancy Williamson, her husband, sister-in-law Belinda Sizemore, four Sizemore nieces and nephews, and their families.
In addition to his parents, Hazel and Kahle King, Sr., Charles was preceded in death by his sisters, Mary Epperly and Josephine Bralley, their husbands, and his younger brothers, Harold King, Donald King, and Kahle King, Jr.
On behalf of her parents, his daughter, Dorlisa, extends special thanks to the staffs at Brightmore of South Charlotte and Lake Wylie Assisted Living, caregivers from Visiting Angels and Agape Care, and doctors and nurses at Tryon Medical Partners.
A service to celebrate Charles’ life will be held at Tysons Creek Baptist Church in Bear Creek, NC, on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at 2:00 p.m., led by Reverend Bob Wachs. A reception will follow in the Family Life Center.
Smith & Buckner Funeral Home of Siler City, NC, is serving the family and provided Charles with his angel wings home from Lake Wylie, SC.
Memorials may be made to Tysons Creek Baptist Church, 10981 Siler City-Glendon Road, Bear Creek, NC 27207.