In memory of

James Frederick "Jim" King

April 6, 1934 -  August 8, 2023

After living with Parkinson’s disease for many years, Jim King died peacefully on August 8, 2023.

Predeceased by parents James Hayes King and Agnes Northrop Sharp, and siblings George William King and Ruth Ann King Venieris. Survived by his wife of 57 years, Diane Kathleen Metcalf; children Sarah (Nick Bolden), Peter (Vera Granikov), and Tom (Kate Henderson), and grandchildren Emma, Maude, Vita, Desmond, Isaac, and Ella. Caregivers Miriam Coley and Haregu Ashagre were his lifeline in the last five years, alongside the caring staff at Kensington Gardens. He—and we—could not have done it without you. Thank you.

Born in Moncton NB, Jim discovered chemistry in his early teens and never looked back. He obtained a BSc and PhD from UNB, studying under Charles Wiesner, followed by postdocs at Harvard and Imperial College London. He specialized in organic chemistry, and chose to work on sulphites when he was hired at Western University in 1959. Alongside working in the lab himself, he particularly loved mentoring graduate students. After retiring in 1999, he continued to do research as professor emeritus until he and Diane moved to Toronto in 2012.

Jim was an excellent cook—a foodie long before the term existed—recording new recipe attempts and tweaks to recipes in small black notebooks—just as he did lab notes from his official chemistry experiments. He loved classical music, opera, ballet, theatre and English history, along with puns, comics from Pogo to Calvin & Hobbes, limerics and nonsense verse. He had an encyclopaedic memory: before the rest of the world got google, we had dad. He accepted the slow deprivations of Parkinson’s with grace, focusing on what he could still do and letting others worry about what he couldn’t. He was a loving husband and father, and a kind person. He will be missed.

Donations to Parkinson’s Society or Kensington Health.


(5 of 22)

Duncan Hunter (Long time colleague and friend)

Entered August 10, 2023 from London

I always regretted how we drifted apart but I guess it was inevitable. Jim was my longtime neighbour in the chemistry building. When I had questions, chemistry or otherwise, his was the place to start. Outside of the building, Judy and I greatly enjoyed his company and, of course, Diane’s. I shed a tear and more!

Marilyn Metcalf (Sister-in-law)

Entered August 11, 2023 from Guelph

My sincere sympathy for your loss. Jim was a super brother-in-law

I remember limericks and songs at the cottage, great meals in London and I was accepted by him to the outlaw gang.

MARK WORKENTIN (Former colleague)

Entered August 11, 2023 from LONDON

Diane and family,
I am sorry to hear the passing of Jim, although I am sure it has created mixed emotions for you because of the toll Parkinson's was taking on him over the last years.

I first encountered Jim during my undergraduate days as my Professor in 1983-4 when he taught me Industrial chemistry and later Chem 453 Physical Organic Chemistry. He struck me as brilliant then, but this was reinforced when I joined Western as an Assistant Professor in 1995. Heck- when he had to retire at 65 in 1999 and they said he had 40 years of service meant that he started at 25 after his PhD and two post-docs! He was a wonderful colleague. I especially appreciated that he understood the need and helped evolve long standing traditions in the department to allow us new hires to have more time for family and supporting our working partners. I admired his intellect and appreciation for things outside of chemistry like music, theatre, food and wine. I remember cleaning out old files of his and finding tidbits of things beyond chemistry like wine orders that included his colleagues De Mayo, Wharnoff and others. The picture you posted of Jim telling a story with a glass of wine in his hands is appropriate and the way I will remember him

Diane, you were a joy to know and talk to and thanks for welcoming me into your home for dinners in my early years. May the memories of your shared passions with Jim and your family energize you for continued adventures.

With sympathy,

T K Sham (colleague at Western University)

Entered August 11, 2023 from London Ontario

My condolences to the King's family. . I remember Jim vividly as a graduate student then a junior colleague @ Western. Jim was a respected colleague and a wonderful man

Cheryl OMeara (Secretary and friend)

Entered August 11, 2023 from 39 tweed crescent London Ontario N5X1Z5

Dear Diane and family
I was so sorry to hear about Jim’s passing. He will be missed for sure. We had many good conversations and lots of laughs. We’d talk about everything.
The best part was back in the good old days, he’d leave me a beaker full of pencils to sharpen when I was delivering his mail. Lol. Don’t think that happens anymore. I have thought of him and the rest of the organics I worked with often. They were a good group of Professors for sure. We had fun
With my deepest sympathies Diane.


(5 of 17)