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Monday, December 08, 2008

(Updated) Former NM First Lady Alice King Passes Away at 78

Update: See my later for info on funeral arrangements and the family's requests regarding donations.
KingWe lost another very special one. Former First Lady Alice King, a pioneering advocate for children and families in New Mexico, passed away last night at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque at age 78. She had suffered a stroke on Thursday at the King's home in Stanley, NM. Husband Bruce and sons Gary and Bill were at her side when she passed.

Mrs. King served as New Mexico's First Lady during the three terms Bruce King was governor -- from 1971 to 1975, 1979 to 1983 and 1991 to 1995. She is known for her tireless work on programs for children and families. She founded the New Mexico Children's Foundation in 1992, and she and her husband founded the Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts in 1974. Alice was also a major supporter of the Carrie Tingley Children's Hospital, and a chairwoman of the New Mexico Children's Trust Fund. She was the prime mover and shaker behind the creation of the state's Children, Youth and Families Department -- the first such department in the nation -- and she was instrumental in establishing the New Mexico Girls Ranch in 1979.

Kate Nash at The New Mexican wrote an excellent recap of Mrs. King's life and her many accomplishments, and provides a video of an interview with her conducted earlier this year.

Son Gary King, who serves as New Mexico's Attorney General, issued the following statement:

On behalf of the entire family, I want to thank the many people who have been so supportive and for all their prayers. We will let everyone know about public funeral arrangements as soon as possible. No one could have cared more for all New Mexico children and all of our citizens. We will all miss her dearly.”

Governor Bill Richardson ordered all flags to be flow at half staff in honor of Mrs. King and released this statement:

“This is a sad day for all New Mexicans because we lost a true friend in Alice King. Alice's impact on the state she loved will always be felt, particularly for the vulnerable children who are better off as a result of her compassion and tireless advocacy. Barbara and I will miss Alice dearly, and our prayers are with the King family."

Lt. Governor Diane D. Denish also remarked on the death of one of New Mexico’s most beloved first ladies:

“First Lady King was a true champion of children, youth, and families in New Mexico. She led the fight for our most vulnerable children, dedicating her life to bringing much needed services and programs to victims of domestic abuse. Through her incredible career in public service she has left a legacy of responsibility and care for New Mexico’s families. Her work will continue through the New Mexico Children’s Foundation and the Children, Youth and Families Department. My sympathies and prayers go out to her husband Bruce, their two sons Gary and Bill, and their family.”

NM-03 Representative-Elect Ben Ray Luján made the following statement following the passing of the former First Lady:

"Alice King's passing is a loss for our entire state. Alice King devoted herself to bettering New Mexico and fighting for disadvantaged children. The people of New Mexico will miss Alice King's compassion, but her work and many significant contributions will leave a lasting legacy. My thoughts and prayers are with the King family."

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Brian S. Colòn had this to say:

"New Mexico lost one of it great public servants on Sunday, First Lady Alice King. She was a champion for New Mexico's children and inspired everyone she met. As New Mexico mourns the loss of one of its most compassionate advocates, our thoughts and prayers are with the King family."

NM-01 Representative-Elect Martin Heinrich released this statement:

"With the passing of Alice King, we have lost one of our strongest advocates for New Mexico's children and those most vulnerable. Julie and I join all New Mexicans today in honoring her legacy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Governor King and the entire King family."

New Mexico Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez also weighed in:

“I was saddened to learn of the death of First Lady Alice King. She truly exemplified the meaning of a public servant. We are fortunate that her love of the state and its citizens benefited so many. Her dedication to all New Mexicans, especially the most vulnerable, continued even after she and Governor King left the public arena. Her legacy will live on,” said Senator Sanchez. “My deepest sympathies go out to Governor King and the entire King family.”

December 8, 2008 at 03:13 PM in Democratic Party, Government, Local Politics, Youth | Permalink