SUNY Canton mourns death of Harry King, founder of college's air conditioning program
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 2:43 pm

CANTON -- SUNY Canton is mourning the loss of the founder of the college's air conditioning engineering technology program.

Professor Emeritus Harry E. King, Class of 1940, taught at SUNY Canton for 37 years and remained active with the college as part of the Alumni Board of Directors until passing away early on Monday, July 26, at United Helpers’ Maplewood Campus in Canton. He was 90 years old.

"Harry King was one of the college's biggest supporters and advocates for nearly 70 years," said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. "We're lucky to have his legacy live on in so many of us.

King, who grew up in Redwood, graduated in 1940 from the college with a degree in technical electricity. During the next six years, he worked for the George H. Hyde Plumbing and Contracting Co. in Ogdensburg. He married Wilda "Willie" Barton King in 1943. Mrs. King, who also worked for a time at SUNY Canton, died in August 2008 just after the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

He returned to his alma mater in 1946 and started what was then the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program (HVAC). King developed the air conditioning program that prepared students for successful careers in the field.

"After his family, I think his greatest love was teaching young people," said Ronald L. Woodcock, who served as co-chair of SUNY Canton's Centennial Campaign and was a 1959 graduate of King's program. "He took trips to Syracuse with students to show us job opportunities, set up job interviews and see interesting HVAC projects. He exposed his students to the real world of the heating and air conditioning industry, and we are thankful for his dedication in helping all of us achieve much during our lives.

That sentiment was evident in 2008 when alumni, family and friends of King came together early in the year and raised enough funds to name the new air conditioning laboratory after him.

King was honored by SUNY Canton several times throughout his life, including being named Distinguished Alumnus in 1979 and Distinguished Faculty two years later

The year of his retirement, 1983, was commemorated by the campus and the students with the yearbook being named in his honor. Alumni also honored his retirement by establishing the Harry E. King Scholarship that same year. In 2003, SUNY Canton named the annual honors convocation after him.

A long time resident of Canton, King was an active member of the local community. He served as a volunteer board member for United Helpers Nursing Home for 25 years. This month, he was awarded Emeritus status by the organization in Ogdensburg and celebrated for his outstanding commitment to its mission and vision.

His family remains in the Canton area, including his three daughters and two sons-in-law, Barbara King, JoAnne and James Danehy '65, and Martha '74 & '78 and Peter MacArthur, as well as four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at noon on Thursday, July 29, at the First Presbyterian Church of Canton with Rev. Michael P. Catanzaro officiating. Calling hours will be Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lawrence Funeral Home, Canton, where a Masonic Service will be held on Wednesday evening at 7:45 p.m. Burial will be held privately in the Redwood Cemetery.

Those desiring may send memorial contributions to: Harry E. King Scholarship, SUNY Canton College Foundation, Canton, NY or to the First Presbyterian Church of Canton, 17 Park Street, Canton, NY or United Helpers Maplewood Campus, State Street, Canton, NY 13617.

King's full obituary can be found at: