Sheila M. King (Malone) A lifelong resident of Cambridge until moving into a skilled nursing facility in Needham last year, Sheila Malone King passed away peacefully at age 87 on January 13. Her life was enriched by her passion for reading, writing, liberal politics, travel, nature, family, and most of all, her beloved husband, Bill. The daughter of J. B. and Catherine B. "Totty" Malone, Sheila was born at Mount Auburn Hospital on July 15, 1932. Her father disappeared from her life a few years later; and Sheila and her mother lived with friends in a variety of Cambridge locations during her early years. She graduated in a class of 12 girls from the Buckingham School in 1950. That same year, with her mother's marriage to widower Louis Lyons, then Curator of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, Sheila not only gained a loving father figure for the next three decades but also four siblings, a gift to the only child of a single mother. She was proud to attend Radcliffe College as a scholarship student, graduating in 1954. On a blind date in the spring of her freshman year, she met Harvard classmate William B. King, who became a persistent suitor, a principal extra-curricular activity at college, and, in July 1955, her husband. Sheila spent only three of her 87 years living outside of Cambridge: one year immediately following college working for a small New York City publishing firm, the next year as a young Navy wife in San Diego, and this past year at North Hill in Needham as her health declined. When Sheila and Bill returned to Cambridge from the West Coast in 1956, she joined the faculty of her alma mater Buckingham School, teaching 5th and 6th graders. Her career path changed in 1960 when the first of her three children was born (Stephen, followed by Rachel in 1963 and Christopher in 1965). Over the ensuing years, Sheila juggled full-time motherhood with a variety of part-time responsibilities, including working as an editorial assistant for the American Journal of Child Psychiatry and as a busy community volunteer. In addition to being an active participant in her children's schools, Sheila also volunteered for the "good government" political organization Cambridge Civic Association and several other Cambridge nonprofits, including the Cambridge Guidance Center, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, and – dearest to her heart – Cambridge Camping Association, of which she was board president for a decade. She was an active alumna of both Buckingham School and Radcliffe College, serving terms as a Buckingham trustee and president of the school's Alumnae Association. On the occasion of her 55th reunion from Radcliffe, Sheila was presented with the Radcliffe Institute Distinguished Service Award. In the 1980s, following 11 consecutive years as a parent volunteer at her sons' school, Roxbury Latin, she became the second woman (and the first mother) ever to serve as a Trustee in the history of the school, which was founded in 1645. In 1974, Sheila and Bill acquired 30 acres of land and a small 1905 cottage in Phillipston, MA, which Sheila called her "wooden tent." They spent many happy weekends and summers there until her health no longer permitted. Even as they travelled around the world in later retirement years, the house in Phillipston remained Sheila's oasis; there she designed and nurtured flower and herb gardens, studied birds and wildlife, and read countless books. Sheila is survived by Bill, her husband of 64 years; by their three children: Stephen King (Mindy Aldridge) of Bryn Mawr, PA; Rachel King (Mark Mansoor) of Newton; and Christopher King (Tara King) of Bellevue, WA; by seven grandchildren: Will, Sam, Robb, Hannah, Matty, Henry, and Piper; and by two step-grandchildren: Katharine Mancini and Matthew Mansoor. She is also survived by her stepbrother, John Lyons, of Mt. Airy, MD, and by many nephews and nieces. She was predeceased by her step-siblings Richard Lyons, Margaret "Mard" Ford, and Thomas Lyons. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 25, at 11 a.m., at Storey Chapel in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. Memorial contributions may be made in Sheila's name to Cambridge Camping Association, 99 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139.
To send flowers to Sheila's family, please visit our floral section.