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Don and Helen King

Helen Anna (Roehr) King and Nera Don King.

Comanche County, Kansas.
Helen Anna (Roehr) King and Nera Don King

Nera Don King, born Jan 9, 1893, was the son of Robert and Nancy King of Comanche County, Kansas. The Kings were early day settlers in this county. Don was one of eight children. His brothers were Foy, Rufus, Frank and James. His sisters were Effie, Ada and Lou Verta. The children grew to adulthood in Comanche County.

Don was an active participant in World War I and made a good record for heroism. He volunteered for service and served with the 165th Infantry, Rainbow Division. He was wounded in battle July 14, 1918, at Champagne, Marne, and narrowly escaped death later when the ship he was on was torpedoed in the North Sea by a German submarine. He was one of thirty-one survivors in the water several hours before they were rescued, clinging to a life raft.

Helen Anna Roehr was born July 23, 1901, at Bushton, Kansas. She came to this county in 1913 in a covered wagon with her parents Henry E. Roehr and Lillie A. Charles. Mrs. Roehr was born November 17. 1876, in Dixon, Illinois and Died July 23, 1954. Mr Roehr was born in Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin on September 26, 1876 and departed this life March 14, 1950. The family settled on a half section of land which they had bought six miles northwest of Coldwater. There were 10 children in this family: Helen Anna, born July 23, 1901; Chester Arthur, born September 25 1902; Florence P., born January 3, 1904 and died Febuary 3, 1904; Irene Myrtle, born November 29, 1907; Alford Alfonso, born December 31, 1908; William Frederick, born May 30, 1911 and died September 2, 1911; Newborn (not named), born November 27, 1912 and died November 29, 1912; Lola Doris, born Jan 1, 1913 and died March 3, 1919; Lucy Lillian, born March 21, 1915; and Henry Cecil, born May 13, 1916 and died May 16, 1916.

Don King and Helen Ann Roehr were married November 13, 1920, in Greensburg, Kansas; Probate Judge A.N. Reed officiated. To this union were born four children: Herbert Floyd, born July 31, 1921; Neva Pauline, born Jan 20, 1924, Nada Darlene, born March 28, 1931 and Richard Keith, born November 21, 1932. They moved to Coldwater from the farm in 1936. Soon his health began to fail, but he was never heard to complain. At the time of his passing, he was the owner and operator of a recreation parlor in which he took great pride. He did not allow profanity, gambling or drinking in his place of business. He died June 17, 1947 at his home - the result of cancer.

Helen was ever faithful to Don in his illness. After his death, she became a practical nurse helping all in need. She cared for sick people in their homes or hers -- even delivering babies without a doctor's assistance. She began working the night shift at the Comanche Hospital when it opened August 14, 1950. In fact she worked there five days before its formal opening. She retired December 1, 1971, the only employee who had worked there continuously since its opening. Heres is a record of devotion, skilled helpfulness and love for others, which endeared her to all with whom she has come in contact.

She is a member of the Methodist Church, American League Auxilary, B.P.W., Civic Improvement Club and J.U.S. Club. One of the highlights of her life was being chosen the first Woman of the Year by the B.P.W. in 1975-76.

She now lives in Pioneer Lodge in Coldwater.

By Rachel Booth, published on page 485 of Comanche County History, 1982.

The Western Star, June 27, 1947.

N. D. King, Veteran Of World War I, Dies

Had Been in Ill Health For More Than a Year

Funeral services for N. D. King, who passed away in this city Tuesday of last week, were held at 2:30 o'clock at the Methodist church last Friday and were in charge of Rev. Oscar Matthew, the pastor.

Mr. and Mrs. Gurney T. Hadley sang "Ivory Palaces" and "Let Me Rest on Thee," accompanied on the organ by Mrs. Hobart McMillen. Burial was in Crown Hill cemetery. The active pall bearers were Ernest Harris, Felix Wasinger, Victor Willard, Donald Nicholas, John Barlow and Bob Lees, all veterans of World War II. The honorary pall bearers were H. H. Kopke, Clarence Demuth, F.J. Keesee, O. T. Logan, Clarence Whelpley, Charles W. Burt, Vern Cooper and George Thompson, all veterans of World War I.

Mr. King was buried with military honors, the firing squad being composed of George Sooter, Ronald Cullins, John Deewall, John Burt, Bob Chambers and Clair Parcel. Taps were sounded by Norman Butcher. Arlie Gray and Ralph Griffith acted as color bearers and Bob Whelpley and Ross Beeley as color guards.


Nera Don King, son of Robert and Nancy King, was born January 9, 1893, at Comanche City, Kans. He departed this life June 17, 1947, at his home in Coldwater, Kans., at the age of 54 years, 5 months and 8 days.

He was united in marriage with Miss Helen Roehr November 3, 1920, at Greensburg, Kans. To this union four children were born - two sons and two daughters: Herbert King of St. Petersburg, Fla., Richard King, Coldwater, Mrs. Neva Brown of Coffeyville, Kans., and Darlene of Coldwater.

Don, as he was known to his many friends, volunteered for service in World War I and was registered in from Buffalo, Okla. He served with the 165th Infantry, Rainbow Division. He was wounded in battle July 14, 1918, at Champagne, Marne, and again narrowly escaped death later when the ship he was on was torpedoed in the North Sea by a German submarine. He was in the water several hours before he was rescued. While serving in the A. E. F. he was as many are, brought face to face with the reality of life and death. Here, he said, he renewed his faith in Christ and felt a change come into his life. During his recent illness he renewed his faith and consecration and left his testimony that all was well with him and his Lord.

His only regret was to be taken from his family and friends here on earth, but that he would wait with expectant faith to meet again in a better world.

Although his health was impaired and his recent illness was quite extended, he was a patient sufferer. He was never heard to complain, but was always appreciative of every little act of kindness.

Don has always made Coldwater his home, having lived on a farm near here until the family moved to Coldwater in 1936.

At the time of his passing he was the owner and operator of a recreation parlor in which he took great pride that he operated a clean place. Very recently he remarked that he was proud of the fact that he did not allow profanity, gambling or drinking in his place of business. Even though it might cost him the friendship of some people he felt it was worth it. This speaks of the fine spirit of his life. For he was a lover of friends, and counted friendship above any other material value. He was also heard to say that he thought he had as many friends as any other man in the county, and that he prized them above material values. He was very fond of young people.

He was a member of the American Legion and the V. F. W. of Coldwater. At the age of seven he was baptized and united with the Presbyterian church. He was a man of his word and was a kind and loving father and husband.

He is survived by his wife and four children and by one brother, Foy King of Bartow, Fla.; two sisters, Mrs. Beatrice McBride of Los Angeles, calif., and Mrs. Ada Kearns of Hopewell, Kans.; two grandchildren, Jody and Donnie Brown of Coffeyville, Kans.; and by many friends. the sorrowing relatives have the sincere sympathy of all.

Also see:

Letter from Donnie King, August 23, 1918, written before being wounded in battle in France..

Letter from Donnie King, November 1, 1918.

Letter from Donnie King, dated August 29, 1918.

Herbert Floyd King, son of Nera Don and Helen (Roehr) King.

Off-site links (will open in a new browser window):

S.S. Tuscania - Private Nera D. King was a survivor of the sinking of the S.S. Tuscania on the evening of February 5th, 1918, as shown by this ship's roster of Camp Travis Detachment #1 (Combined Forces of the 90th Division, 357th Infantry and 165th Depot Brigade). Thanks to Steve Schwartz for providing this link to information on his S.S. Tuscania web site.

Homer J. Clements, son of Mr. and Mrs. M. H. Clements of Sun City was one of the survivors of the ill-fated Tuscania. In 1916 he went to Idaho and purchased a home. When the call came for engineers he responded and was enlisted in Company F, 20th Engineers, on Dec. 2, 1917. This was the so-called "lumber jack" regiment it was destined to get out timbers for the Army. He was immediately transferred to Washington, D. C. and went over on the Tuscania. When the news came of the sinking of the ship, his parents and friends feared the worst, but on Sunday noon his parents received a telegram from the Adjutant General's office stating: "Officially reported that Homer J. Clements was saved from Tuscania." -- "WAR STRIKES HOME: Raymond Roessler Among the Missing. Thos. J. Clements Reported Saved.", The Barber County Index, February 13, 1918.

The Final Voyage - Kansas

The Sinking of the Tuscania

TSS Tuscania - An American History

Photo: the Tuscania

HMS Tuscania: American Monument on the Mull of Oa

Map of the sinking of the Tuscania

History of the Sinking of the Tuscania

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above obituary for N.D. King to this web site!

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