Leland A. King, retired Assistant to the Superintendent of the Olathe School District, died July 14, 2018 at home in Lenexa, Kansas. He was 87.
Leland was born February 2, 1931 in Finney County, Kansas to Letson and Goldia (Swafford) Burns. Goldia died when he was 22 days old. His maternal aunt, Anna Bernice (Swafford) King and her husband William P. King adopted Leland.
In 1949, he graduated from Friends Haviland Academy. While attending Oklahoma Panhandle State University he met Evelene Hopkins. They were married August 24, 1951 at The Guymon Oklahoma Church of the Nazarene. They had two children, Art and Gina.
After earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Oklahoma Panhandle State University in 1953, he went on to earn a Master’s Degree from Fort Hays State University. He then undertook Post-MS Graduate courses at Emporia State University. In 1998, MidAmerica Nazarene University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Mr. King began his career in education as an Elementary Teacher in Walsh, Colorado and Garden City, Kansas. In 1960, he became the principal at Halstead Elementary School. After 5 years in Halstead, he and the family moved to Olathe where he served as principal at Olathe Junior High. In 1967, he helped to open Santa Fe Trail Junior High. Of all his work in education, his time as a junior high principal was his favorite. In 1974, he took the job of Assistant to the Superintendent for Olathe Schools and remained there until he retired in 1992. For the academic year of 1994 to 1995 he was the interim Assistant Superintendent for Grandview, Missouri school district.
Not only was he influential in helping to create the excellent educational system in Olathe, Leland served on many different boards for the Church of the Nazarene and other local organizations. Many of these years he served on multiple boards simultaneously. He was a member of the board for College Church of the Nazarene for 45 years, the Kansas City District Advisory board for 36 years, a member of the board of trustees for MidAmerica Nazarene University for 28 years. Other organizations that benefited from his leadership include Nazarene Bible College, Church of the Nazarene General Board, Olathe Arts Council, and multiple educational organizations on the local, state and national levels.
King was preceded in death by all four of his parents, 16 siblings—13 from his Burns family and 3 from his King family. He is survived by his wife, Evelene of Lenexa, Kansas, his son Art of Lawrence, Kansas and his daughter, Gina Jacobsma of Shawnee, Kansas. He is also survived by his 3 grandchildren, Jeff (Erin) Schwenk of Parkville, Missouri, David Schwenk of Shawnee, Kansas and Sachi King of Sydney, Australia.
Memorials are suggested to the College Church of the Nazarene Library Fund, Olathe, KS.