Trucker Buddy International founder Gary King, 61, died Friday, June 8, at his home in Elkhorn, Wis., after an extended illness. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Haase-Derrick-Lockwood Funeral Home, 730 N. Wisconsin St., Elkhorn. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m.
King was born April 23, 1946, in Princeton, Ind. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he drove trucks for more than 30 years before retiring in 1993. In 1992 King, then an owner-operator leased to Dart Transit, began writing postcards to classrooms. This was the beginning of Trucker Buddy, a pen-pal program that supplements the education of elementary students while educating the public about the trucking industry.
“In the 15 years that the Trucker Buddy pen-pal program has been in existence, more than a million young people have learned geography, history and math and improved their communications skills through participation in the program,” says Paul Abelson, a member of the Trucker Buddy advisory board. “They will always have a positive image of trucking and truckers.”
David Grose, a longtime Trucker Buddy volunteer and board member, credits King with giving him an opportunity to make a difference. “Gary found a great way to make a positive difference in the education of children with Trucker Buddy,” Grose says. “By being a Trucker Buddy, not only could I make a difference in the lives of children, but with the attitude of America to trucking, too. My dream now is to see that Gary’s legacy lives on, that we continue to improve the organization and that his dream continues to bring more positive things to light for the industry.”
Survivors include his wife of 35 years, Carol; and children, Melissa King and David King of Elkhorn, and Sarah Paul Crow of Alliance, Ohio. A memorial fund for the family has been set up. Contributions can be sent to Gary King Memorial Fund, c/o Monona State Bank, P.O. Box 6500, Monona, WI 53716.