Billy ‘Donn’ King
June 22, 2011
Billy “Donn” King, 79, of Faith, SD, passed away on Wednesday evening, June 15, 2011, at the IHS Hospital in Eagle Butte, SD.
Donn was born April 10, 1932 at the King homestead in Plainview SD. His mother, Marguerite (Burney), was a teacher and his father Elmer (Tookie) was a rancher. Marguerite and Tookie lived on the Hamley place near Cheyenne River for 22 years where they raised two boys, Donn and Dee. Donn attended country schools and two years in the Sturgis school system. He started at the Faith High School as a sophomore where he went on to graduate in 1951.
Donn worked at his dad’s ranch until he married his high school sweetheart, Mary Lou Escott, on Feb. 14, 1952. Donn and Mary Lou began their new life together living in an old log house 15 miles south of Plainview. They migrated north to Usta to what now is the Chad Escott ranch. Moving to Faith they lived in various houses until 1958 when they purchased Joy Short’s place on the southeast corner of town. They built and added on to the basement house from 1965 to 1972.
On May 5, 1953, Donn and Mary Lou celebrated the birth of their first child, Pamela “Dawn” King. Three years later, on Feb. 19, 1956, a son was born, Zane Scott King; and three years after that on July 3, 1959, a daughter Kelly Kaye King finished out the family. In 1970 Donn and Mary Lou took into their home Kevin Koch when Kevin’s parents were killed in an auto accident. Kevin stayed with the King family until he graduated from high school in 1975.
Donn and Mary Lou owned and ran a butcher shop and saddlery company before purchasing the Oasis Longhorn Cafe in 1978. Donn worked various jobs which included assisting veterinarian Dr. Wayne Sletten. Donn loved to work with livestock and broke numerous horses along with numerous bones. One lifetime achievement that Donn was very proud of was that he personally pregnancy-checked over 250,000 head of cattle in his lifetime. Donn and Mary Lou bought Granny’s Cafe in 1996 and ran it for almost 10 years. In September 2005, they held a going out of business auction and that was the last time King’s Highway Cafe would open the doors.
Donn was preceded in death by his father, Tookie, his mother, Marguerite, and his beloved wife of 55 years, Mary Lou. Donn is survived by his brother Dee and Dee’s wife Kaye; his daughter, Dawn Pohlman and her husband Floyd; Zane King and his wife Darlene, his youngest daughter, Kelly Wagner and her husband Duane; and Kevin Koch and his wife Sara; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; and his brother-in-law, Gene Escott.