Gary King

Gary Dean King, 73, of Urbandale, was called to join his wife, Denise, who he so dearly missed, on June 12.

Gary was born on March 3, 1947, to Lee and Gladys King, of Churdan.

He spent his childhood on the family farm, participating in 4-H and raising animals. Gary attended Paton-Churdan schools, graduating in 1965. 

Gary went on to attend Simpson College, earning a B.A. in law enforcement education in 1973. During that time, he also worked for the Milwaukee Railroad. 

Also, during his time at Simpson and in Indianola, he started getting involved in hot air-ballooning. Gary earned his commercial LTA rating in 1978 and became heavily involved in the sport of ballooning, going on to help organize/run/participate in some of the biggest, best and coolest events around the world, including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. His love of the sport continued throughout his life, always sharing it with anyone who wanted and handing it down to many, including his sons, family and friends. 

Gary went on to work many jobs, including corrections, rehabilitation and social services. He was married to Denise in 1983. They had two sons: Christopher King, 36, and Mitchell King, 31, both of Urbandale. Gary retired from the state of Iowa in 2009.

Gary did not stay retired for long, going on to work jobs at FedEx, Home Depot and the Civic Center of Des Moines for many years. He will be remembered for many things, such as his love of cars, trains, animals and absolute adoration of his grandchildren, along with his smile, laughter, eloquence and vast knowledge.  

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Lee and Gladys King; his wife, Denise Ann (Collins) King; siblings Wayne King, Cynthia (King) Bierman; and too many friends. 

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Christopher and Kristy King, their children, Asa Wayne and Elouise Breann; son Mitchell King; sister and brother-in-law Jim and Darlene (King) Woltz; niece Kate (Matt) Vukich; brother-in-law Calvin Bierman; sister-in-law Karla King; niece Lauren (Schyler) Bardole; nephew Taylor King; sister-in-law Diana (Mark) Bourret; nephew John (Carrie) Bourret; sister-in-law Dory (Ross) Johnson; nephews Collin and Gavin Johnson; niece Emily Johnson.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. June 26 at Glendale Cemetery (overlooking the pond), 4909 University Ave., Des Moines. All are welcome. Casual dress is recommended. Shorts, hats and favorite balloon T-shirt encouraged. 

A memorial flight is being planned for a later date. Announcements will be made via social media. 

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to be made in his honor to The Balloon Training Academy 501c3 nonprofit. Donation information can be found at

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