Adolf King, 78

Adolf King, age 78, passed away Wednesday, August 24, 2022. He was born Saturday morning, February 12, 1944. He was delivered by the local midwife, at home in Forest Reserve, St. Patrick County, on the island of Trinidad.

Adolf received his elementary education at Forest Reserve Anglican Primary School and St. Crispin’s School in Woodbrook, Port of Spain. As well as taking his regular academic classes, he enjoyed playing on the soccer and cricket teams. He was the goalkeeper during his time on the soccer team. His coach was the formidable Mr. McAlpine.

Adolf attended St. Stephens College in Princess Town to complete his secondary (high school) education. While at St. Stephens, he was President of the Literary and Debating Society and Head Prefect (an honored leadership position) during his final year. As a child, he dealt with an early speech impediment, and participating in debates helped him overcome those difficulties. He went on to represent the school in public speaking and was winner of the public speaking contest for three consecutive years. He also continued playing the sports he loved in secondary school and was the cricket captain and captain/goalkeeper of the football team. He completed his high school education obtaining a Senior Cambridge and Higher School Certificate with advanced level courses. Adolf always said how much he loved these formative years and how eventually these experiences prepared him for the teaching profession, as well as varied world experiences.

After graduating high school, Adolf taught elementary school, Grade 3, for one semester before he began working as a Process Operator at Federation Chemical – FedChem, a subsidiary of W.R. Grace. There, ammonia sulfuric acid, ammonium sulfate, and urea were produced and processed. Most of his active duties included working as a general operator and ultimately, he was promoted to “A” class, senior operator of the Urea Plant.

In 1967, he left Trinidad for Brighton, England, where he spent a year doing required subjects (math, chemistry, and physics) in preparation for his BS degree. In 1968, he transferred from Brighton to Leicester Polytechnic (now known as De Montfort University), where he majored in Chemistry. As well as his regular studies, he became Vice President of the Student Union, in charge of student affairs. He also participated in various club activities including the Chemical Society Club and was President for one year. He was also active in the Caving and Mountaineering club. His adventures in mountaineering culminated in a 1972 City of Leicester Polytechnic Expedition to Greenland. A team of ten students was formed and was the first ever scientific expedition from the Polytechnic. The objectives of the Greenland Expedition were to carry out a scientific survey on the effects of glaciation on the ecology of Kugssuatsiaq. This qualitative work included the collection of plant specimens for the British and Leicester Museums and the Gronlands Botaniske Undersogelser. During this phase of the work, two new species of plants in the valley were identified. One collection of flowers was given to the Danish and the next to the British Geographical Society in London. Both entities sponsored the expedition.

Following his graduation from Leicester Polytechnic, Adolf attended Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, where he pursued a Master’s Degree in Analytical Chemistry and also obtained the Diploma of Imperial College (DIC) 1973, 1974. He was then accepted into Dr. Gordon Kirkbright’s research group at Imperial College and pursued a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry. Here he started working on analytical techniques for identifying trace metals using the inductively coupled plasmas. He later switched to work on Optoacoustic spectroscopy (photoacoustic spectroscopy) and finally received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry in January 1977.

Following his graduation from Imperial College, he took up a position at the University of Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela, as an Associate Professor of Chemistry. Other work duties in Venezuela included research of steel and coal. After 5 years in Venezuela (1977 -1981), he returned to Trinidad as Manager of Marine and Environmental Analytical Services at the Institute of Marine Affairs. He spent 5 years in Trinidad before accepting a position at the Oak Ridge Research Institute, where he worked as a staff scientist/chemist responsible for all spectroscopic instrumentation and analysis. Once his project was completed, he worked at the International Technology Corporation (ITC), where he did wet chemical analysis of trace metals.

Ultimately, he accepted a Roane State Community College position as Adjunct Faculty, eventually moving to Associate Dean of Math and Science. Later he was Dean of the division, and ultimately Academic Vice President. He was at Roane State for a total of 25 years. He culminated his career with his ultimate love, which was teaching.

Adolf was socially aware and eagerly participated in many charitable events working tirelessly to help whenever he could. An avid traveler, he worked with the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge in Ghana and Mexico helping with medical clinics. He worked with fellow Rotarian, Anita Henderlight, going on a sponsored educational trip to South Sudan, where books and calculators were distributed and where he got to teach Chemistry, his favorite pastime. Along with St. Stephens Episcopal church, he worked in Haiti to secure school infrastructure and provide medical aid to rural areas. He has taken many students to Central America, especially to Costa Rica for cultural exchange experiences. He encouraged exchange student experiences for students both here and abroad, and he hosted many foreign students in Tennessee.

One of his final accomplishments and one that made him very happy was to hold an ORCMA-sponsored music workshop for diverse and minority students in June of this year.

Adolf was preceded in death by both parents, William and Gertrude; siblings, Verrol, Vidol, and Syble; and his beloved son Søren. Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Carol; daughter, Renee; brother, Julian King; sister, Martha Ianthy Carter; and nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to any of the many organizations Adolf was affiliated with, including: the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Oak Ridge Rotary Lunch Club, the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association (ORCMA), St Stephens Episcopal Church, RSCC Foundation, and other local and international groups.

The family will host a Celebration of Life service for Adolf at 3 pm on September 24, 2022, at St. Stephens Episcopal Church. Online condolences may be left at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Adolf, please visit our floral store.

About News Department

Check Also

Melissa Lynn Milton, Clinton

Melissa Lynn Milton, age 51, passed away unexpectedly at her home in Clinton, TN on …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: