I wrote this obituary for my brother, Jason King. In just a few hours we will have his funeral.
Husband. Father. Brother. Son. Pastor. Advocate. Neighbor. Friend.
Today we’ve all gathered together to celebrate the life and ministry of Jason King. We mourn not just because we loved him so much, but because we all know that someone who loved us unconditionally no longer walks among us. We had precisely 16,283 days of him on this earth, but somehow it still feels like we were all robbed. That’s because to know Jason was to be sincerely and earnestly loved and supported by him. In a world of toxic masculinity and dangerous bigotry, he exuded a calm compassion and warmth for everyone around him.
William Jason King was born on February 25th, 1974 in Versailles, Kentucky to a loving and doting single mother — Naomi Kay (Fleming) King. From a young age, she taught him two things — the value of hard work and the importance of treating people fairly. Jason leaned on those two lessons his entire life. His decade as a Boy Scout, his many years in the Woodford County High School Marching Band, and then his thirty years as a deeply devoted follower of Jesus, only served to deepen and expand the core principles of his life.
In 1992, after graduating from Woodford County High School as a Governor’s Scholar, Jason attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky where he earned his undergraduate degree in Physics. While the degree opened doors for Jason to work in several technical capacities throughout his life, ministry was his primary calling. In 2002 he went on to earn his graduate degree in Christian Education and Youth Ministry at Asbury Theological Seminary. Jason often joked that he was the only minister he knew with a physics degree.
Had Jason never turned toward ministry, he never would’ve traveled to Indianapolis where he served as a youth pastor and eventually fell in love with a young woman named Kari (Sophie) Anderson. After marrying Sophie, who was the love of his life, she and Jason moved to Nashville where he served as a Youth Pastor, and eventually to Atlanta where he served as the founding Executive Pastor of Courageous Church. Out of Jason and Sophie’s loving marriage came their two wonderful children, Elana and Josiah. They were his pride and joy and one only has to click around a few times on his Facebook page to see just how much happiness his family brought him.
For the past ten years in Atlanta, Jason quietly helped lead and support some of the most important work in the city combatting human trafficking, racism, and the effects of poverty. In addition to this, Jason was a master carpenter and furniture maker. He was endlessly handy and perpetually helpful. He had a forgiving heart and never held on to grudges. He and Sophie regularly opened up their home to friends to live with them for months and years at a time. Jason loved playing the guitar more than most people know and loved the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team more than most people probably cared to know.