Tom King exemplified civic responsibility

December 1, 2017

The Cape Gazette lost a beloved member of its team this week. The death of Tom King reminds us of the ravages of cancers that take so many of us.

Tom worked just a few years for the Gazette, but he became a friendly face of the paper, which he read religiously since its onset in 1993. King's Ice Cream was among the paper's first advertisers.

Driving the Cape Gazette van to collect from newsstands and honor boxes, Tom carried with him the same ambassadorial spirit he exuded through his 30 years of owning and operating King's. He greeted his customers in the same colloquial mode perfected by Joan Caggiano at Nicola Pizza. He idealized the right stuff for a resort-area business valued by visitors and residents alike.

Tom also exemplified the wisdom in the ancient Chinese book known as the Tao Te Ching: "A good businessman always looks out for the welfare of his community." Tom understood that a thriving community is inherently good for business.

After opening King's in Lewes in 1981, he involved himself in the Lewes Chamber of Commerce.

He remained active as a member and officer up until a week before his death, when he checked on final details for the Christmas Parade that he chaired for 35 years.

He served on the Lewes Planning Commission and was a 13-year member of Beebe Medical Center's board of directors. There, working with many committed people, he developed a deeper understanding of the importance of volunteer work.

We're not a strong community by any accident.

There are so many people who value this place and want to be involved in making it the best place it possibly can be.

Tom and all of them took seriously the famous statement, paraphrased slightly here, made by President John F. Kennedy in his inauguration speech: Ask not what your community can do for you; ask what you can do for your community.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.