David M. King’s interest in firefighting began at a young age, following in the footsteps of his father, a charter member of the Springs Fire Department. He rose through the ranks to chief in 2015, and was known for putting the safety of the members first and providing the best service possible. He led by example, his colleagues said, participating in as many training exercises as he could to keep up with the latest techniques and promoting the importance of upgrading equipment.
His time as chief was cut short when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2015. He was in the midst of planning the department’s 50th anniversary celebration the following month when he became ill with cancer. It had meant a lot to him to be at the helm during the big anniversary. His brother, Clarence (Kelly) King III, a member of the department since 1966, drove the chief’s car in the parade in his honor.
Mr. King died on Feb. 11 at Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 62. His family, friends, and fellow Springs firefighters remembered him as being “fiercely loyal, dedicated, committed, and generous.”
Born on Sept. 21, 1954, at Southampton Hospital to Clarence E. (Kelly) King Jr. and the former Emma Mae Miller, he grew up on School Street in Springs and attended the Springs School. He graduated from East Hampton High School in 1973 and went on to Herkimer County Community College upstate.
On Oct. 16, 1989, he married the former Lisa Reidy, who survives.
Mr. King was a partner at C.E. King and Sons, his family’s awning business. He served as president of the Northeast Canvas Products Association from 2006 to 2007.
He enjoyed hunting and exploring local history. A talented photographer, he occasionally shared his photos of Accabonac Harbor with The Star. He was a fan of the Mets, Rangers, and Giants.
The Springs Fire Department, however, was his number-one lifelong interest. In just one story from his long career, he and a fellow firefighter, Gene Tollman, saved an unconscious man from inside a burning house on Copeces Lane in 1979.
In addition to his wife and brother, he is survived by a sister, Deanna Tikkanen of Springs, and eight nieces and nephews.
His family suggested memorial contributions to the Springs Fire Department Scholarship Fund, 179 Fort Pond Boulevard, East Hampton 11937.