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November 26, 2023


Doctor Raymond Thomas “Tommy” King

June 16, 1941 – November 22, 2023

Doctor Raymond Thomas “Tommy” King, of Columbia, Mississippi, went home to be with his Lord on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 at the age of 82. He was born in Sumrall, Mississippi to Wiley and Addie Sumrall King and was a grandson of Daniel Sumrall who was the founder of the town of Sumrall. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Carey University, Doctor King holds four graduate degrees, including a doctorate from The University of Southern Mississippi. He has served the Southern Baptist denomination on the local, state, and national levels. He has pastored local churches, including fifteen years as the pastor of Sandy Hook Baptist Church, he was a former member of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, and served eight years on the Southern Baptist Executive Committee. In February 2007, Doctor King became the ninth president of William Carey University and the first Carey graduate to be named president. He came to the position with over 30 years of experience in public education from elementary to university levels.

Doctor King has served in numerous state and national leadership positions and served on numerous state and national boards. He was named Columbia’s “Outstanding Citizen” and is a Lions International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellow for Outstanding Humanitarian Work. He was twice named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and has received many other awards and honors for his leadership in civic affairs. Doctor King was very humble about his achievements and success and was keenly aware that he could not accomplish all that he had without the help and support of many, many exceptional people who have assisted him throughout his life. He was a man of deep faith and considered placing his faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ to be his greatest achievement. He will be remembered as a faithful servant of God who touched and influenced countless lives.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three sisters, Vada Chance, Mary Ferrell, and Jessie Pearl Mitchell; and two brothers, James King and Charles King. Doctor King is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sandra Fay Simmons King; a son, Dave Burkes and his wife, Charlene; two grandsons, Chris Burkes and Andrew Burkes and his wife, Jocelyn; four great-grandchildren, Elijah Burkes, Peyton Burkes, Olivia Burkes, and Paisleigh Burkes; and nieces and nephews.

The family wants to thank all who provided love, care, and assistance to Tommy as he prepared for his home going.

The funeral service for Doctor King will be at First Baptist Church of Columbia on Monday, November 27, 2023 at 11:00am. Friends may visit with the family from 9:00am until service. The funeral service will be officiated by Doctor Daniel Caldwell, Doctor Ben Burnett, and Doctor Brett Frazier. Chris Burkes, Andrew Burkes, Richard Hay, Lane Simmons, Loyd Thompson, Brett Golson, and Grant Guthrie will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will include the members of Doctor Hugh Dickens Sunday School Class and the members of the Columbia Lions Club. He will be laid to rest in Bogue Chitto Baptist Church Cemetery, 41108 LA-438, Mount Hermon, LA 70450. The committal service will be at 2:30pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Tommy King Missionary Dependent Scholarship at William Carey University, Box 2, William Carey Parkway, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

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