Our hearts are heavy today. We sadly share the words of our columnist Wayne D. King on the death of his amazing wife, Alice. We send our love to Wayne, Zach and Lauren, and all of Alice’s many friends and family members. A full obituary will be available later in the week. — Nancy West, InDepthNH.org
By Wayne D. King
RUMNEY – It is with immense sadness that we tell you that Alice Vartanian King: Mother of Zachary Douglas King and self-described “adopted” mother of other young men and woman of the planet earth neighborhood – (I’m talking about you Lauren Twig Twohigg, Ross MacKeil, Tanner Joyce, Tj Jones and Chukwuka “Chuka” Aniemeka among others); Soulmate, girlfriend and wife to Wayne King; Loving friend to so many who found her warm, irreverent and compassionate soul to be a grounding and inspirational force in their lives, died on Saturday, June 30, 2018.
We would be tempted to say that she died after a long illness but Alice was not the kind of person who dwelled on her health challenges. As she often put it she was “living with one foot in the air and another on a banana peel” . . . but God did she live! She was determined to live life as fully as possible and not to burden others with her own pain. She wanted, instead, to focus on the positive and to channel her energies into celebrating life. Every pain and illness that she faced became simply more evidence that she was really living. She had a big, bawdy laugh and a contagious smile that could light up any room she walked into.
The last three weeks of Alice’s life were among the happiest of her life. Zachary and Lauren had come home from Colorado to help us get our home ready to sell as we prepared for a new, and as yet unchartered, adventure. She was so proud of the fine young man he had become and she was confident that he and his partner Lauren had found something special and life-affirming in their relationship. She loved Lauren like her own daughter.
She talked for hours every week with her beloved sister Carol Vartanian or “Gerse” as she lovingly called her; she spoke daily with her cousin Joyce Haroutunian whom she loved like a sister, and her “sisters from another mother”: Dede, Nan, Nancy, Jerri, MAB . . . and the list goes on. She made the time to call her many close friends and to reach out to them in whatever way suited her – but especially with pen and paper.
The night before she died, I sat with her in the greenhouse of our home – her favorite room and just talked about the joy she felt in having Zach home and the work she was doing to permanently endow the “Rumney Reads!” program that provided lunch and reading to Rumney children during the summer months. She told me about the pleasure of attending her book group and seeing old and new friends.
She was sleeping in her recliner because of the pain in her broken ribs from CPR only a few weeks before but she was not complaining. Instead, she was looking forward to the day when she would be back in our bed under the half moon window that let the moon shine through at night and brought the sounds of Stinson Brook into our home. She loved that our home looked down on the very spot where we were married on December 21, 1985 – “the longest night of the year” she would say with a wink and a smile.
In the depths of our despair over her loss, seeking wisdom and peace, let us end with a quote that both Zach and I agree sums up her outlook on life – Not surprisingly from Hunter S. Thompson.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”