John Quill Taylor King was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Alice Woodson, a teacher, and John Quill Taylor, a doctor. When his mother remarried after his father’s death, he took the surname of his stepfather, Charles King, a funeral director. King graduated from Fisk University in 1941 and then entered the U.S. Army. He retired from the Army Reserves as a Major General.
General King, who had numerous degrees, taught mathematics at Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas, and served as its longest-standing president from 1965 to 1988. In retirement he ran the family mortuary. He and his wife, Marcet Alice Hines, also a college teacher, had three children, two of whom became physicians. General King admired his great-aunt, Minerva Jane Woodson, a teacher who was his main source for much of the Woodson family history. As he said, when explaining the Woodson urge to excel, "Failure was not a word in our family."
9 July 1994, Columbus, OH Interviewee: John Quill Taylor King