UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Chauncey King

Chauncey King

Chauncy king portraitChauncey King was born in 1902 in Hesston, Kansas.  He graduated from Hesston College and then attended the Chicago Musical College.  He earned a master's degree from Northwestern University in Chicago/Evanston.  Chauncey taught in several schools before coming to River Falls.  He began in Missouri, then Flagstaff, AZ, Oklahoma A. and M., and the University of Oklahoma. In 1946 he was hired by President Ames to teach classes in music at River Falls State Teachers College. He joined three other Music faculty members in teaching music classes. It was the same year that Dr. Eugene Kleinpell came to River Falls as President and that Dr. Marion Hawkins and Dr. Walter Engler were hired in English and Blanche Davis in Theater.  Mr. King remained on the faculty as the name of the school changed to River Falls State College, and later Wisconsin State University at River Falls.

Mr. King regularly attended choral workshops around the country to learn the latest techniques in music.  He studied with F. Melius Christiansen and his son Olaf at St. Olaf College in Northfield, noted for its choral program.  He also studied in workshops with Fred Waring.

Chauncey conducted the University Concert Choir and taught voice and music education.  Later he taught Music 100 for the general student body and led the choir at the First Congregational Church for many years. He was married to Rose Marie, a popular English teacher in the River Falls High School.  They had three sons - David, Bruce, and Richard.

Chauncey was an avid gardener and lived in Mann Valley west of town, with its especially rich soil.  He operated "King's Country Gardens", a fruit and vegetable stand at which he sold only his own homegrown produce.  His delicious strawberries and raspberries were legendary in the area, and people came from miles around to get them.  He was also a very generous man, and as the U.W. River Falls campus was expanding, Chauncey began growing many young trees of various varieties on his farm, and then he donated them to the university, because there was never any money in the budget for trees.  Chauncey donated many of the trees between South Hall and what was once the Student Union.  The trees in the courtyard of that building and most of the trees around Rodli Commons were donations of Chauncey as well.  Student volunteers did the actual work of planting from the Art and History Departments.

In 1976 Chauncey and Rose Marie moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where they enjoyed the warm climate and where they socialized with the many UW-RF faculty who retired nearby or wintered in Green Valley, AZ.  The picnics and card playing, which they had enjoyed in River Falls with their university colleagues, continued.  Chauncey died at the age of 83 on Dec. 2, 1985.