Barbara King, 1950-2022

Nov 2, 2022


NORTH VERNON, Indiana — Barbara King, who was an independent spirit, a lifetime advocate for human and animal rights, as well as for integrity in journalism, passed away at her twin sister’s home in Watertown, Massachusetts, the morning of Sept. 23, 2022. Long active in her community in southern Indiana, she was involved with United Way, Kiwanis, Humane Society, economic development and downtown revitalization, as well as numerous other community activities.

King graduated from Boston University in 1977 and completed a General Electric Machinist’s Program in 1980, one of the first classes wherein women were allowed. In 1982, Barbara returned to her hometown to follow in her father’s footsteps as publisher of the North Vernon Plain Dealer & Sun newspaper, where she remained for 39 years until retirement. On May 28, 1983, Barbara married John Roche (Peabody, Massachusetts) in Groveland, Massachusetts.

King was described as “a brilliant leader” in the Indiana newspaper industry, receiving numerous awards and board appointments with the Hoosier State Press Association from 1989-2018, including being the second woman president in the organization’s history (1993-94), HSPA Distinguished Service Award (2007) and president of the HSPA Foundation from (2007-08). She also served as judge for the California State Publishers Association.

Barbara Lee King was born on August 22, 1950, in Hastings, Nebraska, to Burlin B. King and Viola M. (Tierney) King. In addition to her husband, John, she leaves her sons, Liam K. Roche (Kathryn) of Indianapolis and Nathan K. Roche (Emily Treece) of Denver; her grandchildren, Finnian and Stella Roche; her sisters, Madelon A. King of Watertown, Massachusetts, and Susan B. King (Robert Horowitz) of Madison, Wisconsin; and her beloved cat, Cricket.

A memorial service will be announced.