Rockland Country Day School Mourns the Passing of Joan Harding King
Joan Harding King was indeed a remarkable woman. She was one of the original founders of Rockland Country Day School and one who continued to contribute a great deal to our school over her lifetime. She and her husband, Tom, who worked in the theatre, moved to Rockland County in the mid 1950′s, becoming part of the South Mountain Road arts community, first as summer people, but later as full time residents. When a group of people living on and around South Mountain Road started talking about the need for a good independent school in the area, Tom and Joan became part of the group which founded Rockland Country Day School, sending the eldest of their five children to the new school.
All five King siblings eventually attended Rockland Country Day School, Tom became an active member of the school’s Board of Trustees from 1967 to 1976. Joan became equally active in the school, serving in many capacities whenever help was needed. She organized fundraising and cultural events for our school, most notably the school’s Chamber Music series, which featured noted artists performing in intimate settings for the benefit of the school.
Joan was remarkable not only in her contributions to the school but in the example that she set for its students. Having graduated from Smith College years before, she returned to school and earned her RN in the 70′s, becoming a childbirth educator and an advocate for midwifery. As a staunch conservationist, she was instrumental in bringing those interests to Rockland Country Day School, working with students, parents, and faculty members to create activities and events that raised consciousness about environmental and conservation issues. Our organic garden today is a living legacy to the mark Joan left on the identity of our school.
Joan could always be found at school events. She was as generous with her time as she was with her support and her opinions of which there were, happily, many. She was the essential link between the earliest founders and students, and today’s parents, teachers, and students. We mourn her passing and celebrate her life of passion and giving which led to the creation of Rockland Country Day School. She will be sorely missed.