Former colleagues and associates are reflecting on the contributions to Bedford town government of William King, who died this week at the age of 94.
King, a graduate of the former Boston Trade School, was a building contractor and project manager. After retiring from the building trades, he worked as a local real estate agent.
King’s career as an elected official began in 1974 when he was voted to a three-year term on the Planning Board. He was re-elected in 1977 and 1980, and during those nine years served as board chairman three times.
Judy Barber, former Planning Board member and Select Board member, remembered working with King during that period, “a time of tremendous growth in Bedford with many major projects coming before the Planning Board.
“Bill’s personal development experience was an enormous asset to the town’s growth,” she pointed out. “He knew the ’ropes’ and dealt fairly and effectively with the developers that came before the board,” including not only residential, but also industrial projects, she said.
Don Corey, also a former Select Board member, said he served with King on the Planning Board for several years. “I admired his knowledge and preparedness on issues that we were dealing with. It was a pleasure working with him,” he said.
After a hiatus of six years, King was elected to the Select Board in 1990 and re-elected to a three-year term in 1993.
“My recollection of Bill is that he was always looking out for the taxpayers’ interest by trying to keep annual property tax increases in check at a time when town government was more challenged to stay within the restraints of Proposition 2.5 in order to avoid a general override,” said retired Town Manager Rick Reed.
A former Select Board colleague and personal friend, Joe Piantedosi, recalled that “one of Bill’s skills that he brought to the board was his background in construction and building.”
“We also both served on the Middlesex County Selectman’s Association Board of Directors,” Piantedosi said. “We used to plan educational meetings. We would invite state officials as speakers and schedule conferences on everything that had to do with selectmen.”
“Bill was a good person at heart. He expected town employees to work hard and appreciated those that did so,” Reed remembered. “Bill was always good-humored and an asset to the town,” said Barber. Corey agreed: “He always acted with the best interests of the town at heart.” For Piantedosi, King was “a lot of fun to be with – just a nice guy.”
A graveside service is scheduled for Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in Shawsheen Cemetery.