I am very saddened to communicate news that Professor Emeritus Noel King passed away this past Sunday after a lengthy illness. Many of us remember Noel's lively presence on campus and his commanding lecture style on the subject of his expertise: comparative religious studies.
Hired by the campus shortly after it opened in the 1960s, Noel was an extraordinarily popular teacher and widely respected scholar, continuing to publish extensively well after his retirement in 1991 as a professor of history and comparative religion.
For many years, Noel advocated for a range of courses for students interested in learning about religion in an academic setting. And, for those students who were pursuing a religious studies major, Noel provided foundation classes with an emphasis on a comparative approach to the subject.
Information about a memorial service will be posted on a site the family is creating at: nqking.wordpress.com/. Visitors to that site may also leave comments and remembrances.
His family has begun preparing Noel's obituary, which includes information about a memorial fund in his honor. By Monday, his wife, Laurie King, had written the following about her late husband. The completed family obituary will be posted on this web site later this week.
Noel Q. King died Sunday at his home in the Santa Cruz mountains after a long illness. Noel was an Anglo-Indian, born in Rawalpindi in 1922, educated in Simla, Oxford, and Nottingham. He served in the British Army during the second world war, mostly dropping air supplies over Burma, then went to St. Peter's in Oxford to study history and theology. After his D. Phil and ordination, he was hired by first Ghana and then Uganda, to help set up departments of religious studies in the new universities of Accra and Makerere. He came to the new University of California campus in Santa Cruz in 1967, with the same purpose.
Noel taught at UCSC until his retirement in 1991, in religious studies and history. After he retired, he remained active in the community of the world's religions, particularly among the Sikhs.
He is survived by his wife, Laurie; six children scattered from Santa Cruz to England and Australia; eleven grandchildren; and 4 great-grandchildren. He is also remembered by the generations of students around the world whose lives he touched.
Memorials to his life will be held in Santa Cruz and Oxford. If you wish to make a donation in Noel's name, we suggest the Noel Q. King Memorial Fund at UCSC, dedicated to the study of the world's religions. Send checks made to UCSC Foundation (with Noel's name as the memo) to: Liz Sandoval, Humanities Dean's Office, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064.