Remembering astronomer Ivan Robert King, a wry wit who loved hiking at Mount Tam

During his almost four decades as a UC Berkeley astronomer, Ivan Robert King’s walk to Campbell Hall was a daily ritual.

Ivan Robert King in 1976. Credit: G. Paul Bishop Jr studio

Ivan Robert King passed away at age 94 on Aug. 31.

He was born on June 25, 1927, in Far Rockaway, New York, to father Myram and mother Anne (Franzblau) King. He enrolled at Hamilton College at age 16 and subsequently entered the astrophysics graduate program at Harvard University, receiving his PhD in 1952. He married Alice Greene in 1952; they moved to Washington D.C, spent a year in Cheltenham, England, and then lived briefly in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. They moved to Berkeley in 1964, where their four children grew up. He and Alice divorced in 1982, and she died in 1992. In 2002, he moved to Seattle and married the Reverend Judy Schultz.

Read an obituary focusing on King’s astronomy career

Ivan’s career and passion was astronomy. During his almost four decades at UC Berkeley, his walk to Campbell Hall was a daily ritual. Ivan was known for his encyclopedic knowledge and wry wit. He traveled widely throughout Europe, seeking out museums and cathedrals, and shared his love of languages and international cuisine with his family. He read prolifically, listened to opera, and while living in Berkeley, spent many Sundays hiking at Mount Tamalpais State Park. In Seattle, he continued to work, read, and enjoy time with his family until his last days. He is survived by his widow, Judy; his children, David, Lucy, Adam and Jane; and their families.

Ivan Robert King. Courtesy of his family
Ivan Robert King. Courtesy of UC Berkeley