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Frank KING, P. Eng., OC, LL.D. (Hon) 1936 – 2018

Frank King with Olympic torch

Frank King was born in Redcliff, Alberta in 1936. He graduated from the University of Alberta in Chemical Engineering and spent most of his life living in Calgary where he was a devoted family man, generous with his friendships and passionate about his community. Throughout his life, he was an avid athlete and sportsman, setting long-distance running records in university, coaching kids’ basketball and hockey teams, setting up the first Senior Men’s Basketball Leagues in Edmonton and Calgary, and forever cheering on the Stamps and Flames.

His interest in business led him to entrepreneurial pursuits in the fields of fibreglass, oil and gas, and health care. As a trusted and energetic business leader, Frank served on the Board of many national companies and was actively involved in community initiatives in the areas of sports, education, and the arts.

Frank was best known for his roles as Chair of the Bid Committee and Chairman and CEO of the Organizing Committee for the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary in 1988. Frank King’s dream to host the Olympic Winter Games began in 1978. As Chairman of the Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA), Frank was instrumental in preparing the winning the bid to host the 1988 Olympic Winter Games for Calgary. Following Calgary’s selection as the host city, Frank became the Chairman and CEO of the Calgary Olympic Organizing Committee (OCO’88). With his leadership and can-do attitude, 10,000 volunteers staged what the IOC said was the “best ever’ Winter Games.

The unprecedented financial success of the Calgary ’88 Olympic Games resulted in a legacy of sports facilities, funding, and people dedicated to the development of young Canadian athletes. The ‘88 Olympic Games put Calgary on the global map as a winter sports mecca and set a benchmark for future Olympic bids, facilities, and TV broadcast rights. The Winter Olympics were extended to 16 days for the first time and these Games were instrumental in the growth, popularity, and inclusion of “new” winter sports – especially in skiing and snowboarding events, and curling.

Frank King received numerous awards and accolades for his work with the ’88 Winter Olympics and his service to the community over his lifetime. Most notably, he received the highest award presented by the International Olympic Committee – the “Gold Olympic Order”, and in Canada was made “Officer of the Order of Canada” and given the “Canadian Olympic Order”.

Frank received the Governor General’s 125 Medal and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. Maclean’s Magazine named him in the Top 12 Canadians (1988). He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and named Calgary Booster Club’s “Sportsman of the Year” in 2003. He was one of 100 individuals to receive the Alberta Centennial Salute for Sport and Recreation award in 2005 and was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2012, he was recognized with the Western Legacy Award for the top 100 Albertans. Frank King received an Honorary Doctor of Laws and the Canadian Engineering Leader Award from the University of Calgary.

Frank King was a Director for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. For nearly 50 years, he was a member of the Calgary Booster Club, an organization supporting young and underprivileged athletes, and a Member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Calgary South. He was Co-Chair for the Canada 125 Celebrations, the Alberta campaign for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the Chair of the Calgary Pro-Am Hockey Tournament for Alzheimer’s (2011).

Frank King’s contributions to Calgary, the province, Canada, and the world will be felt for years to come. He was a generous, humble leader whose efforts and passion have left an indelible mark. Above all else, Frank was a family man. Married to his wife Jeanette for nearly 60 years, he brought unmatched joy and positivity into the lives of his children and grandchildren that will live with them forever.

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