Former Head William W. King Passes Away

That this was the letter was shared with our community from Head of School Scott Kennedy:

Dear Norfolk Collegiate Community,
It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Mr. William W. King passed away on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. Will served as headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate School from 1988 to 2008. He provided compassionate and visionary leadership to the Collegiate community while also tirelessly dedicating his time to civic organizations throughout Hampton Roads. Will left a remarkable legacy on this school, this region and this Commonwealth. 
Will was born on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and was a graduate of the University of Virginia, UVA. Both places were never far from his heart. After graduating from UVA, Will began a distinguished career in the United States Navy which took him to Charleston, Newport, Washington, San Diego, Vietnam and countless places in between. During his service, Will commanded a destroyer and a patrol ship. While in Washington, D.C., Will served as aide to the chief of naval operations and deputy chief of staff to the commander of the United States Atlantic Command at the Pentagon. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal. Along the way, he also earned his master’s degree in financial management from the U.S. Postgraduate School.
After retiring from the Navy with the rank of captain, he settled in Norfolk and joined the Norfolk Collegiate Board of Trustees. In 1988, Will was appointed headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate and served for two decades. During his tenure, Will successfully led the Rings of Life Campaign which vastly expanded the school’s facilities. He added playing fields to the upper school, completely renovated the lower school campus, built the current middle school facility and strengthened the school’s endowment. Always a strategic visionary, Will fostered an environment of educational innovation. He led the creation of our learning services program, supported technology integration into the classroom experience, expanded our hallmark Advanced Placement® program and greatly expanded the school’s fine and performing arts programs. Will also provided leadership to the Virginia Association of Independent Schools by serving as its president and treasurer. After retiring, he continued to serve the school as an honorary trustee and worked to fundraise for the Meredith Center of the Arts. 
After Collegiate, Will began his third career as the executive director of the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation. He also continuously worked to improve the community beyond our campus. Among many roles, he served on the boards of Horizons Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay Academy, was president of the Norfolk Forum, was an active member of the Rotary Club of Norfolk and served on the vestry of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. His expansive community volunteer service was recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals with the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award in 2017.  
On a personal note, my relationship with Will began in the spring of 1996 when I interviewed for the dean of students position at Collegiate. To those who knew Will’s work habits, it should not be a surprise that it was on a Saturday afternoon, on campus, in his office. He never took a day off from our school.
I worked with Will for years as an administrator at this school. As I began the transition as his successor, Will shared with me some of his secrets. During a conversation late one afternoon, he said “I always focus on the mission of the school and do what is best for the kids. If it isn’t part of our mission, I don’t do it.” That simple clarity of duty has guided and shaped our school for decades. Will made sure the school never strayed from its core purpose, to both educate and care for our students. He made sure we always grew and improved the institution to better accomplish that purpose. 
He profoundly shaped a school community that never deviates from its mission to actively support the students as they learn, grow and become their best selves. For two decades, the duty-driven naval officer was here every day making sure the rest of us knew what the objective was. 
After stepping down, he received more than a few calls from me seeking some words of wisdom or, at times, words of solace. He would always respond with a chuckle followed by sound counsel. I had the privilege of knowing Will for almost three decades. On that spring Saturday many years ago, Will became my boss who later became my friend. None of us will forget his incredulous tales of growing up on the Eastern Shore, his love for everything UVA or his cheering support of everything Collegiate. None of us will forget his kindness.      
Our school and our community are better because of Will King. His legacy is being felt by the students here today and will be felt by the students here in the future.
Will is survived by his wife Cecelia; daughters Katherine (K.C.) ’91 and Andy Buffkin, Caroline '88 and Carter Furr, and Elizabeth “Liz” Lynch '86, as well as grandchildren Will and Ellie Buffkin; Carter, Kate, and Ann Randolph Furr; and Jack and Robert “Luke” Lynch ’23.  
Services will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1009 W. Princess Anne Road, Norfolk, at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, followed by a reception at Norfolk Collegiate’s Meredith Center for the Arts, 7336 Granby Street, Norfolk, at 2 p.m.
Please keep Cecelia and all of the King family in your thoughts and prayers during today and during the difficult times ahead. We can all take comfort that Will’s work is still here on campus every day.
Very Sincerely,
Scott G. Kennedy
Head of School

Middle/Upper School Campus

Lower School Campus