In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Claudie “Maxine” King, 98

Claudie “Maxine” King, 1924-2023 . IMB Photo

Claudie “Maxine” King, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Lebanon, died Jan. 31, 2023, in Marshall, Texas. She was 98. 

Maxine was born April 18, 1924, in Winkler, Texas, to the late Claude and Caroline Steele. She graduated from Corsicana High School in Corsicana, Texas, and received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard Payne College in Brownwood, Texas.  

After graduating high school, World War II was in progress, and she decided to lend her skills to the war effort. She built radios and worked in aircraft repair and maintenance. She first worked for North American Aviation, Inc. in Dallas, Texas, before becoming a civil service aircraft worker in Spokane, Washington, and a few months later, she traveled by a military ship to Hickam Field Air Depot in Honolulu, Hawaii, to also serve as an aircraft worker. 

While in Hawaii, Maxine was involved in Olivet Baptist Church’s ministry and their street services and handed out evangelistic literature. It was at the church that she met David King, a serviceman, and the couple married in 1946. After getting married, the couple returned to the U.S. to attend college. 

Maxine worked for Chance Vought Aircraft Corporation in Dallas, Texas, and Consolidated Aircraft in Fort Worth, Texas, before becoming a middle school teacher in Keller, Texas.  

While in high school, Maxine heard a missionary share about his service in an African country. 

“Something within me seemed to say, this is it; you can go to Africa for the Lord. In my heart I said, ‘Lord, if you will lead me, I want to do it,’” Maxine wrote in her letter seeking missionary appointment. 

In 1959, the Foreign Mission Board, now International Mission Board, appointed Maxine and David missionaries to Lebanon. 

The Kings served in the capital, Beirut. Maxine served in several roles, including as the librarian for the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary.  

Their years of service in Lebanon grew increasingly fraught with danger and violence. Car, mortar and airplane bombs became commonplace. Rockets, grenades, tanks and rifle fire soon punctuated their days. 

In an article in the Baptist Press, the Kings shared how explosions near the seminary campus sent them into the basement to enjoy their turkey dinner on a workbench.  

David and Maxine were some of the last U.S. citizens to leave Beirut due to the Lebanese Civil War. They remained as long as they could, but at the order of the U.S. government, they left Lebanon in 1987 and served in Cyprus.  

The Kings retired after 29 years of service. 

Maxine and David continued to serve in their retirement. They were involved in ministry at First Baptist Church Marshall in Marshall, Texas, where they led Bible studies, mentored students, visited nursing homes and delivered meals to those in need. 

Maxine is preceded in death by her husband of 76 years, David King.  

She is survived by her children, David W. King, Jr. (Sherry), Jonathan C. King (Loi Beth); and Jeanne Yates (Russell); six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.   

A celebration of life service was held Feb. 11, 2023, at First Baptist Church Marshall, in Marshall, Texas.  

Read an obituary here