Donald Storrs King was born in Oberlin, Ohio on June 19, 1889, the son of Julia Coates King (c. 1879) and Henry Churchill King (c. 1879) the sixth president of Oberlin College (1902-1927). Three brothers, Harold Lee King (c. 1905), Philip Coates King (c. 1910) and Edgar Weld King (c. 1916) and also two cousins, Kathryn J. Coates (c. 1922) and Louise B. Coates (c. 1929) also attended Oberlin College.
After graduating from Oberlin College in 1912, he studied medicine for a year (1914-15) at Western Reserve Medical School and for the following three years at the Harvard Medical School where he earned his MD degree in 1918. Immediately after graduation, he entered the Army Medical Corps and served as a captain with the American Expeditionary Force in France (1918-19). (His father, Henry C. King, was in Paris in 1918 giving service to the Y.M.C.A., and, subsequently, participated in the inter-allied commission sent to the Middle East to investigate the political and economic issues associated with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.) After interning at Massachusetts General Hospital (1920-21), Dr. King entered private practice in Boston and also became a lecturer at the Harvard Medical School, a position he held until 1953. From 1931-1942, he also headed the thoracic (chest) clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital.
During World War II (1941-46), Dr. King returned to active duty as a lieutenant colonel with the hospital's Army affiliate, the Sixth General Hospital, which was located in Casablanca, Morocco, and later Italy. When Prime Minister Winston Churchill suffered an attack of pneumonia in North Africa, Dr. King assisted Lord Moran, the Prime Minister's personal physician, in arranging treatment. Promoted to colonel in 1944, Dr. King was named chief medical consultant to the surgeon of the Army's Mediterranean Theater of Operations. For his work, he was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal, the Army's fourth highest citation.
He returned to his practice and teaching at Harvard University after the war but remained on call for government service. He visited the Far East twice as a consultant to the Surgeon General of the United States. In 1951, he went to Germany for the Public Health Service to advise on standards of physical examinations for immigrants to the United States. Until 1953, he also served as a consultant to the Veterans' Administration and the Middlesex County Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Massachusetts.
In 1953, after retiring from his Boston practice and Harvard University teaching of 32 years, Dr. King settled in Hanover, New Hampshire where he taught at the Dartmouth Medical School for three years. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was a chest consultant at the Hitchcock Clinic in Hanover. In 1953-54, Dr. King served as president of the American Trudeau Society (later the American Thoracic Society), the medical section of the National Tuberculosis Association. Dartmouth College awarded him an honorary AM in 1954. In 1957, illness forced him to retire.
Dr. King authored numerous articles, including "The Clinical Bacteriologic and Pathologic Findings in a Case of Influenzal Meningitis;" "The Twort-D'Herelle Phenomenon (Bacteriophagy), Its Possible Relation to Therapeutics;" "Bronchial Asthma;" "The Relation of the School Physician to the Family Doctor;" "A Statistical Study Based on Two Years' Personal Observation -- Postoperative Pulmonary Complications." The dates and place of publication of these articles has not been determined.
On October 7, 1916, Donald Storrs King married Helen Farnsworth Gulick (Smith, 1916); they had two children: William Gulick King (b. March 2, 1929) and Helen (Peggy) Gulick King Weston (b. February 13, 1931).
Dr. King died in Hanover, New Hampshire on August 30, 1963.
A photograph and biographical information about John
H. Nichols are included in the digital collection “Oberlin
College and Military Service in World War I,” presented
by the Oberlin College Archives.