Dr. Robert Calhoun King, D.D.S.

NEW SCOTLAND — Dr. Robert Calhoun King, D.D.S. of New Scotland died peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, after a life well lived. He was 97.

“Bob lived a life full of passion for his family, his home, and his career,” his family wrote in a tribute. “He dove deeply into his variety of interests, including dentistry, traveling the world, exploring nature, painting, politics and opera.”

The son of Violet Calhoun King and Ferdinand Arthur King, he was born in Troy in 1925. He spent his childhood in Elsmere and attended Bethlehem schools.

“He spent his youth delivering the Saturday Evening Post and Knickerbocker News in the early mornings and working at Muller’s Drug Store and the Elsmere Food Market after school — a pattern of hard work and motivation that guided him throughout his life,” his family wrote. “Bob also found time for the Boy Scouts and received their top honor of Eagle Scout.

“He diligently worked his way through Ohio State University using savings and odd jobs to pay his way. In 1946, Bob joined the Navy’s dental training program and attended the University of Pennsylvania Dental School at age 19. By age 22, he had achieved his dream of becoming a dentist.

“In 1950, during the Korean War, he went on active duty aboard the USS Roosevelt, obtaining the rank of Lieutenant JG. Bob spent the next two years serving as a dental officer. After military service, he took a road trip across the country in his Studebaker Hawk — an adventure he loved to recount.

“Not long after, Bob met his wife, Joanne Trussell, a nursing student at Albany Medical College and a hometown girl from Bethlehem. Together, they embarked on the adventures of life.

“Bob and Joanne built a home in rural New Scotland, where Bob turned a brushy former field into an estate that he was immensely proud of; he nurtured and cared for this property for almost 70 years. Bob built ponds, tended gardens, and mowed on his many John Deere tractors. In his later years, these tractors became Bob’s mobility device from which to direct an endless series of projects with his grandsons as his helpers.

“Bob began his more than 50-year dental career in Ithaca and eventually moved to Delmar, joining one of his closest friends, Dr. Roger T. Drew in building the Delmar Medical Dental Building at 785 Delaware Ave. in Delmar. Bob spent the waning years of his career working at the office of Dr. Harold Wilson, Dr. Joseph Hart, and Dr. Deborah Bausback in Slingerlands where he worked part-time well into his 80s.  A lifelong learner, he was also very active in advancing continuing dental education at the L.D. Pankey Institute in Florida.

“Bob’s interests were many and varied and each was approached with gusto and passion. Bob loved being outdoors, camping with his family in the Adirondacks, and summer vacations on Cape Cod with his cherished brother, Glenn. His binoculars were never far from hand, and he was always ready to enjoy birds and nature.

“Bob’s camera was also nearby to capture a beautiful scene or family event. Art was another of Bob’s lifelong passions. His early subjects tended to be nature and landscapes, while his later years were filled with portraits of friends, colleagues, and anyone who caught his eye. Few of his many friends could escape his brush, willing or not.

“Bob touched thousands of lives as a person always willing and ready to help family, friends, or strangers regardless of their need. Dentistry provided an excellent opportunity for Bob to share his deeply held opinions with patients, and his dinnertime speeches were legendary. Even snickering kids could not veer him off course from a passionate speech.”


Dr. Robert Calhoun King, D.D.S. is survived by his wife of 68 years, Joanne Trussell King, and by his sons David (Kander) of Boxford, Massachusetts, Paul (Laura Helfer) of Delmar, and Mark (Kristen) of Delmar. He was also blessed to have seven grandchildren, Emily, Claire, Matthew, Zachary, Kara, Schuyler, and Justin, all of whom he loved very much.

His parents, Violet Calhoun King and Ferdinand Arthur King, died before him, as did his brother, Glen King of Centerville, Massachusetts, and his sisters, Mildred King of Albany and Harriet (Youmans) King of Sacramento, California. His twin sister, Ruth, passed before her first birthday.  

His family would like to thank the staff at Beverwyck (Eddy Senior Living) and Hospice for their excellent and compassionate care.

A service of remembrance will be held at the Delmar Reformed Church at 386 Delaware Ave. in Delmar on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m.

Donations in his memory may be made to The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, 425 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar, NY 12054, mohawkhudson.org. or to the Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, NY 12054.

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