In Memoriam: John F. King, 91

15 Years at Manny Hanny Before Leading California Banks 


John F. King, who began his illustrious banking career at Manufacturers Hanover Bank, died on March 18, 2024, age 91.


Born in Evanston, IL, King was raised in Los Angeles, where his father was a banking, business and community leader. King graduated from Los Angeles’s Harvard School before earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from USC in 1958. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer, he followed his father’s footsteps into banking.


King worked for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. in New York City for almost 15 years, during which time he earned a master’s degree in finance from New York University. In 1975 he joined First Interstate Bank of California. Five years later, he became president and chief operating officer, then chairman in 1985. Later he served as vice chairman and director of Crocker National Bank, and chairman and CEO of World Trade Bank.


While serving in these roles he was a pioneer in service to customers ranging from individuals to the largest institutional clients. He was among the first to recognize the market for banking and financial services in the Far East. Throughout his career he maintained a reputation as an advocate for sound banking principles, serving the interests of his borrowers, depositors and shareholders. He was also known to have an eye for a “good risk.”


While at First Interstate he was instrumental in providing early financing for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, helping lay a foundation for that year’s successful summer games. After retiring from banking King served as president and CEO of the Weingart Center, a nonprofit agency in Los Angeles’s Skid Row providing housing, social services and substance abuse treatment. In that role he helped develop a new adult employment and education center providing free classes in math, English, reading and computer skills, as well as vocational training programs.


In addition to leadership and board positions for many companies in finance and industry, King served as a trustee of the California Hospital Center Foundation, director of the National Institute of Transplantation Foundation and founding chair of Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena. His most long-standing service was on the USC Board of Trustees, where he served from 1981 until his death.


His wife of 60 years, Pamela Prather King, died in 2020.


Among his survivors are three daughters, a son and seven grandchildren. 


A memorial service will be announced for later this spring. Memorial donations should be given to the Pasadena Humane Society or the Church of Our Savior in San Gabriel.

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