Joyce Ann King, a notable community figure in Hampden and a recreation leader at the Roosevelt Recreation Center, dies

Joyce Ann King was born in Hampden and was devoted to the neighborhood her whole life.

Joyce Ann King, a Hampden resident remembered for her work with children at a recreation center, died of heart disease July 30 at Union Memorial Hospital. She was 71.

Born in Hampden and raised on Clipper Heights Avenue, she was the daughter of Jesse Lee Morgan Sr., an Armco Steel worker, and Mittie Mae Ford, a homemaker and textile mill employee.


She attended Robert Poole Elementary and Middle schools and Eastern High School. She also studied at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Family members said she was brought up as a Christian Pentecostalist. She was married at the Full Pentecostal Church of Hampden.


“She was a force. There was a presence about her,” said her daughter Joley King. “She smiled all the time and constantly reached out to people. She was matter-of-fact and practical. She once heard a commotion near her home on 33rd Street and ran out of the house to come to [the] aid of a girl who was beaten up on the bus. She could break up a fight. That was the kind of person she was.”

As a teenager and young adult, she worked at the Roland Restaurant and the New System Bakery — West 36th Street businesses that were popular gathering places.

She was also a swimming pool attendant at what neighbors called the Big Pool at the Roosevelt Recreation Center on Falls Road in Hampden.

She went on to work in medical billing at Union Memorial Hospital.

“The day she went home to have her first child, she told her co-workers that she was going home to have a baby and likely wouldn’t be back,” her daughter said. “That was just how she did things.”

Mrs. King volunteered on several local political campaigns and worked for a few years at Harbel Community Center. She also helped coordinate the Mayor’s Christmas Parade in Hampden.

She became a recreation leader at the Roosevelt center.

“She and I were both locals and had a love of the park. She took the playground and made it open and inviting to all people,” said Richard E. Wheatley, a former Roosevelt director. “When we got there, the park was underutilized, even though it had once been a jewel of the city park system. Joyce always cared for people and those who used the park.”


He recalled that she effectively ran the wading pool at Falls Road and 36th Street.

“In her tenure, we redid most of the pieces on the playground, and local people saw the good things that were happening. She was also integral in our summer lunch program in shape, and we eventually were giving out 350 lunches,” Mr. Wheatley said.

“She was that good. She could hand out all those lunches and knew every kid’s name,” he said. “And she was happy to see each of those kids.”

He recalled that “Ms. Joyce” became the surrogate mother to many children in the neighborhood who needed support and guidance.

As a child, she developed a reading habit. She collected costume jewelry, vintage clothing, pottery, antique furniture and glassware.

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“She was often a prominent figure at Christmas bazaars, yard sales and flea markets,” her daughter said.


She raised her family on Chestnut Avenue.

“My parents’ home is often talked about because they keep a leg lamp at Christmas [a prop used in the film, ‘A Christmas Story’]. My mother had a collection of vintage ceramic wall cats, as well as the abundance of annual flowers that cover the home,” her daughter said. “She was mildly obsessed with all holidays.”

Mrs. King was interested in Hampden history, as well as her family’s genealogy, and moderated several community Facebook pages, including the Medfield-Hampden Gang.

She organized community get-together luncheons at Frazier’s on the Avenue in Hampden, a business owned by her sons.

Survivors include her husband of nearly 48 years, Raymond L. King Sr.; two sons, Ray King and Morgan King; two daughters, Joley King and Megan King, all of Baltimore; a brother, David Morgan, also of Baltimore; three sisters, Ethel Garrison of Severn, Joan Snyder of Baltimore County and Phyllis Albert of McCormick, South Carolina; and eight grandchildren. A son, Joshua King, died in 2016.

Services were Sunday in Hampden.