The late Sen. Jim King wants to be a Seminole for eternity. And his beloved alma mater is happy to oblige. King, the popular Republican lawmaker who passed away Sunday after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, will be cremated and interred at the year-old King Life Sciences Building on the campus of Florida State University, family spokesman Gus Corbella confirmed Monday.
FSU officials dedicated the $55-million building to King last September in honor of his help in securing state funding over the years for biomedical research and other campus projects.
“He proudly always said one of the reasons he was so successful in life was the education he got there,” said Corbella, a lobbyist and longtime family friend who served as King’s chief of staff for 10 years. “When you think about it, where else would he ever be?”
King will be the first person interred on a Florida public campus since lawmakers this spring passed legislation (SB926) allowing for university to build “columbariums,” permanent structures that hold the ashes of alumni.
University of Florida officials pushed for the law at the request of alumni, prompting King — ever the FSU devotee, ever the funny man — to call it “the dead Gator bill.”
Sen. Thad Altman, sponsor of the law, said it’s fitting that King be the first to benefit from it.
“He always was one step ahead of the Gators,” said Altman, R-Melbourne. “And now with this, he’s one step ahead again.”