Moonyeen “Moonie” King, beloved mother, wife, sister and prominent lakeside altruist, died peacefully on Tuesday, December 5 at the age of 88.
Moonyeen was born on November 24, 1935 in London, England. The first years of her life, along with the rest of the family, were during the era of World War II. When at home, many days and nights were spent cowering in a makeshift shelter in the garden.
She and her husband, architect Perry King, married in Thailand and spent more than 32 years living overseas, running into many adventures along the way.
After moving to Texas, Moonie fell in love with her farm. She dearly loved the PMK Ranch where she oversaw a 32-acre animal menagerie. This was her countryside empire and where she sat on her throne.
Her final adventure took her to what she called her slice of heaven in Chapala. It is here where she devoted more than 20 years working with marginalized people, serving as founder and president of the Tepehua Community Center.
Always striving for ambitious goals, she built up a sustainable non-profit organization that turned a dirt floor locale into a thriving facility for families in one of Chapala’s most underprivileged neighborhoods. It is a place that provides education and health care services, training for self-employment, a source of purified bottled water, a public bathroom for households lacking indoor plumbing and a welcoming venue for special events.
Moonie’s favorite quote was “Give a man a fish, he will have food for a day; teach a man to fish and he will have food for life.” And teach she did.
The Tepehua logo that Moonie invented of “helping a village to help itself” served as the symbol of inspiration for hundreds of children and young adults who have benefited from its education assistance program. She also helped steward programs such as sewing and English-language classes, allowing many people to gain employment opportunities they would have never otherwise had. For example, products from the sewing workshop initiative sold at the Tepehua Treasures thrift shop in Riberas del Pilar generate income for many disadvantaged women.
Moonie loved life from the beginning to the end, despite all of its struggles. She had many sides to her character to make her interesting, funny, and at times just a little bad, spawning the nickname “our cowgirl, gypsy queen” by her loving offspring. She was generous to a fault, loyal to friends and family, and elegant in every way. She was a prolific writer, happiest when penning for her monthly Ojo del Lago column while sipping white wine and nibbling French fries.
Moonyeen is survived by her spouse Perry, her two children Adam King and Dian Herrman, siblings Michael Kyne and Maureen Bragg, and countless cousins across the pond. She will be missed by her large family and wide circle of friends. Her legacy will live on in the hearts of every person she encountered throughout her rich and fulfilling life.
Her children held private funeral arrangements last weekend. The Tepehua Center is planning a memorial service for February 7. Those wishing to honor her life are encouraged to donate to www.tephua.org.