Cover photo for Walter Riley King's Obituary
Walter Riley King Profile Photo
1951 Walter 2022

Walter Riley King

February 8, 1951 — July 19, 2022

Walter Riley King was born in Lexington, MS on February 8, 1951, to Barnel King and Chetwyn Rodgers. His mother later moved to Memphis and his father moved to Chicago. Walter was the oldest of 19 children. His early childhood was spent on his grandfather’s farm on Billy Maher Road in Bartlett, TN.

Walter graduated from Barret's Chapel High School in Arlington, TN. After high school Walter told his grandfather that he wanted to go to college instead of working on the farm. His grandfather, Albert King, or Daddy as he was called, did not deny him. His grandfather said that Walter had worked hard on the farm and if he wanted to go to college, that’s what he was going to do.

Walter accepted Christ in his life as a child while living in Bartlett, TN. He leaves to treasure his memory, a devoted life partner, Dr. Brenda King; sons, Walter Burns, Christopher (Angela)King and Brandon (Jovia) King; grandchildren, Brandon, Christopher, Mallory Burns, Valencia, Jaylen, Justin King; Aunt Modie Faye King Henry, Memphis, TN, Uncle Dr. Charles Rodgers, MD (Dr. Gloria, MD), Columbus, GA; stepmother Dr. Mary Alice Rodgers (Chicago, IL); maternal siblings, brothers: William Byrd (Las Vegas, Nevada), Cornelius Wilson, (Los Angeles, CA), Randall Williams, (Los Angeles, CA) Sisters: Rita Simon, (Las Vegas, Nevada), Patricia Wilson (Texarkana, Arkansas), Classie Cameros (Los Angeles, CA), Janie Burris (Las Vegas, Nevada) and Helen Gipson (Texarkana, Arkansas); paternal siblings, brothers, Dr. Curtis Rodgers (Deborah) Chicago, IL, Elder Chetwyn Rodgers (Willa) Chicago, IL, sisters, June Rodgers-Calhoun (Chicago, IL), and Kimberly Pete (Elder Kelly), Bristol, VA.

Walter was a musician, saxophonist, flutist, composer, arranger, actor, and educator.
WALTER RILEY KING received his education from MEMPHIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, BERKELEY SCHOOL OF MUSIC, and TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY. While at Tennessee State University, Walter marched with The Aristocrat of Bands for three years. He also became a member of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia where he became known as ‘Heart attack’ because of his antics while pledging the frat. Because of that Walter was affectionately called ‘Tack’ or ‘Heart attack’ by many who knew him in Nashville.

Walter's performance history includes many local bands in Nashville, The Tyrone Smith Revue, Jimmy Church Band and many others. Walter also resided in Omaha, NE for some years and one of his joys was playing with Matt Wallace, former musician with Maynard Ferguson, in his Fusion Force Band. He also performed with Lena Horne, The Temptations, The Dells, Gladys Knight, Dr. John, U2, The Nancy Wilson Orchestra, Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Grand Ole Opry, Muscle Shoals Horns, and over 35 years with B.B. King and his Orchestra. Prior to his professional career as a performer, Walter loved being a music educator in the Metro Nashville Public Schools. He took much pride in his work with the Goodlettsville High School band program. He also worked for a short time with the Pearl High School band in Nashville.
Walter was a member of Nashville Musicians Association AFM, local 257, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and SAG AFTRA, (Screen Actors Guild). He worked as a music arranger and as a conductor with the B.B. King Orchestra on The Tonight Show and served as Guest Conductor for Omaha Youth Symphony. Apart from his music career, Walter loved playing golf, fishing, and he was a 3rd degree Karate black belt.
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Friday, July 29, 2022

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Highland Hills Funeral Home & Crematory

2422 Brick Church Pike, Nashville, TN 37207

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