Joan Olcott King

September 14, 1932 ~ April 19, 2020 (age 87)

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Joan Olcott King of Sautee Nacoochee died in the early hours of Sunday, April 19, 2020, after a brief decline in health and a week of home care provided by Hospice of NGMC, her three children, and her wonderful friend Joanne Steele.

Joan was born in Orange NJ on September 14, 1932, to Egbert W. and Marion Braillard Olcott. She attended Bucknell University and was working as a Delta flight attendant when she met Edward “Lewis” King in 1954. They married in January of 1955 and raised their three children in Atlanta. The family spent summers on family property in Sautee before Joan and Lew decided to build a home of their own there in 1983.

Over the course of her long life, Joan devoted her ample energy to learning, contemplation, and a healthy lifestyle. She earned a BA in Anthropology from Georgia State. She spent a year in nursing school. She made intricate quilts of her own design, took lessons in art, ballet, and belly dance, yoga and Pilates. She cooked delicious meals for friends and family, with rare reliance on a recipe. She was active with a number of progressive and public interest groups including the League of Women Voters and Common Cause. After moving to White County she volunteered as a CASA (court appointed special advocate for children) for several years. In 1991 she and Lew commenced a decade of trips in France, cycling with cousins. She remained a board member and benefactor of Nuclear Watch South, a watch-dog group focused on nuclear safety in Georgia and other southern states.

Joan King will be remembered for the guest columns she wrote for the Gainesville Times for over twelve years and her frequently-controversial letters to the editors of both the Times and the White County News. Her writing skills also led her to produce several books, including The Three Bears (2004, for Anna), illustrated by daughter Susan, and Stories and Selected Essays (2016). Her most recent writing appeared in A Hope Chest of Stories and Poems, published by the Sautee Writers in 2019.

Joan was predeceased in 2013 by her husband. She is survived by her children, Virginia “Ginny” King (Jon Schwartz) and Clayton “Clay” King of Clarkesville, and Susan King (Jim Keller), of Lilburn) as well as by her brother, John “Jack” Olcott (Isobel) of New Jersey, her granddaughter, Anna Scott King of Atlanta, and numerous cousins-in-law, some of whom are local residents and others summer visitors from all corners of the country.

In 2014 Joan wrote of herself, “I have always leaned toward rational thought, logic, and cause and effect as the keys to reality. Now in my eight-first year I realize there is another way to look at the world. Life is more like a strange, wonderful work of art, not always pretty but always wonderful. In other words, it inspires wonder. It is a glorious mystery.”

A memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association, PO Box 460, Sautee Nacoochee GA 30571, Nuclear Watch South, PO Box 8574, Atlanta GA 31106, or the charity of your choice. 

An online guest registry is available at

Arrangements by Hillside Memorial Chapel, Clarkesville, Georgia. (706) 754-6256


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