Cover photo for Thomas Gavin King's Obituary
Thomas Gavin King Profile Photo
1933 Gavin 2024

Thomas Gavin King

November 2, 1933 — March 9, 2024



Thomas Gavin King passed away at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa on Saturday, March 9th at around 12:15 pm after complications from hip surgery two weeks earlier.  He was 90.

Born on All Souls Day in 1933 as the second child to John and Katherine King.  He had a happy childhood.   In his first years he lived in the Irish House on 21st street and Owasso in Tulsa. The Irish House, built by the family friend and architect Johnny McDonald, is a cherished historical home in the city to this day. After his older brother Jack died of an accidental poisoning by a local pharmacist, the family moved about a mile east to the Swan Lake addition which was his home for the next three decades.  
 He attended Cascia Hall, a preparatory school for boys run by the Augustinian order, graduating at the top of his class in 1951 with the highest academic grades in school history up to that point.   That year he was awarded a scholarship to Notre Dame University.  Notre Dame would be for him one of the great adventures of his life.  He made lifelong friends there and had the privilege of learning from great professors like Frank O’Malley.

In 1954 he received a French government scholarship to attend the Sorbonne in Paris.   That year was another great adventure for him.  His favorite hangout in Paris was Harry’s New York Bar.  

After graduation from Notre Dame, he attended law school at the University of Tulsa.  As much as he loved Notre Dame, he chose not to continue his education there due to the winters he spent in South Bend.  

 During law school he worked as a law clerk for Tulsa County Court Clerk Wes Fry.

In 1960 he graduated from TU Law and began his career working with his uncle T. Austin Gavin where he was the junior partner for the next 21 years.   Their clients included Saint John’s Hospital, where he was born, and later the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa.   

It was in 1960 that he had a remarkable experience.  He was attending the American Bar Association meeting in Washington, D.C.  with his uncle.  One evening over dinner at the Occidental Grill, his uncle’s lifelong friend, Memphis attorney Edward Barry, announced that he was going to Europe in a few days and wanted to know if T. Austin Gavin would like to join him.  He declined.  Then Mr. Barry asked T. Gavin if he wanted to go.  He happily accepted.   After getting his passport in record time, due to the help of Oklahoma Senator Robert F. Kerr, he was off to Europe with Mr. Barry.   It was at a private audience at the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo that T. Gavin King witnessed a miraculous prophecy.  When Pope John XXIII met Mr.  Barry he told him something in Italian.  He overheard this and asked the Irish monsignor, who was the interpreter, what the Holy Father had said.   “He said, ‘he will do great things,” said the monsignor.  Mr. Barry, who was a 65 had already achieved a lot in his life.  What could he do now?   T. Gavin thought.   Two weeks after returning home to Memphis, Mr. Barry received a phone call from Hollywood actor Danny Thomas who had just met with Chicago Cardinal Stritch a native of Memphis.  The Cardinal told Danny Thomas to meet with Mr.  Barry to discuss his charitable intentions in honor of Saint Jude.   The reason Saint Jude Hospital is in Memphis, Tennessee is due to Mr. Barry’s working with Danny Thomas.  All of this was predicted by Pope John XIII.

In addition to his work in the law he was active in the local theatre as he had been while a student at Notre Dame.   In 1966 he met Trudy Kay Miller at Tulsa Little Theatre while performing in the play You Can’t Take It With You.   He played the Russian Boris Kolenkhov while Trudy was working backstage lights.   They were married in 1967 and had a son in 1968.   They both wanted land in the country (perhaps they liked the television show Green Acres) and purchased property just outside of Claremore, Oklahoma about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa where they lived their lives with their son and many dogs.

He continued to work in Tulsa with his uncle.   In Claremore he helped organize a rural water district for the local area outside of town.  He was also instrumental in organizing Meals on Wheels in Claremore.  In 1982 he took up a solo practice after his Uncle T. Austin passed away.  

In 1999 he became one of the first local visitors to the new foundation of monks near Hulbert, Oklahoma.   Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek is a Benedictine monastery part of the Solesmes Congregation in Europe.   T. Gavin King became a close friend of the monks, the abbot calling him – “The G.K. Chesterton of Oklahoma.”  He would co-write with his son the forthcoming book about he abbey titled Cowboy Bethlehem.  

T. Gavin King was pre-deceased by his wife of 36 years Trudy Kay Miller King.  He is survived by his son Theodore John King.

The Rosary will be at 10 am followed by a Mass of Christian burial on Monday, March 18th at Saint Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church 1304 N. Dorothy in Claremore.  Lunch will follow.  The internment will take place 2pm at Calvary Cemetery in Tulsa.

Eternal Rest Granted Unto Him O’Lord and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him.  May His Soul and all the souls of the Faithful Departed, through the Mercy of God, Rest in Peace.  Amen.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Gavin King, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, March 18, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Monday, March 18, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 441

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree