Cochran Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Hiawassee in charge
A Tribute to Daren Esco King presented by Liam Esco King
In the late hours of the evening on Friday, July 14, Daren Esco King decided to take his final leave of absence, and retired for the second time into a new life with the Lord Jesus Christ. Daren, the impatient man he was, decided to leave this Earth as quickly as he joined it in August 1971. That day, over fifty years ago, God decided to gift Towns County with the presence of the late but ever-so-great Dr. Daren King. He was born to two loving Parents, the late Harry King, and Lynn Wimpy Barrett, and right from the beginning, he was constantly tormented by his big brother Faron Winslow King. Daren, for whatever reason, even though God continuously proved to him otherwise throughout his life, thought he was arguably the greatest thing since the invention of calculus, which is a perfect analogy for who he was as a person. He was boring to some and impossible to understand to others, but once you began to scratch the surface and recognize him for what he was, he was full of surprises. As a child, he had a bit of a mischievous streak with his five cousins, who would torment him daily to keep his big head from growing any bigger than it needed to be. Therefore, he was constantly getting beat in bicycle races on the farm, getting left behind on the school bus so Cousin Dawn could get to the TV before him, nearly losing his hearing and his ear by jumping off a trailer onto a bank, and even right down to getting offended by being called Iguana by his big brother. To this day, the family does not know what brought about this interaction or why it offended Daren so. Daren graduated from Towns County High School and was known by his classmates as quiet and reserved. It was evident that he would finally develop a personality in his later years. Daren then made the ambitious decision to go to college and subsequently set off to his next adventure two miles down the road from his home at Young Harris College. However, his tenure at this institution would not last, as he would make the daring commitment to finally move from home and transfer to Piedmont College. At this institution, Daren would start to become “the legend,” as his wife and kids would eventually call him, and this stems from the mischievous flare he developed as a child. Daren would meet lifelong friends and others at Piedmont, which resulted in him sneaking into the president’s pool, handcrafting a mechanical bull that nearly killed him and his best friend Kevin on the first attempt, practicing for a limbo contest he eventually won but received no prize other than arguably the worst back problems known to man in his later years, and using his keys from his maintenance job to cause havoc across campus with pranks and other devious acts that were all in “good fun” as he would say. However, once he mellowed out a bit and began to finally learn right from wrong, Demorest offered him other incredible moments of fun, such as watching his Dutch roommate Renae eat month-old Chinese that arguably could have killed him and building a volleyball pit for his four buddies that still stands today at the College. Of course, being the college students they were, they frequently played on the weekends, and often during class time. Daren was also a member of the cross-country team at Piedmont, which, would became a lifetime sport, and the love for it he would eventually pass on to his son years later. Daren also, somehow, by the grace of God, met the love of his life and the mother of his children at Piedmont, Sabrina. She first met him by watching him mow lawns on campus and then making random excuses to pass by the volleyball pit to see him and his best friends play. Eventually, Daren moved on from Piedmont and transferred to Clemson, where he completed his education and graduated with a Doctoral in Mathematics. To this day, no one can tell you where he got his love for math. With his education complete, he and Sabrina married and moved back home to Young Harris, where they established their home and he would remain until his passing. Daren and Sabrina both made careers as teachers, with Daren beginning right back at where he started, Towns County Schools. Sabrina would join him in a few years, becoming a full-time counselor at the school. It is at this school where Daren thrived, teaching every single mathematics course imaginable, and he became one of the most beloved teachers at the school with his calm teaching style, very hilarious mannerisms, and ability to always seem to have a helping hand in the senior pranks. He was always ready to lend a hand to help a struggling student, would save students from the paddle by hitting the wall behind them and getting them to fake being hit. He had a unique ability to bond with his students with his uncanny dry sense of humor. He also worked with students at the night school in Union County because Daren firmly believed in never giving up on a student, even when the odds were stacked against them. He genuinely cared about the well-being of his students, and this most likely further led to him being well-liked and loved by many in Towns and Union County, with him arguably teaching over half the population of both these counties at one point or another. Daren and Sabrina had their first child Liam in 2003. Father and son shared a bond unlike any other, able to be at each other’s throats at a moment’s notice and yet always sharing a deep admiration and love for each other that could only be described as the perfect display of a Father-Son bond. Their second child, a beautiful daughter, Maeleigh, was born in 2010. Maeleigh was and will always be her Daddy's Girl. Tragedy struck the family in 2012 when Sabrina was diagnosed with Stage four Metastatic Breast Cancer. However, even with this terrible diagnosis, Daren continued to lead his family forward and attempted to provide his children the most normal life possible, although this became nearly impossible when he taught his son years later, who could not seem to figure out if “Dad” or “Dr. King” was more appropriate in a school setting. The three years teaching his son in his new position as a Middle School Robotics teacher arguably put the first gray hairs on his head. Daren loved teaching Robotics as much as he loved teaching Mathematics and had a very successful career with it, with many of his teams winning state tournaments and a few making national appearances, for which Daren gave all the credit to his hardworking students. As the years continued, Daren worked tirelessly at the job he loved and would be there for his family as his wife fought cancer. They would plan many trips together, which provided an opportunity for him to be his normal fun-loving self, such as taking his son to Atlanta to Dragon Con to meet his childhood hero William Shatner, multiple trips to Disney World where he would let his kids loose and take his best friend Kevin around adventuring together like the old days. He also, through and through, had a knack for wearing socks with sandals which made his family groan all the time over his poor sense of fashion, although he never complained about his feet hurting, so maybe he was wiser than he let on sometimes. Unfortunately, after an extensive battle with cancer, the love of his life, Sabrina, passed on to be with Jesus in 2021. This turn of events deeply affected Daren, but in light of this tragedy, the last six months of her life enabled them to fall more deeply in love than seemed possible, and he was quoted as saying, “They got right back to their college days.” Daren continued to raise his children to the best of his ability, and with the help of family and friends, he was able to witness his son graduate high school. An event which he almost missed because he believed what his Pa had told him when he said Daren was “the best driver in the family” but most likely confused that phrase with “slowest driver in the family.” His Aunt Deb is also quoted as saying, “I never knew Hiawassee was so far away from Young Harris” when she was given the unfortunate task of riding to Liam’s graduation with him. Like his father before him, Liam made the same bold and daring move of traveling five minutes down the road to continue his education at Young Harris while also competing on the cross-country team for the school. Clearly, the apple does not fall far from the tree, and the amount of creativity to pull off this move is uncanny. Daren retired from teaching in 2021 and used this opportunity to grow closer to his kids, particularly Maeleigh. Their bond became extensively stronger with each passing day to the extent that when asked what her father did while she was at school, she would say, “he is off saving the universe.” She no doubt made this comparison when Daren more than less likely made Maeleigh sit down and watch Flash Gordon a thousand times during their time spent together in the summer and after school. The two also opened their home to Liam and Maeleigh’s grandmother Wanda, who was a "rock" for the family when Sabrina became very ill. Wanda promised to be there for them well after Sabrina passed away, she has lived up to her promise many times over! Wanda and Maeleigh gave Daren great comfort and joy, and Wanda would often take them to her home in South Carolina, a place that felt more than a second home to Daren. It was a place that offered him great peace and enough cell service to constantly call his family, particularly his son, to talk about movies they had seen, TV, pop culture, and other aspects of life that he rather enjoyed. Even towards the end, he had a knack for annoying everyone in Plottown, even though he was seven hours away. His stupendous presence could be felt even across state lines for whatever reason. It should be noted and cannot be emphasized enough that Daren was a good man with a great heart. However, he was known for his ability to always get others to do things for him, while complaining continuously, with his brother testifying that they ran one marathon together, and all he heard from Daren was complaint after complaint the entire way from start to finish. He was also known for never turning down a stray animal, especially if that animal was a cat. In his life tenure, Daren had over ten cats, six dogs, two goats, and many other animals that brought him infinite joy and infinite headaches, unfortunately becoming one more thing that Daren would complain about. Daren may no longer be in this world, but he left behind many things, as his kids found out when they started going through his stuff. Besides all the material things he left behind, Daren left a legacy of kindness, compassion, unwavering love, selflessness, and an incredible sense of love and respect for all those who were able to meet him. In addition to his children, his brother, Faron and his wife, Rebecca King; grandmother, Ola Mae Wimpy, mother, Lynn Barrett and her husband, Lamar Barrett; Aunt Deb Barrett; cousins, Kendall Barrett, Dawn Nichols, and Charlie Ledford. In lieu of flowers, his family is seeking contributions to offset the damages that this obituary may do to Daren’s character and, as a side, help fund his children’s college educations. If you chose, contributions are being accepted at United Community Bank payable to "Faron or Rebecca King for the Benefit of Liam and Maeleigh King". A celebration of life where Daren decided to be a recluse one last time and hide in his casket will be held on Thursday, July 20, at 11 a.m. at Old Union Baptist Church in Young Harris, which unfortunately will have to grace his presence one last time. Feel free to arrive late, as the King Family (minus Faron and Rebecca) have a knack for never being present on time. Please bring whatever stories, pictures, or anything you may have on Daren to this service since he was a legend in his own mind, and maybe everyone can come together to prove him otherwise one more time. Finally, a special apology to Mom for not keeping the peace and quiet she has been enjoying for longer; unfortunately, you get to be graced with Dad’s presence alone for all eternity or until the rest of us get up there in heaven. I hope you guys rekindled your love as much as you claimed because you will need it. This obituary was written by his loving son Liam, who holds the utmost respect, admiration, and love for his Dad. However, he felt it appropriate to share with others the Dad he came to know and love and get to make fun of him one last time, especially considering Daren is no longer able to dish it right back, so in essence, his son finally gets the last laugh on DEK.
Thursday, July 20, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Eastern time)
Thursday, July 20, 2023
12:00 - 1:00pm (Eastern time)