Unity woman was known for King Garden Palace’s Christmas display
Christmas was a yearlong affair for Ricarda King, founder and head designer of the Christmas Wonderland at the former King Garden Palace and Nursery in Unity.
Every year on New Year’s Day, King would start planning decorations for the dozens of trees that would decorate the shop later that year, and nothing was off the table: traditional red, green and gold ornaments; silver bells; woodland creatures and Steelers’ Terrible Towels all graced the trees.
“You name it, she would come up with it,” said her daughter-in-law, Rebecca King. “And that was really a feat.”
Ricarda H. King, of Unity, died Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill. She was 77.
Born Oct. 27, 1940, she was the daughter of the late Aloysius Richard “Lou” and Ricarda Catherine (Kenna) Kuenzig.
Mrs. King was a proud resident of Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood. She moved to Greensburg after marrying her late husband, Raymond E. King Sr., in 1969. King ran what was then a small retail garden center. The couple opened the Christmas shop a few years later, and Mrs. King took over the role as head designer.
Mrs. King’s love of Christmas was rooted in her strong faith, said her son, Raymond King. Every year, she would trek to New York City to scope out trendy decorations or color schemes.
“Loved it all. There wasn’t anything that I can say that stands out as a favorite, other than to say that she simply loved to decorate for Christmas,” King said of his mother.
At its peak, the Christmas Wonderland shop housed 17,000-square-feet of decorations and about 30 decorated trees, King said.
Family members also remember Mrs. King as a dedicated grandmother who loved spending time with her grandchildren, whether they were swimming in the pool or coordinating themed St. Patrick’s Day parties.
“She was a very special person to a lot of people, not just family,” her son said. “She had a laugh larger than life.”
Mrs. King was a member of St. Benedict Catholic Church, as well as the church’s Marguerite and the Rosary Altar Society. She was also employed by PPG Pittsburgh.
She is survived by two sons, Raymond E. King Jr. and wife, Rebecca, of Latrobe; Ronald E. King and wife, Christine, of Greensburg; and her daughter, Renee E. King-Cunningham and husband, Kevin, of Dillsburg; and 10 grandchildren.
Friends will be received Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Friday 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, 2072 Route 130, Pleasant Unity. Prayers will begin 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, followed by a funeral mass at 10 a.m. at St. Benedict Catholic Church, Marguerite. Interment will follow at Westmoreland County Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Benedict Catholic Church, 260 Bruno Road, Greensburg, PA 15601.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected]
or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.