- Promoter Don King greets a friend in the crowd after the memorial service for his wife, Henrietta, at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010.
*Security officials found ammunition in the carry-on luggage of boxing promoter Don King as he headed out of Cleveland after attending his wife’s funeral, an airport spokeswoman said Monday.
Rob Winnick, a spokesman for King’s production company, said Henrietta King died of stomach cancer Thursday night (Dec. 2) in Boca Raton. She was 87.
The couple was married for more than 50 years and had three children. Henrietta King had been battling the disease since 2006. Winnick said King and his family was by her side when she passed away at Hospice at the Sea in Boca Raton.
According to CNN, the carry-on bag incident took place at Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport Sunday night, said spokeswoman Jackie Mayo. ”He was stopped at a security checkpoint and ammunition was found in his carry-on luggage,” she said.
The ammunition was confiscated and King was allowed to continue to his flight, Mayo said. No charges were filed.
The Transportation Security Administration also confirmed the incident, without identifying the passenger.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered at Cleveland’s Mt. Olivet Institutional Baptist Church on Saturday (Dec. 11) for Henrietta King’s memorial service.
“She was my rock, my well of wisdom, my best friend,” Henrietta’s niece Jean King-Battle told the crowd, which included the Rev. Al Sharpton, Edward Gillespie, former counselor to President George W. Bush; former heavyweight boxer Michael Dokes; and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
“She’s gone home,” said Don King, as he stood before his wife’s coffin. “She guided me like Moses guided the children of Israel. She was by my side in everything we did, even when our house was blown up on 147th Street and when I went to prison. She was there.”
Hanrietta King, left, with her husband, Don, and daughter Debbie, and sons Eric, left, and Carl in 1975.
Sharpton delivered a eulogy, praising the Kings for donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to many causes, usually anonymously. He also said he didn’t trust people who lead a squeaky-clean life.
“You don’t hide from your past, you rise above it,” he said. “I hang out with people who have been knocked down, dragged through the mud and got up again. These are people who have been through it all and survived it. I don’t trust people who’ve had it too good.”
Sharpton, no stranger to controversy himself, said the Kings worked their way up from poverty to power, from the “streets to the suites.”
“They became models of regular blacks who started on the street and rose above it, even if Don had to run numbers,” he said to a crowd smiling and nodding in agreement. “Selling numbers was our version of Merrill Lynch, a way to break out.”
Sharpton said when he first met King in the 1970s, he thought the man dream’s were “hallucinogenic,” but when he met Henrietta at the family home in Windsor, he understood where the inspiration came from.
“Don became a giant. She was his solid foundation,” he said.
The couple have three children and four grandchildren.