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Gwinnett business leader, longtime volunteer King passes away

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Barbara King, a respected business leader and longtime Gwinnett civic volunteer, passed away Wednesday morning.

King retired from Duluth-based Primerica in 2009 as an executive vice president, spending nearly 30 years with the company. But she also had a large role in the community, serving on the boards of numerous nonprofits and civic organizations, including the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, Gwinnett Technical College, Georgia Gwinnett College, The Hudgens Center and Annandale Village.

Ellen Gerstein, executive director for the Gwinnett Coalition, worked with King for "at least" 15 years and considered her a close friend.

"She was so involved in this community and did so much for this community from her position at Primerica," Gerstein said, "where she oversaw the grants and put a lot of money back into this community."

"I will sorely miss her," she added. "There is not one negative thing I can say about the woman. She was truly amazing."

King was one of the original coalition board members behind Gwinnett's "Great Days of Service" initiative, and received many honors during her professional and volunteer careers. She was given a United Way Women's Legacy Award in 2010.

"Barbara was just a very good person and just loved by the community and respected for her business acumen," Gwinnett Chamber President Jim Maran said. "I think you would find across the board that everyone would say the same things about her."

"Barb was heavily engaged in supporting us and driving the process to make sure we were engaged heavily in economic development and job creation and maintaining a quality of life here in Gwinnett County."

King passed away at about 4 a.m. Wednesday after a "long, hard battle to regain her health," according to a memo circulated at Primerica.

A memorial service will be held Saturday at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 1243 Hulsey Road in Cleveland. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the church or Annandale Village, 3500 Annandale Lane in Suwanee.

"(King) just really had a passion for making Gwinnett better," Gerstein said.