DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--One would expect a tour of global aircraft services provider KING AEROSPACE (KA) to include photography showcasing luxury aircraft interior projects, custom aircraft paint exteriors and commemorative shots of military aircraft they have had the honor to service, right? Wrong. Instead, the lobbies, corridors and employee offices at KING AEROSPACE are graced with the most extensive collection of Texas landscape artist W.A. Slaughter paintings in the world.
“I began collecting the works of W.A. Slaughter close to 20 years ago through Bob [Malefant] at Southwest Gallery,” explained KING AEROSPACE Companies founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria (JAKE). “I have always felt a deep spiritual connection to his work, as they remind me of where I grew up deep in the Texas Hill Country.” Several magnificent Slaughter paintings are proudly displayed in Jerry’s personal office, including the very last painting Slaughter was working on when he died in 2003. Each painting features vibrant patches of Texas bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and other native wildflowers that bring back fond childhood memories for Jerry.
“After securing his first purchase, Mr. King became keenly interested in collecting Slaughter’s works, and he now holds the largest private collection in the world,” shared Southwest Gallery Director, Bob Malefant, who has worked with Jerry since the early 1990s to find Slaughter originals.
Over the years Jerry has discovered many parallels between his own life and Slaughter’s. “I feel a very tender kinship with W.A. Slaughter. We both grew up in the San Antonio area. And as young adults we both believed we had a higher calling in life,” shared Jerry. “In addition to his painting, I found out that W.A. Slaughter was a Lutheran minister. Early in my adulthood I also considered going to Lutheran seminary.”
The American Lutheran Church in Mexico City is where Slaughter originally took up painting, mainly to pass time. He was invited to paint with a ladies church group who frequently met near the sanctuary. It was during this time in 1966 that Slaughter painted “A Philosopher’s Walk,” a work that is now a treasured piece in Jerry’s personal collection.
“Ultimately, I felt called to serve God through my work,” Jerry explains. “I felt I could help people by building businesses and creating jobs. For me, I’d rather live my mission than teach it.” Twenty years after being ordained, Slaughter experienced a similar shift in his life’s mission. He retired from the pastorate and devoted himself full time to his painting. “I never really left the ministry,” said Slaughter in an interview many years later. “I now relate to people through my paintings, rather than words. There are sermons in trees and seas.”
Jerry devoted much time to researching Slaughter’s life and met his daughter, Renee Slaughter Harris, along the way. Slaughter taught his daughter, Renee, how to paint wildlife when she was a child. Malefant shared that father and daughter collaborated on only one painting, entitled “Autumn Scene,” a magnificent 40” x 60” landscape that stayed in the private family collection until purchased by Jerry.
Harris entrusted Jerry with the very last painting Slaughter was working on when he died. “I have his easel, paint brushes and the last painting he ever started,” shared Jerry. “What’s very near and dear to my heart is that the very last painting that Mr. Slaughter started was of the Alamo in San Antonio, which is my home town and his.” Harris also gifted to Jerry some cherished miniatures that Slaughter had painted for her dollhouse when she was a child.
“And they’re all in my office beside the last painting he ever finished,” continued Jerry. “Here’s the spiritual side of this story. Below [the painting] I have my KING AEROSPACE Master Plan on a canvas because I, like Slaughter, know that I’ll not finish my master plan in my own lifetime, but will pass it on to my heirs to finish.” Jerry has gone to great lengths to share his blessings by placing a Slaughter piece in virtually every office and common area in each KING AEROSPACE location.
Jerry also has a collection of Slaughter’s wildlife and Hill Country paintings at his El Lobo ranch outside Glen Rose, TX. The collection is housed in a bunkhouse building that he calls the Slaughter House. “People assume the building is called the Slaughter House because it’s where wild game is prepared for guests to take home,” said Jerry. “Well, the great surprise is when they come upstairs and see the collection of Slaughter’s paintings. That’s really where the building gets its name.”
W.A. Slaughter’s life story and works echoes the Cornerstone Principles espoused by all KING AEROSPACE employees, especially Jerry Allan King-Echevarria (JAKE). Commitment to all of these principles is mandatory for all KING AEROSPACE employees, vendors and subcontractors. “The paintings and my ranch are my way of sharing our Cornerstone Principles, the blessings that God has bestowed upon me and my family,” said Jerry. The KING AEROSPACE Cornerstone Principles place service and care into the forefront of their corporate mission.
KING AEROSPACE (KA)
KING AEROSPACE (KA) is a leading provider of military and non-military aircraft services with corporate offices and facilities in Addison, TX and Ardmore, OK. KA specializes in modifications, maintenance, refurbishments and aircraft completions, and is a FAA Certified Repair Station. Turn-key services include avionics installation and repair, cabinetry, upholstery, paint, modifications and repair. The company’s key mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of those they employ, they serve and encounter, and to earn a fair profit. For over 20 years, KING AEROSPACE has provided aviation services to operators of V VIP aircraft, corporate aircraft and government aircraft around the world. KING AEROSPACE is committed to remaining a privately owned company whose focus is on employee and customer satisfaction. For more information visit their company website at www.kingaerospace.com or call 972-248-4886.