Katie Sawyer King was born on 9 October 1923 and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She was one of four children. King graduated from E.E. Smith High School in 1943 and then worked for a short time in the laundry at Fort Bragg.
King entered the Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II and started training at Hampton Training School for Nurses in September 1944. She completed the program, which included a six-month program at St. Phillips’s Nursing School in Richmond, Virginia, in September 1947. King returned to Fayetteville after the war, working at Highsmith Hospital and then Pittman Hospital, where she was the head nurse of the African American ward.
King married George King on 6 September 1948, and they had three children, Cynthia, George III, and Michael. While George King was in the army, Katie King worked in a hospital in Germany from 1956 to 1957 and at McCain Tuberculosis Sanitorium in the early 1960s. She earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing education from the Tuskegee Institute in 1965.
In the early 1980s, Katie King was called into the ministry at Hood's AME Zion Church in Fayetteville. She served as a preacher and evangelist for about twenty years, retiring in 2003.