Kenneth Evans Raper of Portsmouth, Virginia, passed away on Saturday, January 20th. He had a stroke in July of 2023 and struggled with neuropathy until the end.
Kenneth, or Ken as he was called, was born on August 25, 1940. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School he endeavored to find his purpose and fortune. This path took him all over the world. First to California where he became a bartender and later a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Schools. He loved dancing. He taught and competed professionally for a short while before he opened up his own dance studios.
Expansion of those dance studios took him to Canada where he met a woman by the name of Jenny Craig (not that Jenny Craig). But it didn’t stop him from opening his own Jenny Craig weight loss studios in Canada. Those were short lived but he would build weight loss studios for the rest of his life. All up and down the eastern seaboard – American Weight Loss Clinics and Weight Loss Forever.
His love for travel took him to Africa. He traveled extensively for years in a used VW Bus, all the way down the Eastern coast of Africa until finally settling in Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe).There, he met his first wife and had three boys. It is rumored that in South Africa around 1976, he obtained the toy distribution rights to a small movie called Star Wars. In his words – “South Africa is the only spot on the globe where that damn movie wasn’t a hit”.
He traveled back to the states with his wife and three boys and continued to work in weight loss, hair loss, and other ventures. He eventually divorced and later married Jeanette Davis, the one he would spend the rest of his life with.
Over their more than two decades together, Ken and Jeanette loved reading, the beach, travel, dancing and golf. Jeanette stayed at Ken’s side until the very end. A true companion.
Ken is survived by his three boys, Jason, Adam, and Josh.
A funeral will be held at Altmeyer Funeral Home Maestas Chapel (1801 Baltic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451) on February 1st at 11am. A small reception to follow.