Kenneth R. Asper, 77, of Fortuna, Calif., passed away peacefully on Friday, February 7, 2014, at the Fortuna Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.
Ken was born in Upland, Calif., in 1936 to Hobart and Roxie Taylor and was later adopted into the family of G. Reuben and Sara Asper, also of Upland. He attended Upland Academy and Upland College; and later attended the University of Southern California for postgraduate study in sociology. He was actively involved for many years in the Upland Brethren in Christ Church, which his father had built.
His career life began in Southern California, where he worked as an educator and counselor for troubled youth and adults. He was a liaison advisor with Friends Outside, serving inmates and families through the California correctional system at both Norco and Pelican Bay. He had been lured for many years to the Klamath River, where his cousins Earl and Carol Hensel ran King Salmon Fishing Resort at the Old Town site. When he moved to Del Norte County, he became a guide on the Klamath River, where he was a keen fisherman and bird watcher. He served as residential manager at Requa Inn for a number of years. He retired to Fortuna in 2007. He was an enthusiastic photographer, using his skills both for pleasure and business.
He was blessed with two families - by birth and adoption - and is survived by his daughter, Nancy Hughes, her husband, Tony and Ken's grandson Jamie, who reside in England; son Steven Asper, his wife Rhonda and grandsons Dalton and Carson, of Pennsylvania; his two sisters, Ruth Gullo and Ardys Lundeen, and his nephew Stan Gullo, of Southern California; niece Kathleen Gibbens, her husband Steve and their son Paul, of Fortuna, Calif. Of the Taylors are Ken's sister Marjorie Rose, nephews Scott and Russell Rose; and niece Gale Taylor. He was preceded in death by his parents, a baby daughter Rychi Ann Asper, his eldest son Craig Asper, his brother Adrian Taylor and nephew John Taylor.
Ken was handicapped in 2001 with the amputation of his leg but remained independent and was often seen around Fortuna on his electric wheelchair in the company of his beloved dog, Brodie. Whenever possible he used public transportation and the generosity of friends to continue exploring the North Coast. He was an advocate for the Americans With Disabilities Act and was the catalyst for handicapped accessibility in several local buildings.
His Christian faith was central in his life and gave him confidence in life eternal. He will be greatly missed by his extended family and many friends, and his neighbors at Mountain View Village and Newburg Retirement Center. The family is grateful for the care of his doctors, nurses and caregivers in Eureka and Fortuna.
A memorial service will be held at Fortuna United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 2 p.m. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to the American Diabetes Association in his name.