Kenneth (Ken) Leroy Ravey
May 20, 1928 ~ Dec. 22, 2016
Kenneth (Ken) Leroy Ravey, 88, of Mesa, Arizona, died on December 22, 2016. Surrounded by love and respect, Ken passed away peacefully, while in hospice with family in Morada, California.
He was born on May 20, 1928 in Saint Paul, Minnesota to Esther and George Ravey. The youngest of five children, Ken began life on a small farm next to the Mississippi River. The depression was in full swing and after a few years he moved into the city with his mother when his parents separated. He was an avid athlete and sharp enough student to skip the fifth grade.
Pearl Harbor sent his 2 brothers into the service when he was starting high school. His oldest brother, Will, was killed in action in the Pacific and his other brother, George, survived combat in Italy and Austria. Despite severe wounds, he recovered and lived a long, successful life. Ken graduated high school in 1945, lettering 9 times in 7 different sports and went to college for a year before entering the Army on his 18th birthday in 1946. By October he was in Japan serving in General MacArthur’s personal honor guard, and playing more ball for the Army against our Navy and allies. By October 1947 he was home, discharged from service and back in college.
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That only lasted a bit over a year because he met the love of his life, Mary Ann Peterson and they got married in July 1949. Normal for that time, daughter Connie was born in 1950, son Tim was born in 1951 and daughter Kathleen was born in 1952. Ken started a career with Transport Clearings, bought a house in Saint Paul and like so many of that generation, he had a full time father job at the ripe age of 24. He loved those babies and the household they brought him so full of life.
Transport Clearings promoted Ken and moved the family to Southern California in 1957, where son Thom was born, then again to New England in 1960 and San Francisco in 1962. He settled down for the next 25 years in Alameda where son Joe was born in 1967.
Ken used these principles to guide his life:
“Don’t hate people, dislike what they do, but love them for being one of God’s creations.”
“My destiny is in my own hands. To earn a reasonable life of love and respect, use my own ingenuity to solve problems as they arise.”
The Ravey family thrived in Alameda. Ken, Mary Ann and their kids were actively involved in church, school, sports and neighborhood activities. Here is where Ken’s two quotes came together; they took destiny in their own hands and made a loving household that served up love not just for the Ravey family, but also for our friends and neighbors of the Alameda West End community. The family dinner table always sat extra places for friends and neighbors. The food went fast, the conversation was lively, the fellowship was warm and all felt respected. At Trinity Lutheran church, Mary Ann sang in the choir and Ken helped with the business side. In 1973 Ken and Mary Ann started the Encinal High School Booster Club to help the school continue activities the district was struggling to fund and as a way to pay back the school for all the blessings and benefits it had provided for the Ravey kids.
By 1984 the Ravey children were getting married and moving out, so a vacation home in Truckee at Tahoe Donner extended a new branch opportunity from Alameda to the mountains for Ken and Mary Ann. In 1987 Ken and Mary Ann moved to Truckee in semi-retirement and recreated in Tahoe Donner another extended family of friends and neighbors as they had done in Alameda. By now, there were also 12 grandchildren who basked in the summers and played mightily in the snowy winters at the wonderful Tahoe Donner house of grandpa Ken and grandma Mary Ann.
In 1995 Ken and Mary Ann bought a warm weather winter home at Palmas del Sol in Mesa, Arizona and by 1999 had sold the Tahoe Donner home to live year round in the soothing warmth of Mesa. They also celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with more than 200 friends and relatives at North Star in July of that year.
Sadly, Mary Ann passed away in Mesa in December 2000. Ken was disconsolate after the loss of his life partner and soul mate, but continued to be a man of goodwill and friendship to the members of his community in Mesa. His children and grandchildren made sure to take every opportunity to visit with him and share the good stuff only grandpa Ken could provide for us.
Ken is survived by his children; Connie McKinney (Thom), Tim Ravey (Lucy), Kathy Rodriguez (Ron), Thom Ravey (Pacita), Joe Ravey (Janet), 11 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Services in Truckee with a date to be set in mid-August, interment next to Mary Ann Ravey.
Ken Ravey Fund – EHS Alumni Association
c/o Encinal High School
210 Central Ave.
Alameda, CA 94501
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