March 6, 1957 ~ April 17, 2022

Born in: San Francisco, California
Resided in: Arden, North Carolina

Kenneth William Topper, 65, died unexpectedly at his home in Arden, NC, Sunday, April 17, 2022.

Born in San Francisco, CA, he was the son of Charles Topper, and the late Barbara (Boullet). He was also preceded in death by his sister, Sharon.

He was heavily involved in charity work, especially the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt as a Founder/ Executive Director and Board President. Ken worked for the state of California for over 20 years where he was influential in numerous projects at the State Legislature and the State Board of Equalization.

In addition to his father, he is survived by three brothers: Bob Sr. (Kathy), Pete (Stephanie) and Joe (Criselle); two Godchildren: Bob Jr. and Corey, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews.

Services will be held in both North Carolina and California. Once dates are solidified for each event, announcements will be on social media.

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline
  • Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg, png, gif.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  1. Kenny was one of the dearest California staffers. He & Stan Haddon made a tremendous difference during very difficult days. I remember Ken’s laugh & eagle-eye for pomposity. Lovely man; he will be missed & heartfelt condolences to his family. May his name always be for a blessing.

  2. Ken was always a bright light of smiles and sunshine during my days at the Capital in Sacramento. He is now finally united with his beloved Stan. His memory, smile, and dedicated work, will be an unending beacon for so many.

  3. Ken was full of compassion, kindness and laughter. So many people’s lives were made better because of him. My sincere condolences to Ken’s family and friends at this difficult time.

  4. My dear nephew Kenny was the source of so much love. Our times together and our long phone talks were so full of laughter and joy. He brought so much light into the world with his caring and giving ways. He had the ability to look at all situations with intelligence and compassion, and always found a way to make others happy. Words cannot express how much he will be missed by so many. The world was a better place because of him, and his legacy will live on. May his family be blessed knowing he is with his loved ones in God’s hands.

  5. I’ve known Ken for over 40 years and am truly saddened by his passing. I’m sure he’s got the angles in stitches with his sharp wit and humor. I’ll miss him dearly.

  6. Ken’s wit and humor made work and everywhere else he went a brighter and more enjoyable place. My condolences to his family and friends.

  7. My deepest condolences to the Topper family. What a shock to read this passing earlier this week on Facebook. Ken was an incredible individual, so caring and personable. He will be sorely missed.


    K = Kind
    E = Exceptional
    N = Nurturer
    N = Nice
    Y = Youthful

    These are just a few of the words that describe my cousin KENNY. We were blessed to have so many fun and memorable times growing up with my cousins “The Toppers”. Always being led by the #1 cousin “Kenny”. I will miss our texting conversations and his good advice. He was always there to make me feel better during hard times. Kenny was truly concerned about how everyone in the family was doing. Especially, always wanting to know that my mom, his #1 aunt Kay was o.k. They used to stay on the phone for hours at a time and I know this will be so very hard for my mom and all of us to get through. Our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone that knew him and is struggling with this huge loss. He can now sore with the angels that were waiting for him and we can know that we were so blessed to have such a great person in our lives. Rest in piece my dear.
    Love, Loretta aka to Kenny as Doretta and Rick

  9. Kenny and I were colleagues as staffers in the California State Senate during some very painful years in the state and the nation. Along with Stan Hadden and others, his work on AIDS education and legislative efforts as well as statewide outreach was critically important. He was one of the kindest and most funny people I’ve ever known.
    The ancient philosopher and poet Rumi related that when we die, all our prayers, fasts, and deeds of charity will be weighed on a scale. But when kindness is measured in heaven, it confounds the scales and proves impossible to quantify.
    My deepest condolences to Kenny’s family and extended family and friends. Know that his kindness was abundant and he will not be forgotten.
    Fran Burton

  10. Kenny Topper and his partner Stan Hadden helped guide my coming out in the early 80’s, soon after I left the state legislature. Having had no clue I might be gay until I joined the legislature at 36 years of age, they knew my late-in-life realization would be challenging so they surrounded me with love and patient guidance as I navigated my way into a new culture. Kenny was an amazing and empathetic listener and always leavened his thoughtful advice with humor. He had a smile that was disarmingly boyish and could launch a charm offensive better than anyone I know. He was kind and giving by nature and he threw himself into educational and fund raising efforts with relentless energy on behalf of those living with HIV/AIDS. While I feel badly that he passed so young, his 65 years were a gift to all who knew him and I will always remember his sweetness and grace.

  11. Sincere condolences to Ken’s family and close friends. I’m very sorry to hear of his passing. My prayers are with you during this difficult season. Every time I saw Ken at work he brightened my day! His smile, laughter, humor and bright light will shine forever.

  12. I’ve known Ken (Kenny) since the 2nd grade. All thought we lost touch when in our 20s we reconnected on FB. So grateful to be able to have that time. I’m shocked still of his passing. Prayers to the Topper family

  13. I meet Ken (Kenny) in the 2nd grade. Fell out of touch in our 20s. Reconnect with FB. Blessed to have that time with him again. Shocked at his passing. Prayers for family.

  14. My sincere condolences to Ken’s family and friends. Ken was one of my earliest and most impactful professional mentors. I will always be grateful for his support and guidance during my graduate internship with the California Legislature.

  15. Ken was one of the “good ones” to work within the State Capitol. I first met him when he was with the Names Project in San Francisco and later had the pleasure to work with Ken on some challenging issues before the Legislature. Ken brought hope, decency, and joy to many people suffering in our state. He also was a lot of fun! Rest in peace, Ken, for a life well served.

  16. Ken was one of the “good ones” to work within the State Capitol. I first met him when he was with the Names Project in San Francisco and later had the pleasure to work with Ken on some challenging issues before the California Legislature. Ken brought hope, decency, and joy to many people suffering in our state. He also was a lot of fun! Rest in peace, Ken, for a life well served.

  17. When Ken moved in to the house next to mine he had an upright piano in the garage. He would sit in there playing the piano. My then two year old daughter, attracted by the music, would join him on the piano bench and sit wuietly while he played. Often he would make up silly lyrics for her. He was such a big part of our family and we will miss him tremendously.


Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook