The room was filled with tears of joy and sadness as family, friends and fellow Marching 100 members celebrated the life of Ralphael L. Campbell Jr.
Campbell, 23, known as “Ralphy” to his closest friends and family, died in Tallahassee on Monday, Jan 24.
Campbell was a member of the Marching 100 as a drummer. He was born in Plantation, Fla., and graduated from Rickards High School in 2005, where he was a drum major for the marching band.
“He always kept people laughing and smiling,” said Amanda Livingston, after the packed memorial service held at New Mt. Zion AME Church on Saturday morning.
Many people thought of Campbell as a prankster who loved life.
Livingston talked about how Ralph, or “Ralphy” as she referred to him, was a person that was so full of joy and life and could get anyone to smile.
“He would always say, ‘are you serious’ with a straight face, and would keep people laughing when they were upset,” said Livingston, who was Campbell’s church friend.
“Campbell was a man of his time,” said Livingston.
Campbell obtained his real-estate license at 21 and then bought his first home. Campbell was the founding member of A&S Enterprises LLC and worked for a disability agency.
He was recently employed as a security officer with the federal Transportation Safety Administration at the Tallahassee Regional Airport.
Several family members talked about how he was such a fun person to be around and could light a dark room up.
Xion Lester, a former FAMU broadcast student, was a childhood friend of Campbell’s. Lester said she remembers him as a person that really enjoyed living life and spreading happiness on to others.
Campbell is survived by parents, the Rev. Ralphael L. Sr. and Karen Mills Campbell; brother, Ernest Campbell; sisters, Michelle Campbell and Tasha Joy Campbell. His family resides in Tallahassee.
Campbell’s cousin talked about how much he had a love for cars especially Chevy’s. “Ralphy loved cars especially Chevy’s, and I know that he’s in heaven right now riding and cracking jokes with God.”
Some of the band members that spoke about Campbell said he was the guy that always had a smile on his face. He was seen as a leader who knew how to work hard on the drum line as well as unwind, relax and have fun when it came down to their free time.
The band members all thought of Campbell as a great role model to anyone interested in joining the Marching 100. They said that he was a guy that knew how to work hard and play hard.
The congregation of mourners were amazed and lifted to their feet by the sounds of “The Mad Violinist” played by Ashanti Floyd, a friend of Campbell’s. Floyd wrote and performed the solo in tribute to his friend’s life. Everyone clapped, held hands and sung praise for the performance.
“The Spirit was clearly playing through you,” said the Rev. Anton Elwood to Floyd after the performance. When the solo ended many of the congregation was left speechless, in tears and on their feet.
“Ralphy is still playing the drums and laughing,” said Livingston. “He is bringing joy to heaven just like he did on earth, but he will be missed.”