A Florida A&M University alumnus passed away March 12 after crashing into another vehicle.
Melvin Ray, 24, collided with a van on Bainbridge Highway in Quincy around 2:30 p.m., and was wearing a safety helmet. The driver of the van was not hurt according to Lt. James Shaw of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Ray was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Ray had recently returned from touring with the FAMU Gospel Choir (FGC) in Dallas and Houston, Texas, a day prior to his death. He was the choir’s bassist.
A 2010 graduate of Quincy’s East Gadsden High School and a Spring 2015 FAMU graduate, Ray received his bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities.
He was a history teacher at James A. Shanks Middle School in Gadsden County. He actively played bass for his church at St. John Church of God in Christ and local music group Total Praise.
Students, like third-year FAMU physical education student from Lakeland and FGC member Sharard Saddlers, said Ray will always be remembered for his love and passion for music.
“Melvin was a happy, positive, spirited young man. Whenever I saw him, he was laughing or smiling. He was an extraordinary musician receiving high praise from every church we sang at throughout the tour,” Saddlers said.
Director of FGC Devin Hagans, said FGC was his favorite group to play for. Along with Hagans, professor of history at FAMU Reginald Ellis, Ph.D., expressed his sentiments.
“You never know the impact a student will have on you. Melvin was an unapologetic country-boy like myself. Very energetic,” Ellis said. “This loss will be felt by his professor and colleagues.”
The homegoing celebration for Melvin Ray was held Saturday, March 19 at St. John Church of God In Christ, located at 3490 Bainbridge Hwy, Quincy, FL 32352 at 11 a.m.
A Memorial Musical was held at St. John's, Friday, March 18 at 8 p.m. for family, friends and colleagues to attend.