Neal was a true friend to many. We shared a lot of music and percussion ideas through the years. I remember him starting The Percussion Center when it was just in a living room of an old house in Ft. Wayne. He helped me get an endorsement with Premier drums with a the first white colored custom kit, and then later custom 20x20 & 20x18 custom kicks chrome inside and out. I could go on for hours as Neal helped me in so many ways be a better percussionist and person. He was was a great businessman, with a charisma and personal touch that made dealing with him a pleasure. The Percussion Center was the pinnacle of drum shops that had so many wonderful people working with him. And dealing with drummer/artists can have its challenges. He was great and will definetely be missed.
Thank God we have a lively hope and we will see him at the gathering. 1 Thes. 4!!!
All our love to Robin and family.
Mark and Connie Richards
Robin, Tina, Joy, and family
Neal was always the right person at the right time for me. He taught, inspired, coached, motivated, and helped me discover music. He gave his time and knowledge selflessly and he meant so much to me. Whenever we talked he was available and giving as always. I will miss him dearly.
What a great guy and friend.
You will be missed not only
by your family but by many
others who knew you.
You will never be forgotten.
You were a wonderful person
neal was a great person i ever met and i'll will miss
I am so sorry to hear about Neal's passing.I have fond memories of taking drums lessions from Mike Shively at the Percussion Center.When I was a kid Neal helped my parents out with picking out my first drum kit. It was a red Premier Set. I took that set of drums to Branson,Canada and did alot gigs around the Fort Wayne area. I still have that same drum kit today.Percussion is my passion and Neal was apart of making my dreams come a live.Thank you Neal for all your support. God Bless you!
Neal was a source of information and encouragement when I began my drumming journey. I miss the old Percussion Center---a great place to hang out and always well stocked and competitively priced. Neil was the heart and soul of it. Rest in peace.
Fond, fond memories of the Percussion Center and Neal talking to me seriously about drumming and percussion. He had a profound effect on all of us. And what better way to sum up a meaningful life. Thanks, Neal.
I met Neal not long after his doors opened for business. I used to ride by bike there when I was taking lessons from Mike Shively. I bought all of my equipment from him and still have it all to this day. (bought in '74) Even after I moved away after high school I would bump into him now and again. He always remembered me. He was ALWAYS kind, attentive and supportive in my musical endeavors. Truly heaven has gained a great soul and we have lost one. Rest in peace my friend. I believe the Lord would say to you, "Well done."
I was student of Neal's at NorthSide 1971 to 1974 He was a Great Teacher I was sorry I missed comming to the furnel I missed this in the paper I heard about it at a Habitat Meeting Last night With United Methodist God's Blessings to all of the Family he will be missed he was a Great Teacher and mentor
I remember taking lessons at Neal's store on Fourth street. I always looked forward to going to that old house and being amazed at all the equipment he could pack in there! For me, going to his store was always like a trip to a candy factory, filled with all kinds of good sounds to play and enjoy! Neal always had a smile and a helpful attitude. He was the go to guy for percussionists in Northern Indiana. Tim Woods (Frankfort IL)
I just learned of Neal's death on Facebook. He was a wonderful person with a wonderful family. George enjoyed working for him at Persussion Center.
My sympathy to everyone who knew him, as they feel a loss also.
Robin, Tina and Joy-
Words can't express my sympathy. Neal was one of the the reasons I kept drumming after high school. I know I was a pain in the butt as a student, and believe me, I got it back 10 fold when I became a teacher. But he and Bruce made it all worthwhile.
Hope some of these guest book entries bring back wonderful memories.
Be strong and god bless you all.
With Deepest Sympathy,
Michael, Susan (Arnold), and Hailey Richards
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Dear Robin and family,
Our hearts go out to you and the family as it has been said before Neal was a special person and will be missed so very much. In reading I understand the big "C" is what took his life, we are struggling with this now as Allison has IV stage breast cancer it is such a terrible disease. You are in our prayers
Those we have loved will be in our hearts forever. May your sadness be softened with remembered joys.
Jim and Marsha Pepple family
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always. Neal was my xylophone teacher back in 1977 when you still carried xylophones on the marching field (BOP '78)
I was also privileged to play in several services and productions with Neal at St. Joe UMC as a member of the church.I had not been active in the church for a long time and Neal recognized me from band days when I attended my first Hebrews Joe service with my sister Susan. He has touched and led many in his lifetime and he willed be missed.
I started lessons with Neal when I was about 10 at Tom Berry Music right after he graduated from Ball State. He had a picture of his Fiance (Robin) on his desk in the studio. I thought she was the prettiest girl in the world and how lucky he was. Those lessons continued through my college years and he became a mentor of sorts, teaching me much more than just music. Self discipline, dedication and the dangers of procrastination are a few of the things he preached that have stayed with me.I've heard other musicians say they could always tell which students were his by how well they played (and students of those students too).That is a lasting legacy for sure. (That student of his that taught Cy Staller? That was me. There's that legacy thing I'm referring to.) Neal, we will miss you.
Dear Robin and Family,
I was very sorry to hear of Neal's passing. As you may be are aware, I was a student (North Side High 1975) and worked with Neal at the Percussion Center and The Music Spectrum. I have many fond memories of those days. I also had the privelage of sitting in as a Bass Player in several of his bands. Neal was a fine man and will be missed by all who knew him.
Dear Robin and family,
So very sorry to hear of Neal's passing. He was a gentleman and outstanding percussionist. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
(Northrop bands 1977-1980)
I had the honor of knowing Neal for 40 years, and have always admired and respected him. He was a fine professional and a caring and trustworthy individual. My life was enhanced by Neal's presence in it; I'll miss him.
Robin and family,
I was so sad to hear about Neal, but rejoice in his elevation to Heaven. Neal was such a close friend, confidant and mentor to me. I can't count the number of times he helped me, made suggestions, shared his thoughts on his business, my business, our mutual affairs, and all things percussive. I treasured every single time I came to Ft. Wayne to visit. We often joked that I was Neal, just 10 years behind him. Whatever he did, I did it 10 years later. His story is my story. The beautiful part of that is that he is so loved by his students, colleagues and friends. I hope to be more like him still. And Lucy and I rejoice in that when Neal knocked on the Heaven's Gate…he was handed a drum instead of a harp. I know you all will miss him the most, but I sure do miss him already. I am so grateful for his guidance and friendship.
Robin...It was tremendous getting to spend some time with you and Neal last time you were out here. Neal was a dear friend and I'll miss him very much. God Bless you and the family!
Robin and Family, we are sorry for your lose. It is tough anytime of the year to loose a loved one, but more so during the Holidays when we are thinking of being with family members. Robin, we'll keep you and your family you in our Prayers. Grace and Peace. Monty, Val and Family.
My prayers are with all the family. I remember Neal from all the times he played with the Good Shepherd Saturday night praise team. My husband Rob really appreciated him.
Graham family, I am saddened to learn of Neal's passing, but I am joyful that he is no longer in discomfort, fighting this fight. I first encountered Neal when I was a student at North Side and Neal was doing his student teaching. We became reconnected (although Neal certainly didn't remember me) when he played for the Sanctuary Choir at Good Shepherd. He was the kindest man, full of warmth and genuinesss. He will be missed by many.
Robin, Tina, Joy and family,
I wish there was some magic words to say to help ease the pain your family is feeling now. I know how hard you and Neal fought the cancer! Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prays.
Georgi & Scott Brown
I had the pleasure of working with Neal on percussion projects on and off over the past 20 years. His infectious smile, laugh, and genuine positive nature was a boost to my own efforts every time we met. Neal was always ready to help, always coming through with the answer, and a great example of how to be professional. Thank you Neal, you will be missed.
Dear Graham family,
I am so glad Robin & Neal came out to Az last spring. I am so saddened to hear of your loss. His kind, gentle spirit and music will be missed greatly.
In His Name,
Amy Crellin & Family
Praying thanksgiving for the joy of music & The Lord I had the opportunity to share with Neal.
I was extremely saddened when I heard about Neil's passing. He had such a huge influence on my life. I studied under a student of his from ages 7 to 14 and then had the privilege to learn from him directly at Northrop in his drum line and in private lessons. My confidence as a drummer and as a person was effected by Neil in a big way. He will be missed. My sympathy for you and your family runs deep.
To the Graham family: I am sorry to hear about Neal's death. I have known him for many years. We had brief conversations when together @ music events. He was a great musician and friend. He left a mark in Ft Wayne with his talent and teaching. He will be missed. He will be heard even from afar. Bless you and your family.
Juanita F.Murrill - Ft Wayne, Indiana
I am sad to see the news about Neal's passing. I have known him for many years. He was a geat musician and will be missed in the community. I enjoyed his kindness to me and our short conversations. We crossed paths when he'd play at church and other events.
I will miss seeing him. May he rest in peace. Blessings to his wife,children, and family.
Juanita F. Murrill
Robin, I am so sorry for your loss. I got to know Neil when we were working with Northrup's music programs (Jazz, Concert and Marching Band) under Barry Ashton. He will be missed greatly.
Dear Graham family,
My sincerest condolences to all of you on the loss of your husband and father and grandfather Neal. Regretfully I haven't had the opportunity of being in touch since he closed the Percussion Center and we lost touch. He was my drum teacher and our drum line director at North Side from '69-71. It was God using drumming and all that went with it that saved me through a terrible period of grief in my life. I believe to this day that "Mr. Graham", as we called him, cut me a lot of breaks because he knew I was hurting. He never even got upset at all the drum heads and sticks I broke playing hard and loud. Just wanted you to know he was a major player and a great influence in my life. God's peace and comfort to you all.
I am so sorry to hear of Neal's passing and my thoughts and prayers are with you all. He was an icon in the Ft. Wayne music community and a very nice man. He was kind enough to provide my son Jesse with his first full-time job at XL back some 12 years ago. He will be greatly missed.
SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. GOD PROMISES US THAT WE WILL SEE OUR LOVED ONES AGAIN, MAY YOU FIND COMFORT KNOWING THAT HE IS HERE FOR YOU NOW.
Robin, Neal was an old friend and will be sorely missed by the drumming community. His optimistic spirit was infectious, and I loved his entrpenurial spirit. He and his businesses were a real attribute to the Ft. Wayne drummers. He will be missed. Neil Federspiel
To Robin, Tina, Joy, Jeremy. I'm glad I was able to stop out at the shop a few months ago to have a conversation as to what we BOTH had been going through with our cancer.
So memories we had gone through. So many trade shows in Chicago, Anaheim, Atlanta, Phoenix.
I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to make some amends but God understands.
I learned so much from Neil over the years & will always be grateful for his knowledge & wisdom.
I've still been fighting the after effects from my Leukemia, I may have troubles getting to see all the family but will do my best.God bless you & your entire family.
All our love from myself & my entire family.
Kenton, Patti, Jordan, Austin Snyder, Katelin & ZachSaalfrank, her husband who is in the Navy.
Robin, Tina and Joy- Neal was great to work with. I enjoyed making music with Neal. He spoke often of his family, especially of his grandchildren. I will miss him, our band “Story” will miss him, and the whole Fort Wayne community of musicians will miss him.
First met Neal in 1974 when getting my first kit. He was always a great inspiration and mentor with my drumming. May God give you all the Peace that passes all understanding.
Robin, Tina & Joy- WE are so sorry for your loss. Losing someone you love at this time is so sad. You are in our thoughts and prrayers. We are in Gukf Shores, AL but, will be thinking of you this weekend. May the memoies and love you shared help to comfort you. Our Deepest Sympathy- Barry & Nan Ashton
Dear Robin Tina and Joy,
I wish there was something I could say to ease the pain you are going thru but I know there is nothing I can do. Bill and I are sadden by the loss of Neal. I can't tell you all the conversations Bill and I have had regarding your family.Joy Bill and I will never forget your spring break or when your Dad made his famous Chicken allfrado.
Bill always said Neal was his best friend and I felt the love they had for each other.I know he never made it one more time to play togather so the next time will be in Heavens Band. I feel so blessed to have known Neal and all of you With all our love Bill and Marcia Martin. There first band The Comets.
Robin and girls and spouses. we have been praying for all of you since we found out about Neals fight with that dreaded disease. We will still be praying for your family. Sorry we will be unable to attend the services as we are in Texas for the winter. Sympathy and Love for n Neals life and for the remainder of your life Robin. We have been like family since you and your folks moved here, with Pandle Blessings to you and your family and prayer for healing for the rest of the family. We am lost for words for how we feel. Keep the Faith. Gary & Annette Witte
Robin, Tina and Joy,
I am so sorry for your loss. May your memories help sustain you.
Neal has left an amazing legacy in the industry and inspired so many people in life and work. May you find peace in knowing he touched so many lives in such a positive way. My thoughts are with you all.
Robin, Tina and Joy,
As I have been in Texas since 1974, I unfortunately lost touch with Neal. I have fond memories of the Trio (Graham, Martin and Walker) during my Leo High years. Although the guys were a year or two ahead of me, I looked up to them as mentors. We all had much fun in the Leo HS band. As I recall your father was our drummer when we won First place at the Indiana State HS band completion. Neal was the best of the best! Maybe he will let me play saxophone with him in his band in heaven. God Bless you and your Dad.
Terry Sauder Leo HS class of 1966.
I was saddened to hear of your lost. I met Mr. Graham (Neal) in 2003 at Snider where I played snare and quads. Neal was very passionate, and enjoyed working with the Drumline. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have worked with him. Praying for family and friends.
(Snider Drumline) Class of 2007
Robin and family,
Neal was a wonderful man. He loved his family. He was steady like a drum beat. God bless Neal and God comfort each of you.
May the wonderful memories shared together, warm your hearts during your time of loss, and may the God of all comfort wrap His arms tightly around you.
My sincere condolences to the family of Neal Graham. I knew Neal through my involvement with drum corps and band back in the late 70's and early 80's, but I lost touch with Neal. He was always very kind and supportive in my work. God bless the Graham family.
I'll never forget Neal's kindness and expertise at The Percussion Center. I would talk for hours with him and he always gave his knowledge willingly and with a smile, even if you were a teenage kid who wasnt buying anything that day! God bless you Neal.
Robin, Tina and Joy,
Words cannot express my sympathy for your loss. Neal was a great husband, father and grandfather, made evident everytime he spoke of any of you or the kids. I will always remember the passion Neal had for his family, friends and work. I am privileged to have known and worked with Neal and am blessed to be able to call him a friend. May you all find peace and comfort moving forward and Neal's legacy live on in each of us who were so very fortunate to have known him.
Kevin and Jennifer Ruppert
Will miss you, Bro. See you in Heaven.
Tina and family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Many prayers are being sent your way.
Sam, Mystee, Rylee and Brady Eagleson