West Jr., Ralph Riff
Ralph E. "Riff" West, Jr., 64, of Sanford, Florida, passed away on November 19, 2014 after a lengthy illness due to a car accident. Health complications included severe respiratory and other injuries sustained when an airbag exploded on his chest and head. Born April 13, 1950 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Riff lived most of his life in Orlando, Florida. He graduated Lyman High School in 1968, and was active in sports and music. He attended Seminole Community College. Riff, a self-taught bass player and vocalist, played with various rock & roll bands, including White Witch, the 'original era' Molly Hatchet Band throughout the 80s, Foghat in the early 90s, and Gator Country in 2005. He joined Downtown Sound of Orlando, Inc. backline company in 1993. Riff was known worldwide as an accomplished musician, his lasting legacy includes the production of numerous benefit concerts and fundraisers for children, fellow musicians in need, and animals (e.g., Children's Make-A-Wish, the "Jammin for DJB" event, Orlando SPCA & Humane Society, respectively, and many more) While much will be said about Riff's intellect, wit, contributions to the community and others, he simply wanted to be remembered as a man who loved his faith, America, parents, friends, the NY Yankees, sports cars, music, and all children and animals. He was an honorable and loving man who is already deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. Mr. West is predeceased by his beloved parents, Ralph Emerson West, Sr. and Jane Frances Woods West, and his infant brother and namesake, Ralph Emerson West, Jr. He is also survived by two older brothers, Jack West of Apopka and Len (Gayle) West of Woodstock, GA Apologies are extended for the untimely and uncontrollable chain of events which precluded arrangements and the publication of Mr. West's obituary until now. In accordance with Riff's directives, a private service for immediate family was held at Lankford Funeral Home in Deland on Friday, November 21, 2014. Riff's fiancée and designated Personal Representative, Terri Stewart, would like to extend her heartfelt prayers for those special friends, extended family members music fans, and all others who sent love and prayers during Riff's illness and recent passing. God bless each and every one of you. Riff's benevolence will be remembered by all. His kind and gentle spirit lives on in those with whom he shared his beliefs, his music, and his charity toward strangers. Among his good works on Earth, Riff was a humble man who directed that he become a "donor" upon his passing. His wishes were honored. At the request of Mr. West, in lieu of flowers or sympathy cards, memorial donations may be made to fund The Riff West Foundation (a charitable organization being formed to benefit his chosen causes: abused children and women, music education for children, musicians in need, and animal welfare), c/o Terri Stewart, Personal Representative, 5224 W. State Rd. 46 #422, Sanford, FL 32771. An official Memorial of Riff West's Life and Legacy is in the planning and organizing stage by Friends of Riff West at this time. As those plans are put in place by his friends, the Riff West Life and Legacy Memorial Event will take place at an appropriate venue in late January or February, 2015. ALL announcements will be kept public and updated as plans are finalized, through social media and friends. As Riff would say, "Peace." Lankford Funeral Home in DeLand, FL. Has been entrusted with his care. Please visit lankfordfuneralhome.com
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Published by Orlando Sentinel from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, 2014.