Ralph "Riff" West Jr.
1950 - 2014
BORN
1950
DIED
2014
West Jr., Ralph RiffRalph 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 to place a tribute.


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Published by Orlando Sentinel from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, 2014.
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100 Entries
I used to bartend at Beef 'O Brady's in Orlando and Riff used to come in. He was always so kind. I thought of him because of a song on the radio, and I was sad to hear of his passing when I looked him up. He was such a nice man. My condolences to his family and loved ones, I know even years later, they are still missing him.
Ashley Merrick
January 21, 2021
I've seen Molly Hatchet a few times, meet Riff at a party they played at in Munnsville, New York. Great guy, and better musician. RIP Brother
Frank Robinson
May 14, 2020
I met Riff several times in my life and was made better by him and his music. He was an inspiration to me in many ways. I miss him. God Bless.
Mike Randolph
July 19, 2018
My condolences to his family. It was a blessing to have known him.
Jon Cameron
September 10, 2016
Johnny Marco
September 3, 2016
I am crushed to have found this. Riff was our neighbor on Cloverlawn Ave in Orlando. He was such a great friend. He was so kind and down to earth. I am heartbroken. Last time we spoke he was moving to go help care for his parents. I am so so sorry for your loss of such an incredible man. God Bless you all and may Riff Rest in Peace. My sincere condolences. Tammy Dudley
Tammy Dudley
May 30, 2016
My Condolences to the Family of Riff West.
I was such a big fan of his when he was in Molly Hatchet.
Also the benefit concert for DJB
Rest in Peace, Riff
David Berens
January 19, 2016
Too many lost of the best of Molly Hatchet! I'm sorry we lost Riff. Rock Heaven Brother!
Thomas Donlin
December 27, 2015
Terri Stewart
July 23, 2015
This is for Riff may his light always shine
Sharon (Hughes) Bannimga
June 23, 2015
A Great man, Riff is the greatest bass player. He did a tremendous job with Molly Hatchet. He will be sorely missed. My prayers and heart go out to his family and to Molly Hatchet.
Chip Derr
June 22, 2015
Big part of Molly H. Listening to Live '85 and Fall of the Peacemakers tonight here in Chicago. Still love it!! RIP Riff. God Bless.
March 30, 2015
Riff and I talked about putting a band together. I cannot believe he is gone. Ride the wind my dear friend up to the cloads to heaven.......Love you my friend
John Rainey
January 9, 2015
"A Tear Within Sorrow, A Smile Within Remembrance Intermingled As One"
david vandenberg
January 9, 2015
To Family and Friends...Riff was the Best Bass Player ever all these years and more still to come Reading about Riff's kindness and stories is as amazing as when i met Elvis one day at Graceland Rock n Roller In The Sky My Prayers and Blessings To you'all Wolf...
January 8, 2015
I seen Riff countless time when he was with Molly Hatchet. I true entertainer. He will be missed.
CRAIG FORTUNE
January 8, 2015
Terri, sending my condolences and prayers to you. Although Riff's soul has found a new home in Heaven; I firmly believe that his spirit is still a part of his earthly presence and remains with all who loved him. Blessings and prayers of comfort to you.

Jo Hudson
January 7, 2015
Jay Williams newer video memorial of Riff; exquisitely done, thank you, King Bee !!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSowQFGG81U
Terri
January 5, 2015
http://youtu.be/G8oahdD2M2E - A beautiful memorial video, by his dear friend, Jay Williams from Georgia... they go back decades... all the way to Macon, GA in the 70s. Thank you, Jay, for a beautiful job memorializing your memories of Riff's 'musical' life and evolution into a 'rock star' bassist!
Terri Stewart
January 5, 2015
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