Community mourns the loss of South Memphis pastor

Pastor Ralph White dies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A beloved pastor and community activist in the South Memphis area passed away Saturday.

Pastor Ralph White dedicated his life to his community, from organizing Healing Hands Around 201 Poplar to Gas for Guns.

Friends say he worked non-stop to improve Memphis.

“He was Mr. South Memphis,” said Pastor Keith Norman, First Baptist Church Broad Avenue.

Pastor Keith Norman of First Baptist Church Broad Avenue has known White for years and is also married his niece.

Over the years, WMC Action News 5 interviewed Pastor White many times.

Some of which were at events and times of turmoil in the city, where White would often speak out against violence.

“He would get involved, he would raise his voice, he would do something about it. He didn't talk about situations, he tried to change things for the better and he was always bringing people together,” said Norman.

Pastor White was leading a memorial service inside his church Saturday when he collapsed.

He later died due to health complications.

“My heart was saddened when I heard about it but then I thought about it and here's a guy who passed doing what he loved,” said Norman.

“He died doing what he was called to do,” said Derrick Harris, church member.

Reverend White led the congregation of Bloomfield Baptist Church for more than 30 years.

Members say they will remember him as an activist, a man of God and a leader.

“It is a big loss. Pastor White not only was the pastor here at this church, but he was sort of the ambassador for the South Memphis Riverside community,” said Harris.

Reverend White leaves behind a wife, three children and a South Memphis community that he spent decades fighting for.

Now those who knew him are vowing to continue his legacy.

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