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Town of Greenville Remembers Music Legend Ray Charles

Charles passed Thursday afternoon of liver failure at his Beverly Hills home at age 73.

In Greenville, Florida those who knew him in his childhood years are looking back.

Greenville, Florida lies 40 miles east of Tallahassee.

It's a small town, where one name stands out.

"I remember on time he came home, here come old R.C., that's what we use to call him, R.C.,” shares childhood friend Elesta Pritchett.

Pritchett, grew up right down the street from Ray Charles.

"He would always come to our house because we were very close to him,” Pritchett says.

The street that was Western Avenue, is now Ray Charles Avenue.

Those living along the avenue were shocked to hear of Charles's passing.

"I very sad, because I didn't think I would get him to come home, and I have tried,” says Pritchett.

Pritchett says she remembers Charles spent time at his grandmother's, what is now a dilapidated home on Ray Charles Avenue, where he would ride his bicycle, sometimes backwards, or when he would walk these train tracks to his home after getting off the Greyhound bus during the days he commuted from a school in Saint Augustine.

"When they brought him from Georgia he was a baby, about two months old,” remembers Bessie Cambridge.

Bessie Cambridge remembers a night club owner named Mr. Pitts, who taught young Charles how to play the piano.

"Mr. Pitts use to put soda water crates and make him sit on there, and he'd get behind him and take his hands and make him do like this,” Cambridge recalls.

She says folks in the town of Greenville have lost, what seems like, a member of their family.


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