*On Saturday, October 21, at a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Woodland Hills, CA, family and close friends said good-bye to Los Angeles (KGFJ, KJLH, KACE), Washington, DC (WMMJ) and Raleigh, NC (Foxy 107-104) radio legend Alvin John Waples who passed away on October 10.
I’m sure we have all attended memorial or funeral services where it was obvious the person presiding over the service didn’t actually know the person they were tasked with memorializing. That was not the case with Alvin’s service.
The person memorializing Alvin, jazz great Ronnie Laws’ son, grew up hanging around Alvin and his family, since his dad and Alvin were friends.
There was mention of Alvin’s sweet tooth, his love of the beach, his love for his family, his declining health as well as his regrets. The talk was very warm and intimate. The comforting words confirmed what most people already knew; that Alvin had touched so many, including Rebbie Jackson, the oldest Jackson sibling and Ronnie Laws and his wife, who were also in attendance.
The closing prayer was given by Alvin’s son, actor Wesley Jonathan. It was hard, if not impossible, for everyone to not feel his pain as he was overcome with emotion.
When the news of Alvin’s passing spread across Los Angeles, although sadness and disbelief were the order of the day, common responses were “he left a legacy” and “he was a voice in the community.”
AJW was loved by many. Helen Waples’ baby boy, high school choir member, talent show winner, former Drake University track star, beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend, may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten.
Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles Based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected].