Ralph Campbell Jr. was someone who never failed to smile and who seemed always to take the long, positive view. He was widely respected as a Raleigh City Council member and later as state auditor, the first and only African-American elected to statewide office. He died last night at age 64 after battling lung cancer.

The Lightner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Update2:Per WRAL, Campbell’s body will lie in repose at the Capitol on a day also dedicated to observing Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The conjunction of the two is fitting. In the evening, Campbell will be remembered in a memorial service at the Progress Energy Center:

Campbell will lie in repose in the State Capitol rotunda from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

A visitation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Fletcher Opera Theater at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. His funeral will be at noon Saturday at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, 813 Darby St., followed by interment at Carolina Biblical Gardens in Garner.

Of interest: Gov. Perdue is one of the scheduled speakers at a Martin Luther King Day event at First Baptist Church on Friday at 12 noon. The church is at 101 S. Wilmington St., adjacent to the Capitol.


Update: Secretary of State Marshall’s statement —

RALEIGH, N.C. — Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall today issued a
statement regarding the death of former State Auditor Ralph Campbell:

“Ralph Campbell was a dear friend to all of us who served on the
Council of State with him. His good humor, guidance and leadership
benefitted not only us, but everyone in North Carolina. Ralph should be
remembered as both a great role model—the first and to this day only
African-American in our State’s history to be elected to statewide
executive office—and as a man who truly believed in building a better
society through his dedicated public service.”