Ramarley Graham (April 12, 1993 - February 2, 2012)
Whether he is called, Marley Charley, you are my Marley Charley,” “Elmo“, or just “Marley“, many remember Ramarley Graham with joy and laughter, also mingled with sadness for a life gone so soon.
Born, April 12, 1993 in Bronx, New York, Ramarley would hear his dad, Franclot, sing his rendition of a baby lullaby, “Marley Charley, you are my Marley Charley“, which led to the nickname “Charley“.
Ramarley’s pre-school education began at home, and continued with the Headstart Program in Williamsbridge, Bronx. He attended P.S. 103 Elementary School, then M.S. 113- Richard Green School, and finally, Young Scholars Academy. His friends called him “Elmo” because of what they described as his weird chuckle, while others affectionately called him, “Marley”.
Marley was very quiet and reserved. He always maintained a calm and relaxed demeanor regardless of the circumstances around him. He was also a very polite and respectful child and he remained that way as a young man.
Ramarley’s mom, Constance, says her son always carried a pocket-sized Bible with him wherever he went. She recalled many occasions where she found him sitting quietly reading his bible. He seemed to find much comfort and peace in reading God’s Word.
Ramarley had a special place in his heart for younger children and the elderly. He often assisted the elderly across the street and was known in the community for doing their grocery shopping. He spent time listening to stories from his grandmother, Patsy about her life in Jamaica before she moved their family to New York. His conversations with her mostly centered on events in the media and their personal lives. He often imitated the way she spoke quickly, and often teased his siblings that he was Patsy’s favorite.
He enjoyed teaching his little brother, Chinnor, new songs, new games, and even how to exercise. He also enjoyed babysitting his niece, Payton, and his younger cousins.
Ramarley was a real pet-lover from an early age. He dreamed of becoming a veterinarian one day. One of his favorite past-times was watching Animal Planet on the Discovery Channel. At age 12, Marley had a grand plan. He decided that he would get a job at the Petland store on White-Plains Road, Bronx. He applied for a job and was told that he was too young to be employed. Undeterred, he came up with another grand idea to volunteer his services at the store by helping to clean the store and run errands. This gave him the opportunity to spend most of the day playing and observing the animals in the store.
Ramarley grew to be a romantic individual. He met his girlfriend, Jazminn, on Valentine’s Day, in 2008. Though he was tender in years and inexperienced, he treated her very well. They would regularly walk to and from school enjoying each others company. Fascinated by the grand pyramids, he often shared with her his desire to travel around the world, particularly to Egypt.
Music was Marley’s other passion-whether he was listening to it, dancing or singing-he absolutely loved music: R&B, reggae, Jazz and Rap were his favorite genres. He formed a group called GMS, wrote lyrics to may rap songs, and spent much of his time in the recording studio.
Ramarley enjoyed spending time with his brothers in Harlem. His cousin Bianca recalls growing up with her cousin and always looking forward to Fridays when he would come and visit. He and his brothers often locked themselves in the bathroom and would spend hours sharing their dreams with one another. They were a mischievous, yet tight, and loyal bunch. On one occasion while playing with their grandma Gwen’s prized ceramic elephant, they broke its trunk. They resorted to using super-glue to get the elephant trunk back in place. No one was willing to tell their grandmother who had broken the trunk. Brotherhood was key, and they often reminded one another that, “AS LONG AS WE HAVE EACH OTHER, WE A’RIGHT’“.
Ramarley is gone but never forgotten. His memory lives on, and from his death he will bring forth much life.