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Royal Marshall, key part of Neal Boortz’s radio team, has passed

Royal Marshall, with Neal Boortz, at the Achievement in Radio Awards last month, when Boortz was given a lifetime achievement award. SOURCE: bootz.com

Royal Marshall, with his boss Neal Boortz, at the March of Dimes Achievement in Radio Awards in December, 2010. There, Boortz was given a lifetime achievement award. SOURCE: boortz.com

Raymond Royal Marshall, a crucial cog on  syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz’s radio team as a sidekick and engineer, has died.

Pete Spriggs, program director for AM750 and now 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB, said he collapsed at his Atlanta home and was pronounced dead at Grady Hospital at about 1 a.m. early Saturday morning.

Assistant Program Director Condace Pressley said it was too soon to pinpoint cause of death.  He was 43.

“He was a good man,” she said. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Marshall worked with WSB Radio for 17 years, according to the WSB Radio biography for Marshall.

Here’s the print edition story about Marshall that ran in Sunday’s paper.

UPDATE (Monday, January 17, 2010 at 10 a.m.): WSB Radio said Marshall had a fatal heart attack Saturday. His funeral service will be held at Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur Saturday at 11 a.m. It’s open to the public. WSB aired a tribute to Marshall Monday morning. Boortz announced the death of Marshall to his national syndicated network listeners at 10 a.m. Erick Erickson subbed in for Boortz today. Boortz said he will be back on air Tuesday morning live.

A St. Louis native and graduate of the University of Georgia in 1992, he got his start at WSB Radio as a board operator working overnights. Soon after, he joined Boortz as engineer and board operator.

In 1996, he started his own radio talk show called “The Royal Treatment,” which ran for several years, mostly at night.

After his show ended, he continued to work with Boortz, who is heard on hundreds of stations nationwide.

“There are no words available to express my personal sense of loss at the passing of Royal Marshall,” Boortz said in a statement released this morning.  “It’s no stretch to say that I loved that man like he was my own brother.  Royal had an unmatched sense of humor and a quick mind that made him a natural for radio, and his dedication to his colleagues and friends was only exceeded by his intense dedication to his family.  Our program, WSB Radio and the entire Cox family has lost part of its very soul this day.”

“He was always upbeat, always in a good mood,” said Mark Arum, a traffic reporter for WSB Radio for 13 years. “He was  always there with a quick line. We were always each other’s sounding board. He was always ready to lend a friendly and understanding ear.”

Rahul Bali, Marshall’s producer from 1998 to 2005, said he watched Marshall mature from happy-go-lucky bachelor to devoted father and community member. “He just grew up,” he said.

Marshall was a deacon at the Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur and chair of the national advisory board at  Forever Family, a non-profit organization which helps children who have parents who are incarcerated.

Marshall also dabbled in stand-up comedy at the Punchline for a few years. “He had an easy way with people and was very comfortable with the mike,” said Jamie Bendall, who owns the Punchline. “I thought he was a natural.”

WSB Radio announced the sad news at noon today. The station then held a moment of silence on air for Marshall before airing a special hour of Boortz’s show in honor of Marshall afterwards. If you’d like to sign the ajc.com guestbook, here is the link. You can read WSB Radio’s story here.

In that WSB Radio  story, executive producer Belinda Skelton said: “For 15 years it’s been ‘Royal and Belinda. My other half is gone.  I don’t know if I can sit and look at someone else on the other side of that glass.”

The station did tributes all afternoon. Arum and Clark Howard joined Adam Goldfein to take calls and reminisce.

Marshall is survived by his wife Annette and two daughters, two-year-old Ava and four-year-old Amira.

Marshall performing at the Punchline. SOURCE: Marshall's MySpace page

Marshall performing at the Punchline. SOURCE: Marshall's MySpace page

And here’s a photo of Marshall with his wife Annette from the Clark Howard roast from 2005, from Marshall’s MySpace page:

Annette and Me at the Clark Howard Roast

And WSB passed along this photo of him at a Fair Tax Rally:

royal-marshall

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

880 comments Add your comment

Lil' Barry Bailout

January 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

It’s unfortunate that a few lefties couldn’t resist doing what lefties do…spread hate and fear of “the other”. Their oral spasms here are safely ignored.

We will miss Royal.

Travis McGee

January 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

There’ll be no reason to listen to Boortz, now.

eraserhead

January 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

Damn! A good man and way too young! Thoughts and prayers are with his family!

Terry

January 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

How sad and shocking.I listen to Neal every day and so loved hearing Royal.My condolences to his wife and young girls…

Carrie

January 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

I am completely blown away… I just heard.
My prayers are with his family and friends.

Brooksdawg

January 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

RIP Royal…great man!

Julie

January 15th, 2011
1:28 pm

Wow! So young! Deepest condolences to the family.

Lucy

January 15th, 2011
1:28 pm

So sorry to hear about his passing….my thoughts and prayers are for his wife and young daughters. He will be missed as part of the WSB family. RIP Royal!!

Hootinanny Yum Yum

January 15th, 2011
1:29 pm

Very, very sad news. I loved to listen to Royal. He had one of the most distinctive voices and I loved his view of the world.

He will be sorely missed. My prayers go out to his family, friends and coworkers.

Curly

January 15th, 2011
1:29 pm

As others have stated…. Just Damn. Royal will be sorely missed on the air and in the community.

pat meakin

January 15th, 2011
1:29 pm

Prayers for Marshall’s wife and precious daughters.So thankful he had the opportunity to take sand to the beach.

Patrick

January 15th, 2011
1:30 pm

Atlanta won’t be the same without Royal

Alice C

January 15th, 2011
1:31 pm

I have listened to Neal since Wrng radio days. He was never better than when Royal was “needling” on the show. It’s hard to believe that Royal was only 2 or 3 years old when Neal started, yet now he is gone. I never met Royal, and I didn’t always agree with his on air opinions, but he was never offensive. He was veery funny in a tender way–no meaness or ugliness. He stood his ground in a quiet voice.

To his wife–I can relate having lost my husband 5 1/2 years ago. I know the emptiness that you feel. I pray for you and for your daughters. I’m so glad that they will have their Daddy’s voice to remember. May God’s love shine on you and give you comfort for the rest of your lives.

Bernard J Genty

January 15th, 2011
1:31 pm

My prayers go to his family and co-workers. A wonderful person. He will be truly missed.
Rest in peace Royal, this world needs a lot of guys like you.

Rich McCoy

January 15th, 2011
1:32 pm

Although I’ve never met Royal, you could tell by listening to the radio, he was a good man. My wife and I will miss his voice. Prayers to his wife and children.

Dave

January 15th, 2011
1:33 pm

I can’t beleive it, it seems like I’ve lost an old friend. My prayers are with him family and the folks at WSB I know Belinda and Neal both loved him.

Gary E. Jackson

January 15th, 2011
1:33 pm

Royal Marshall was a unique radio personality and a breath of fresh air.
On the occassions when I had the privilege of working with him, the time on the air was an absolute joy.
He will be missed.

Gary E. Jackson
Host, “Legal Action With Gary Jackson”
WSB AM 750 (1993-2000)

Maggie

January 15th, 2011
1:33 pm

Royal Marshall was a class act. I remember being so furious that his show was canceled in favor of Michael Savage. His show was one of the few which talked about local issues and also talked about them from the perspective of a black man which was a welcome change from the usual foolishness that could be heard on WSB’s talk radio shows. He actually let his callers speak instead of cutting them off simply because they disagreed with him. He knew how to actually argue the issues without making it personal and he didn’t go around attaching labels to his critics. He will be sorely missed. R.I.P Royal.

sam

January 15th, 2011
1:34 pm

Rick H.

January 15th, 2011
1:34 pm

I am saddened to hear this. I don’t get to listen to the Boortz Show often but I always enjoyed What Royal contributed, seemed like a nice guy.

TPM

January 15th, 2011
1:35 pm

I’m in a state of shock just reading this. My thoughts and prayers with his immediate and Cox Radio Family

Willie McDougal

January 15th, 2011
1:35 pm

My most sincere condolences to Royal’s wife & 2 little girls.
God bless,
Willie

Jacob A

January 15th, 2011
1:35 pm

I used to listen to The Royal Treatment as a kid in middle school and early in high school. I did it so I would have something to go to sleep to, but I always found myself wanting to not fall asleep so that I could keep listening to him. He was easily one of my 5 favorite radio personalities of all time.

RIP to him and prayers to his friends and family.

Andy Mitchell

January 15th, 2011
1:36 pm

I was shocked to see the news. Royal was such a big part of my morning drive while listening to Boortz. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family. Atlanta has lost a great person!

JD

January 15th, 2011
1:38 pm

I laughed when I read Steamboat’s short but succinct – just damn. Those of you who listened to Royal knew that was one of his signature Royal-ism’s.

What a pleasure it was to listen to Royal counter Neal almost every day for the the last 20 years or so. I for one will sorely miss this young mans presence. I sincerely hope that WSB Radio steps in to help his family.

We’ll miss you Royal.

JNW

January 15th, 2011
1:38 pm

Good Bye Royal. God bless your family and friends.

Naw Man

January 15th, 2011
1:38 pm

Wow, total shock. RIP

Another Government Employe

January 15th, 2011
1:38 pm

In Royal’s own words:

Just damn.

jod

January 15th, 2011
1:39 pm

G. Blanston… go pound sand u monkey. U had to make it political…. Typical liberal trash.

Joann King Farley

January 15th, 2011
1:40 pm

I know that God welcomed you with a warm embrace, and said “Well Done My Son, Well Done!!”

oldtimer

January 15th, 2011
1:40 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and extended family. He will be missed by Atlanta.

Hamad Meander

January 15th, 2011
1:41 pm

Huge loss for the community and the radio community. I am so sorry to hear of this today. I have listened to them for years and years and enjoyed Royal’s contributions to Neal’s show.

Ann Gandy

January 15th, 2011
1:41 pm

We will lift his family and his radio family up in this sad time. I so enjoyed listening to the banter between Royal and Neil. He will be sorely missed! I was on the way home from eating lunch out with my husband when we heard it on the radio. I cried all the way home!

dbjam

January 15th, 2011
1:41 pm

So sorry to hear this…for his family and the WSB family too. He was such a good and needed balance on that show with his level headed commentary – keeping Boortz in line when needed, making sure to put things in proper perspective. Seemed like a really loving, compassionate person. A great loss.

Ray

January 15th, 2011
1:42 pm

there are no words to express the shock and sorrow I feel for his family and friends! He was a great man who made his mark on Atlanta radio! R-I-P Royal– you are missed!

g wright

January 15th, 2011
1:44 pm

we have lost a class act,and a good man

momof2

January 15th, 2011
1:46 pm

Shocking news! So saddened. Loved it when he interacted w/ Boortz. Prayers to his wife and his 2 girls for strength to get thru this.

And another thing...

January 15th, 2011
1:47 pm

I always loved Royal and Neal’s bantering back and forth….won’t be the same. To his family, I am praying for you and your loss…what a wonderful man he was. To Neal and the rest of the staff, just know that we, your listeners, are grieving with you. Stay strong.

Dustin Johnson

January 15th, 2011
1:48 pm

My thoughts and prayers for his family and friends, he has many…

jod

January 15th, 2011
1:48 pm

JUST DAMN, JUST DAMN (SHAKES HEAD)

connie moore

January 15th, 2011
1:49 pm

wow so sorry to hear about this. my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. such a great loss. a good man.

GTFuzzyBee

January 15th, 2011
1:49 pm

Boo got shot…and now this…

Just “Damn”…

He will be missed…

TomB

January 15th, 2011
1:50 pm

I am so shocked about his passing. So young and so talented. I’ve always enjoyed listening the show with Neal, Belinda and Royal. I as well as many, many others will miss him.

Billy O

January 15th, 2011
1:51 pm

God will be with you during this tragic time. Royal will be missed, but never forgotten. He was a credit to the human race.

a congregant of the church of the painful truth

January 15th, 2011
1:52 pm

Gwinnett Fred

January 15th, 2011
1:52 pm

From “Just Damn” to interpreting Boo Got Shot – Royal was such a pleasure to listen to.

It’s so sad that his two young daughters will only really get to know their dad’s talents thru audio & video tape.

Prayers to his family as well as his WSB family – losing your best friend is very hard to cope with. Mine passed away when he was 41, but hopefully all of Royals friends & family will think of him almost every day like I do – it’s sobering, but I’ve smiled a lot of times thinking of happy memories.

RIP Royal

B

January 15th, 2011
1:53 pm

Very sad!

May the Lord strengthen his wife and daughters.
We have listened to WSB for many years and remember when Royal joined Neal. Atlanta has lost an icon.

Times like this makes us realize that life is too short too worry about all that rhetoric Neal spews everyday.

Craig Spinks/ Evans

January 15th, 2011
1:53 pm

CONDOLENCES to Royal’s family, friends, community and colleagues! Georgia needs more husbands, fathers, friends, citizens and co-workers like Royal.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

January 15th, 2011
1:54 pm

RIP Royal and Prayers to your wife and family..

Celebrate life…this will remind you what a talent the man was

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SK6_Di_3O0

“…in fact, it was my cousin pumpkin, who lives in this very community”

John in Suwanee

January 15th, 2011
1:54 pm

I’m listening to WSB on my laptop with tears rolling down my face. Prayers to his family at home and at work.