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Eddie James Kendrick

"In Loving Memory"

It had been a little over a year since Eddie Kendrick had sat in a church pew in Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church, hunched over, head in hands, and weeping steadily as he said farewell to good friend and singing partner, David Ruffin.

At 10:35 p.m. on Monday, October 5th, 1992, Eddie joined his partner in death. Eddie Kendrick, lead vocalist and founding member of the Temptations, suffered terribly before succumbing to lung cancer at the age of 52. In an interview earlier that year, Kendrick expressed how he'd been suprised at learning the news of his fate. He stated, "I went to have a check up and the doctor told me that I had a carcinoma, which is lung cancer. I was shocked at first because I had no symptoms that I knew of".

In 1991, doctors removed his right lung in a effort to save his life. The surgery seemed to improve his health, and he was able to tour in Europe and Japan in the summer of 1992. Kendricks had been receiving liquid oxygen treatments, but he soon developed complications and was hospitalized at the Baptist Medical Center-Princeton on September 25th and would remain there until his death 10 days later. The singer blamed his illness on 30 years of smoking. He became the fourth member of the Motown family to die of cancer in as many months. Three of the four were heavy smokers.

Tuesday afternoon, amid the sorrow, mourners remembered Kendricks' lovely vocals. "If ever a voice was a window to a man's soul, it was the voice of Eddie Kendricks," singer John Oates said in a statement from Los Angeles, Tuesday. Oates idolized Kendricks in the 1960s and recorded with him in the 1980s. The late David Ruffin had once said of his friend and singing partner that "when you stand next to him you almost forget to sing your parts because what he's doing is so beautiful."

Later, outside among rows of limousines and rows of flowers, Rose Franklin spoke quietly about Kendrick. "It's been hard, with everybody passing. Eddie's passing was the first thing I heard on my phone machine this morning. And, you know, the last time I saw him was David Ruffin's funeral."

Perhaps few were closer to Kendricks during the late 1950s and early 1960s than Martha Reeves. Both were struggling young singers just out of high school, often singing during the legendary Twenty Grand nightclub's Happy Hour for $5 a night. "I met Eddie at Phelps' Lounge, when I walked in and he was singing 'All I Could Do Was Cry,' Reeves said. "Turned out we were both from around Eufala, Ala., and knew alot of the same people back home." Later that week, Reeves would postpone a Los Angeles performance to fly to Birmingham, to visit with her Eufala buddy one last time.

The funeral for Eddie Kendrick was held the following Saturday at First Baptist Church in Ensley, a Birmingham community. Following the services, he was laid to rest in Elmwood Cemetary in Birmingham, Alabama.

Kendrick is survived by his parents, Johnny and Lee Bell Kendrick; a sister, Patricia Simpson; and three brothers, Charles, Robert, and Clarence Kendrick (his family uses the surname of Kendrick).

At the time of his illness and subsequent death, Kendrick did not have health insurance. Soul singer and long time friend, Bobby Womack organized two benefit concerts to help Kendrick's family with their financial burdens. On Bobby Womack's 1994 album, Resurrection, one of the highlights is his tribute to his late friends Eddie Kendrick and David Ruffin. In his song, "Forever Love", he memorializes the two of them.

Those who knew him will remember Eddie as a very spiritual individual, and serene person who disliked conflict. Mostly, however, the world will remember Kendrick as the striking tenor with the voice sweet as sin, spinning and cartwheeling high above the melody like a kite above the trees. He's gone, but he will never forgotten as his spirit lives on in the songs he left behind and in those who attempt to imitate him.


If I could save Time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you
...... Jim Croce

Note: Kendricks wrapped his heavenly vocals around this Jim Croce song with breathtaking results on his 1974 solo LP For You.


The Eddie Kendricks Memorial Foundation

imusic's Eddie Kendricks Message Board

Eddie's Place by Blackprincess

Eddie Kendricks by RuffinReddie

The Eddie Kendrick Wall

Memorial Tribute To A Special Fan

"May You Rest In Peace"

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, -- so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his boot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.
- - Edna St. Vincent Millay

David Ruffin

Paul Williams


Otis Williams