RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Triangle is remembering a man who dedicated his life to helping children in the community. Ralph Capps -- who transformed the Wake County Boys and Girls Club from a small, one-building operation to a regional powerhouse with thousands of participants -- died Friday. He was 78.
Now, the people who knew him best are shining light on his legacy for years to come.
"Family," said Rashad Herndon, who knew Capps for more than 30 years. "He's touched so many people in this community like you're talking 50 years of work."
Herndon met Capps as a child at the Raleigh Boys Club before going on to work as the Club's athletic director as an adult. He said having the club as a safe space as a child made all the difference.
"This was your second home. It was a safe haven, a place where you knew you were welcome, no matter what race you were, how old you were. If you came to the club, you were family," Herndon said.
Capps' son, Benjy, said the recent tributes to his father have been overwhelming.
"We knew that he had an impact all throughout the Triangle and beyond," said Benjy Capps. "And then the National Organization, but it's even blown that away from what we're seeing and hearing and the impact. And this all the same. Dad was a great man."
Those tributes include an emotional post on X from former Boys Club member and current NC Central basketball coach LeVelle Moton, who said in part, "You will never be forgotten".
Benjy Capps said his father leaves behind three children, seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren -- and countless others who found new opportunities through the programs provided at the club.
"And they all got to know him as "Pap". That's what he was around the house. But in the community, he was Ralph Capps. And that was such an impact for everybody to see and to know," said Benjy Capps.
Under Capps' leadership, the club grew from one location to seven and now has more than 6,000 children who participate in its programs.
Benjy Capps has also gone on to run a nonprofit, the Miracle League of the Triangle, which helps local children with special needs play baseball.