Richard Blakeney, beloved Citadel employee and gifted singer, passes away

Richard Blakeney, ca. 2011 (File/WCIV)

Citadel alumni and former co-workers report that a beloved member of the campus community has died.

Richard Blakeney passed away suddenly this week, according to friends and acquaintances posting memorial messages in a recently formed Facebook group.

Blakeney worked at the equipment rental desk at the Citadel's Deas Hall for years.

He was known best for his booming singing voice. A classically trained opera singer, Blakeney told ABC News 4 in 2011 he never shied away from a performance, and loved to sing for anyone who would give him there ear.

Whether walking around campus, or performing on the streets of Downtown Charleston on the weekends, Blakeney was always singing.

"I can honestly say my most favorite part is when I'm singing downtown and someone will come by and they say, 'oh, we thought it was one of those recordings,'" Blakeney said in a 2011 interview. "You know, they've been walking for maybe 30 minutes, and you know, all of a sudden they found me and I'm totally not what they expected."

Blakeney studied music at Winthrop University before moving to Chicago on an opera fellowship. He later moved to Charleston to help kids by exposing them to music.

Blakeney said in a 2011 interview he moved to Charleston because he wanted to be like his mother, a teacher.

Blakeney was also passionate about fitness, as heart disease was prevalent in his family, he said.

Blakeney said working at The Citadel's Deas Hall surrounded by cadets visiting the gym, weightroom and other facilities there helped him stay accountable in his efforts to stay in shape.

Details on the circumstances of Deas' passing and the date and time of memorial services have not been finalized.

ABC News 4 has reached out to The Citadel for more information.

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