“I remember those of us riding around with him in Los Angeles, and he’d have money in the trunk of his car. Why he had money in the trunk of his car, only he knew, but he would take money out and give it to homeless people,” Pollard said. “He was a very generous and giving person.”
He also spoke of the thoughtfulness of the singer, who throughout his career sold more than 30 million records and notched a string of hits including “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Keep a Knockin’.”
“Once Richard met you and he knew you, he never forgot you,” Pollard said. “He remembered your family, your mother, your father, your sisters, your brothers, whose birthday was it ... He had a genuine interest in people.”
The singer, who was born Richard Penniman, died of bone cancer May 9 at age 87. He was an alumni of Oakwood and attended in the late 1950s. He studied theology.
His pastor, James Owens, said he re-baptized the legend a year ago.
“We thank you, Lord, that he gave his life to you,” he said. “We are so thankful that now he is buried, being laid to rest on these hallowed ground of the historic campus of Oakwood University, where so much of African American talent has come out of, including his own. And we thank you, Lord, for his desire to share the word, to use his fame, to spread the name of Jesus Christ.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.