Neal Graham

March 13, 1946December 23, 2012

NEAL GRAHAM, 66, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, at home surrounded by his family. Born Mar. 13, 1946, in Fort Wayne, Neal graduated from Ball State in Music Ed., going on to teach within several area music programs over the years, including North Side, Northrop and Snider High Schools. He enjoyed teaching percussion privately and playing locally in a variety of facets such as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Civic Theater performances, rock band gigs including his latest in 'Story Band', and a drummer for the praise bands at St. Joseph U.M.C. where he was a member. In 1972, Neal opened the Percussion Center, and in 1981, XL Specialty Percussion, best known for his design and production of Protechtor drum cases. Most recently, he sold his company to Gator Cases in December of 2008, staying on as General Manager. He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Robin; daughters, Tina (Jeremy) Torres and Joy (Brooks) Dodson; five grandchildren, (Jocelyn, Ryne, Lydia, Jordan, and Bryce); and brother, Doug Graham. He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Verda Graham; and brother, Mark Graham. Funeral service is 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at St. Joseph United Methodist Church, 6004 Reed Road. Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at the church. Burial in Highland Park Cemetery. Memorials may be given to St. Joseph U.M.C. Music Department or the Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund. Arrangements by Hockemeyer & Miller Funeral Home.


  • Visitation Friday, January 4, 2013
  • Visitation Friday, January 4, 2013
  • Funeral Service Saturday, January 5, 2013

Neal Graham

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March 30, 2013

Neal was a true friend to many. We shared a lot of music and percussion ideas through the years. I remember him starting The Percussion Center when it was just in a living room of an old house in Ft. Wayne. He helped me get an endorsement with Premier drums with a the first white colored custom kit, and then later custom 20x20 & 20x18 custom kicks chrome inside and out. I could go on for hours as Neal helped me in so many ways be a better percussionist and person. He was was a great businessman, with a charisma and personal touch that made dealing with him a pleasure. The Percussion Center was the pinnacle of drum shops that had so many wonderful people working with him. And dealing with drummer/artists can have its challenges. He was great and will definetely be missed.
Thank God we have a lively hope and we will see him at the gathering. 1 Thes. 4!!!
All our love to Robin and family.
Mark and Connie Richards

Nick Dugan

January 28, 2013

Robin, Tina, Joy, and family
Neal was always the right person at the right time for me. He taught, inspired, coached, motivated, and helped me discover music. He gave his time and knowledge selflessly and he meant so much to me. Whenever we talked he was available and giving as always. I will miss him dearly.

January 26, 2013

What a great guy and friend.
You will be missed not only
by your family but by many
others who knew you.

January 26, 2013

You will never be forgotten.
You were a wonderful person
and friend.

marcus sanders

January 23, 2013

neal was a great person i ever met and i'll will miss

Darlene Wittwer-McCartney

January 20, 2013

I am so sorry to hear about Neal's passing.I have fond memories of taking drums lessions from Mike Shively at the Percussion Center.When I was a kid Neal helped my parents out with picking out my first drum kit. It was a red Premier Set. I took that set of drums to Branson,Canada and did alot gigs around the Fort Wayne area. I still have that same drum kit today.Percussion is my passion and Neal was apart of making my dreams come a live.Thank you Neal for all your support. God Bless you!

Mark Myers

January 19, 2013

Neal was a source of information and encouragement when I began my drumming journey. I miss the old Percussion Center---a great place to hang out and always well stocked and competitively priced. Neil was the heart and soul of it. Rest in peace.

Jim (& Lisa) Sabo

January 16, 2013

Fond, fond memories of the Percussion Center and Neal talking to me seriously about drumming and percussion. He had a profound effect on all of us. And what better way to sum up a meaningful life. Thanks, Neal.

Thomas Cross

January 13, 2013

I met Neal not long after his doors opened for business. I used to ride by bike there when I was taking lessons from Mike Shively. I bought all of my equipment from him and still have it all to this day. (bought in '74) Even after I moved away after high school I would bump into him now and again. He always remembered me. He was ALWAYS kind, attentive and supportive in my musical endeavors. Truly heaven has gained a great soul and we have lost one. Rest in peace my friend. I believe the Lord would say to you, "Well done."

Kathy Ervin(Sarrazin)

January 9, 2013

I was student of Neal's at NorthSide 1971 to 1974 He was a Great Teacher I was sorry I missed comming to the furnel I missed this in the paper I heard about it at a Habitat Meeting Last night With United Methodist God's Blessings to all of the Family he will be missed he was a Great Teacher and mentor