NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick community continues to mourn the loss of a popular and beloved young man, Sirjode A. Caracter, who passed away after suffering a fatal seizure that occurred in his sleep on June 17.
There was a huge turnout for the Comstock Street resident's funeral services last weekend. And a memorial benefit concert, in commemoration of Caracter's life and achievements, is planned for tonight at 7pm in the Mount Calvary Missionary Church (150 Throop Avenue).
Caracter attended public schools in New Brunswick, Highland Park, and Franklin Township. In high school, he played football for the Franklin Warriors and the New Brunswick Zebras, where he proved to be a talented defensive end and a popular student dedicated to his peers, both on and off the field.
Caracter, known as "B.G." to his friends, was born on April 20, 1991 at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital to parents Ernestine Caracter and Johnny Manuel Sr.
Friends told New Brunswick Today that Caracter was a funny and likable fellow, who loved his favorite football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and frequently communicated through the social network Facebook
Jonathan Casillas, a Rutgers University alum who plays for the Buccaneers, was one of many to post condolances on Caracter's Facebook page after his death.
Caracter and his family were also privileged to meet the famous Joe Clark, a Paterson high school principal portrayed admirably by Morgan Freeman in the film Lean On Me. These experiences helped Caracter grow and develop his empathetic skills, and nurtured his interest in the arts and improving the lives of the people in his community.
After high school, Caracter held various jobs. His most cherished position was working for Somerset County Recreation as a certified counselor. He had many passions in his life, and the first and foremost among them were his unwavering love and support for his family and friends.
Caracter is survived by his parents, Ernestine Caracter and Johnny Manuel Sr, and by his brothers, Damien Caracter and Johnny Manuel Jr., his sister Dana Jackson, paternal grandmother Louise Manuel, aunts Priscilla Blue, Christina Vasquez, Elizabeth McNair, Delores Manuel, Maryann Manuel, Peggy Glaze, uncles Walter Caracter, David Caracter, Ernest Caracter Jr., Willie Manuel, cousin David Marriott, and his nieces and nephews Latisha-Santiago-Caracter, Caunya Schneider, Xavier and Bryce Jackson.
The Caracter family wishes to also extend their gratitude and appreciation to the Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, and the church's pastors, Rev. Dr. Brenda Lumzy Hicks and Pastor Mark W. Miller. Erica Hagood and Christine Branham put collection boxes in local businesses to raise funds, and helped obtain flowers and involve the church.
The family raised over $1,500 to help defray the cost of funeral expenses through an online fundraising campaign at the website GoFundMe.
Sirjode's parents also wished to thank others who have assisted the family in their time of need including the Heldrich Hotel and its manager Stacy Martin, the Church of God in Christ and Deacon Ernest Caracter, the City of New Brunswick, and all of their late son's many friends.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.