'The Tamale Man' will be laid to rest Saturday - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'The Tamale Man' will be laid to rest Saturday

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The name Bernie Campbell may not sound familiar to you, but you may recognize "The Tamale Man".

Fans of Campbell, and his food, are mourning his death, as his wife struggles to lay him to rest.

Through his commercials and his outdoor food stand, Bernie Campbell was all about tasty tamales.

"And it was like a staple in the city. They used to sell them on Elvis Presley and Kerr," said his wife, Waurine Campbell.

Waurine Campbell says for 27 years, her husband sold tamales out of a converted ice cream push cart.

"He liked it because it gave him a chance to still mingle with the crowd in the area where we grew up In South Memphis," said Campbell.

Along the way, Campbell met thousands of people. Some he helped with donations, some he helped by giving sound advice.

To many here in the Mid-South he was affectionately known as The Tamale Man.

But earlier this month, tragedy stuck following a stroke and heart complications.

Campbell's widow says what is worse is that medical expenses have eaten up their savings. Now, she is struggling to pay for her husband's funeral.

"This is a brick wall. I don't know which way to go and all I do is just thank God for having the time that I have with him," she said.

Many of The Tamale Man's customers are chipping in to help cover his funeral expenses. Local businesses are lending a hand, too.

His wife describes the support as a fitting tribute to a man who spent his life trying to give back to the community.

Bernie Campbell's funeral is scheduled for this Saturday at noon at Temple of Deliverance Church.

A special fund has been set up at Regions Bank for anyone interested in helping cover the cost of the funeral. Donations can be made under the name Bernie - Pine Hill - Campbell Charity Fund.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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View photos of "The Tamale Man"

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