LEVI WAS BEAUTIFUL – eulogies for a friend – Chef Levi Minyard

This week’s edition of the Delta Bohemian is thematic; they often are, but this one is centered on someone Madge, Billy and Corinne loved. His name was LEVI!

Chef Levi Minyard, from Oxford, Mississippi, was a fine chef and master chef in-the-making. Levi was the last and final executive chef at Madidi restaurant—Morgan Freeman’s restaurant in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Madge was managing Madidi when Levi came on board.

Billy Howell and Randall Andrews standing outside Coleman Funeral Home in Oxford, MS prior to funeral for Chef Levi Minyard. Photo by Delta Bohemian

Billy Howell and Randall Andrews standing outside Coleman Funeral Home in Oxford, MS prior to funeral for Chef Levi Minyard. Photo by Delta Bohemian

Levi took his own life last weekend. He will be missed by so many people who knew him, knew of him, or had sampled his incredible cooking. If you didn’t know Levi, then understandably you might want to tune into next week’s Delta Bohemian. But, if you didn’t know him, but want to understand the Delta, the tragic loss of a bright, bright star in the culinary world, or just want to spend a few minutes being introduced to a gifted 30-year-old chef, who was GOLDEN, then maybe read or listen to the eulogy given by Billy, or listen to the eulogy given by Randall Andrews, chef and artist from Clarksdale.

Also, check out Madge’s memorial montage of pics and videos put to music. If you knew Levi, you will get it, if not, then meet a fine young man who will be sorely missed from Oxford to Portland to Avignon to New Zealand via Clarksdale and back again to Oxford!

Levi Paul Minyard
December 4, 1981 – February 12, 2012

By Billy Howell

I don’t often say that about men, but Levi was beautiful! Madge taught me that!

Some of my fondest memories occurred during the year my wife, Madge, was the general manager at Madidi and Levi was the Executive chef. Levi brought in a sense of excellence and excitement, the joy of second chances—for him and for Madidi! For a season, life was grand, and full of promise!

Levi was tender, generous to a fault, and passionate beyond measure!

Madge saw Levi’s beauty from the earliest times working together, spending countless hours in a tiny, claustrophobic, upstairs office sharing life–professional and personal.

They loved each other, and their love was genuine, as they co-labored with an incredible staff, creating a magical, almost Camelotesque Epicurean kingdom, full of excitement, pageantry, and the promise of more to come, drawing in local and visitor alike!

It’s just hard to keep Camelot…….Camelot! Life gets complicated!

Levi was beautiful! Troubled, confused, scared, sad at times, but beautiful… generous to a fault…wanting to please, bless, and create joy in the lives of others!

He wanted the World to be happy; he wanted to be happy; he wanted JOY! ALWAYS!

I was reading a novel yesterday and one of the characters; an accomplished, passionate young man with many gifts was being described by someone who had met him only once. He said, “That boy is vulnerable. He has too great a capacity for joy. What will he do with it in a world where there’s so little occasion for it?”

We do have much occasion for joy, but life can be the hardest on those who are the most passionate, those who climb highest and fastest. Levi’s capacity for joy was grand!!

I think it’s easy for the creative, sensitive artisan to become lost in a world that spins at a slower speed than his.

Levi could electrify a room with his crooked smile, tilted head, and oft repeated, “My friend, are you kidding me? Let’s be real!” Or Something kinda Frenchie sounding!

Levi was full of expectation, infectious joy, nothing beyond his grasp; he was larger than life, crossing peaks with no bounds; it’s just the mountaintop is a tough place to stay when one’s journey leads through troublesome valleys.

Sometimes we just don’t know–don’t understand–can’t fathom–why those we love or care about leave so soon, and with so much promise!

Levi’s mom shared with Levi, often, how much God loved him and wanted to be in relationship with him. I know Madge did, co-workers did, as well as others who providentially crossed his path! Prior to Christmas, Levi made peace with God and he was able to tell his Mom about his encounter!

Though Levi left too soon, and understanding is slippery, he is in a place where he is at peace and in the presence of He who wipes away every tear! Where the Lord’s presence eliminates suffering, confusion and sadness! He is now in the presence of sustainable Joy–Joy without end!

We are just sad he is gone! He will be missed! Levi was beautiful!


Unedited VIDEO of EULOGY given by Billy Howell

Unedited VIDEO of EULOGY given by Chef Randall Andrews

Clergyman Brother Lendy Bartlett gave an outstanding eulogy. We are sorry we were unable to capture his profound message in a video however you can view the text of his sermon by CLICKING HERE.

Lendy and Levi were new friends and had recently agreed to begin meeting every Monday. Levi expressed his desire to seek and find God’s purpose for him and Lendy was helping him do this.

Found on Levi’s laptop by his father, David Minyard, was a CD with two sermons by Brother Bartlett titled “Persistence” and “He lived your broken heart” given in July 2011. Brother Lendy began posting his sermons online in August 2011; they can be found on the Oxford Church of Christ website under the Recorded Sermons And Lessons link.

Levi’s mother, Robin Minyard (who is a “Saint” according to Levi), shared, the following: “He (Levi) listened to Lendy’s sermons as he was going to sleep at night.  God is near, and at work.”

CLICK HERE to read the Obituary for Levi Paul Minyard


The late Levi Minyard with his dad, David. Photo courtesy of Minyard family.

The late Levi Minyard with his dad, David. Photo courtesy of Minyard family.

Share and Enjoy !

Friends of the Delta Bohemian®


  1. Gordon YAMAMOTO says:

    This has been a rough week! Normally, without a nano second pause for voluntary comments, I find my words and thoughts about my friend, Levi, incapable of ascension to the outside world. As I mentioned in other communique, having a son, 33, and a daughter, 30, and having met Levi’s Dad, David, through enthusiastic encouragement by Levi, his loss has just been too personal. This will take some time to process; meanwhile, I just have to echo the sentiments of your entire community of family and friends that we have lost a treasure! I look forward to conversations with you and Madge, when I visit soon. I had hoped to visit Oxford for the first time also…maybe I still can.

  2. Adonis Reyes says:

    Levi you will be missed,but you have left behind a trail of love for those who knew and love you to follow. My friend I will always have you in my heart.

    Chef Adonis R

Speak Your Mind