NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — A vigil was held Friday night for Jesse Richardson, a "pillar" of the Niagara Falls community and owner of Richardson's Deli on Highland Avenue. Police said Richardson was found dead on his bedroom floor on Calumet Avenue in Niagara Falls on Christmas Eve morning.
Friends, family and frequenters of the restaurant gathered outside Richardson's and filled the sidewalk with candles, and the streets with song.
Vigil celebrating the life of Niagara Falls staple Jesse Richardson. Friends and family say the food here at Richardson’s was amazing, but Jesse served much more than food, offering to wisdom to those who came in. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/j4bKF8GIcI— Gilat Melamed (@gilat_melamed) December 28, 2019
"He loved cooking, he loved serving, he loved his family," his daughter Latoria Perdue said. "That's what they took from us."
Neighbors recalled their favorite meals, including fish sandwiches and pork chops, but the community will miss so much more.
"Not only did you get a meal, but you got someone who was going to give you positive encouragement, somebody who was doing things the right way, and even though his life was taken his legacy lives on," Perdue said.
Candles extended far beyond the deli, just like Richardson's impact. Family members laid candles along the entire block because it was "his block."
The investigation into Richardson's death is ongoing. Perdue wants anyone with information to come forward.
"A lot of times in neighborhoods we keep closed, we keep closed mouth, tight lipped, for loyalty to who or what," she said. "Don't let his life be in vain."