MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the South, food is love, and there was plenty to go around at Tyre Nichols’ repast Wednesday at Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe in the Edge District.
Family, friends, and supporters greeted his parents with comforting hugs and warm embraces following his funeral.
“Everybody coming from all over the world representing and showing my family so much love, it was very overwhelming,” said Nichols’ cousin Rhonda Mead.
The world said a final farewell to the 29-year-old father Wednesday afternoon with a guest list that included Vice President Kamala Harris and Rev. Al Sharpton.
Nichols died on Jan. 10 after being brutally beaten and assaulted by Memphis police officers yards away from his home on Jan. 7.
Standing above his casket, his mother RowVaughn Wells called the tragedy unimaginable.
“I promise you the only thing that’s keeping me going is I really truly believe my son was sent here on an assignment from God,” she said. “And I guess now his assignment is done and he’s been taken home.”
It was a mission that touched the heart of Chef Tamra Patterson.
“It’s an honor to serve them. The greatest form of love is service,” she said.
She opened her restaurant up to the Tyre’s family and, with the help of other local restaurants, fed them following the funeral service. They also made sure Tyre was present by putting his professional photographs on canvases.
“I have a 19-year-old son who is in his second year of college, so when I hugged Mrs. Wells, it was as if I was hugging myself,” Patterson said.
Remembering his smile, love for skateboarding, and sunsets, his family says they will continue to lean on one another for support to keep his legacy alive and make sure justice is served.
“This is something that is going to go down in the history books. Everyone going to know who he is,” said Nichols’ great-aunt Earlene Wells-Crosby.
Nichols leaves behind a young son in addition to his parents and siblings. They would now like to see Congress approve the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that targets police reform.