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Contributing Writer

Those who knew Wilbert Levier best remember him as someone who could be just as passionate about playing a practical joke on a family member as becoming serious when it came to standing up for what he felt was right.

The concern Levier had for Opelousas city employees that he felt are underpaid in addition to others he felt needed an advocacy voice for their situations are what persons remember about his life, according to the remembrances and tributes posted about him on the Ford and Joseph obituary webpage since Jan. 11.

 Levier, 82, died just hours before the start of the January Opelousas Board of Aldermen meeting, where his usual place in the front row of the meeting room was reserved in his memory and city officials honored him with a moment of silence.

A lifelong member of the St. Landry Parish NAACP, Levier received the organization’s Martin Luther King Jr, award in 2005 in addition to helping start along with others, the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music festival, which has continued to attract nationwide attention.

During his attendance at city meetings, Levier often questioned elected officials from several administrations about their decisions, especially when items concerning municipal employees were included on the agenda.

A posted comment from Elise Mayon said she will never forget the efforts Levier made during meetings of the Board representing Trinity Villa.

“He fought for equal rights for our residents and our manager. The residents there were happy when (Levier) came,” she wrote in her post.

An anonymous post on the web page recalled that Levier’s questions at Board of Aldermen meetings “often kept city officials off balance.

“Overall your life’s work was well done and appreciated by many. That’s all you can ask when you take into account the full measure of any man,” the posted comment said.

However two relatives remember that Levier could also exhibit a playful side.

“Uncle Wilber always had a joke with him to have you laughing,” said Jason Richard.

Adam Richard, who identified himself as a brother-in-law, wrote “I often think of the pranks you pulled on Martha and I when we were kids.”

Levier, who was buried Saturday at the Garden of Memory Cemetery following a noon funeral service at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Opelousas, was survived by Rose Mary Richard, a wife of 56 years, three children and numerous grandchildren.