Opelousas- A Celebration of Life and Funeral services for Christopher Michael Burleigh will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, in the Skip Montet Memorial Chapel at Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas. The Reverend Fr. James Brady will officiate the services.
Christopher Michael Burleigh, a dedicated public servant with a vibrant, joyous spirit and flair for life, entered into eternal life on Friday, September 18, 2020, at the age of 45.
Chris is survived by his husband, Richard Martin Burleigh; mother, Lisa Gaines; father and step-mother Michael and Donna Burleigh; brothers, Jonathon Burleigh and Brody Prudhomme; sister Holly (Burleigh) Wyble and her husband Jordan; mother-in-law, Nelda Prejean Martin; brother-in-law, Gabriel Martin and his partner Ashley Maturin; sisters-in-law, Michelle Kleinpeter and Julie (Martin) Girard and husband Shane; as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his and Richard's beloved pug Maggie Mae, paternal grandparents Frank and Verna Burleigh and maternal grandparents Paul and Gloria Gaines, as well as cousins Joshua Gaines and Katelynn Zimmerman.
Public service was Chris’ mission. He achieved a Ph.D (ABD) in Government Administration and Public Policy and applied it, most recently, to assisting with various developments in the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office including molding the Louisiana Fire Safety Summit into a successful annual public education program, crafting new and revamped classes for the agency's growing training program and taking pride in creatively spreading fire safety education across Louisiana, whether it be reading to children in a Dr. Seuss hat or walking neighborhoods to install smoke alarms in strangers' homes. Chris proudly spent almost 14 years, in total, with the State Fire Marshal's Office, first as a supervisor in the district that included his hometown of Opelousas, and eventually as a lieutenant in the agency’s training department, doing life-saving work that he truly loved regardless of task or title.
Chris spent several years in our nation’s Capital. While there, he loved playing tour guide to his and Richard’s visitors, regaling them with elaborate stories of history and highlighting some of his most beloved parts of the district.
During he and Richard’s short time in Guam, his favorite hobby was rescuing sea life from the shores and returning them to the ocean, particularly blue star fish.
But if work was Chris' mission, play was his passion. He enjoyed reading, attending the performing arts, supporting efforts toward equality and traveling the world, especially Honduras. Chris also committed to helping community causes including animal welfare organizations, human rights and equality efforts and improvements in the quality of education.
Chris had a reputation for quick wit and sass, providing an abundance of laughs and great times and never, ever being short on an opinion. Chris was also known to be compassionate, reliable and someone always willing to give of himself and his time to helping others. But most of all, he loved many and was loved by many more.
In lieu of flowers, Chris requested donations be made toward your choice of:
pug rescue campaign; human rights campaign; literacy program for children in underserved communities, like Stand For Children-Louisiana; or State Fire Marshal’s Operation Save-A-Life campaign that provides smoke alarms to families in need; Checks can be written to “Fire Marshal Association of Louisiana” with memo: Operation Save-A-Life In Memory of Chris Burleigh).
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, from the public from 10:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. A Rosary service will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the funeral home with a funeral service to follow.
Honorary Pallbearers will be Jonathon Burleigh, Brody Prudhomme, Jordan Wyble, Gabriel Martin, Gavin Kleinpeter, and David Smith.
Family and friends are invited to sign and view the online guestbook at www.lafondardoin.com.
LaFond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas, 2845 South Union Street, Opelousas, LA, 70570 (337-942-2638) has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Christopher Michael Burleigh, please visit our floral store.