Boyd Alexander Gee Littell

Portland, d.31.October.2017, bicycle accident


Portland bike messenger Boyd Littell passed away on October 31, 2017. He was found in Colonel Summers Park after falling from his bike. Littell was the brother of San Francisco bike messenger Paul Littell who passed away in April of 1993.

Still just utterly and completely unable to comprehend that we’ve lost Byod Littell. I keep trying to put words to it, and failing. My heart goes out to your family and friends and legions of them that there are here in Portland, back in Norman, and surely everywhere you passed through. RIP – Joel Metz

Boyd’s obituary:

Boyd Alexander Gee Littell, the musical legend of Norman, Oklahoma died in a bicycle accident in Portland, Oregon. Boyd Gee was born on July 24, 1977, lived three persons lifetimes worth and died on October 31, 2017 at the age of 40.

Boyd Littell led a life that was full of surprises. As the youngest of 4 children, the announcement of his impending arrival was a surprise to his siblings, who had varied reactions. As a toddler he surprised his family repeatedly in his highchair with his precocious drumming and amazingly accurate impersonation of The Incredible Hulk. During his early teen years Gee, so called by his family, began to surprise the community with his natural musical talents and his amazing passion for perfecting his gift. Then as a teen and young adult, he surprised friends, co-workers and musical colleagues with his tender compassion of others, his sincere gratitude for lifes joys and the fact that he never exhibited cruelty. To anyone. Ever. And then, he surprised us all by leaving suddenly and too soon.

No list can express the talent, humor, commitment and love Boyd Gee had for his friends and his music but here are the bands he was a member of, created, or got kicked out of in no particular order: ADDverse Effects, The Ills, Mama Sweet, Stereo Pimp, Scabby Itchens, Skinphonia, Pidgin, Thumper, Deluxe Vortex, Rat Bastard and Electric Ass, Conjunto Clave, The Method, The Projects, Blues Man/Blues Devil, Tao Chemical, Circus Midgets, Tritones, Tincture, Blue Light Special, and Lord High Octane & the Kam Shaft Kings.

Boyd was preceded in death by his father, Robert Dale Littell and his brother, Paul Hatcher Littell. Surviving immediate family members include his mother, Jaquine Hudson Bly and his sisters, Susan Binkley Greer and Morgan Binkley Rogers. Boyd came from a large family; survivors include aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

The gathering to celebrate his life will be held on Friday, November 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm at The Main Street Event Center in Norman. Part Two of the celebration will be held at the Deli from 7-10 pm. Please feel free to bring your pictures, videos, recordings, art work and stories to share.

A site has been created in memory of Boyd Littell on to help the family with the expenses of bringing our loved one home.

Police say Portlander Boyd Littell fell from his bike, then died in Colonel Summers Park

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 1st, 2017

A man who was well-known among many in Portland for his cycling and musical prowess has died.

40-year-old Boyd Littell was found early Tuesday morning in Colonel Summers Park. The police confirmed his identity a few minutes ago and said he likely died after falling from his bicycle.

We’ve also heard something similar from a source close to Boyd: That he crashed while riding his bike, hit his head, walked over to the park, lay down, and never woke up.

I met Boyd for the first time in January 2016. I was on a break from work at the Stumptown on SW 3rd Avenue downtown when his bike caught my eye. Boyd worked as a messenger (when he wasn’t playing drums in his popular band ADDverse Effects) and rode a highly customized, white Klein road bike with flat bars, carbon tri-spike wheels, lots of personal flair and an obviously courier-influenced aesthetic. I ended up chatting with him for a while and shared a little profile of him here on BikePortland. He seemed like a very creative and interesting guy. And today, reading through all the tributes to him from friends on his Facebook page, he was even more creative and interesting than I ever knew.

Dee Branham, co-owner of a local courier company and friend of Boyd’s, tells us Boyd made his final radio dispatch at 8:30 pm on Monday from Yur’s Bar & Grill. Dee and others are looking for people who might have seen or talked to Boyd between then and when he was found on Tuesday morning. If you know anything, get in touch and we’ll connect you with Dee.

Our thoughts are with Boyd’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.

UPDATE: Here’s a memoriam sent to us via email by a member of Boyd’s family:

Boyd Littell, found in SE Portland park, 40 years old, died of a bike accident

He was Susan [None Binkley] Greer’s dearly loved brother. Keever’s uncle. He was Bob Littell’s son. His mother’s [Jaquine Hudson Bly] baby, and older sister Morgan’s [Rogers] little brother. He so revered his late brother. He was the time keeper for so many dance classes over the years, at OU and Modern Dance Arts, and others. He was the band mate of the most talented musicians in this town. He was a romantic, with the prettiest, most talented girlfriends, and he was so many’s good, great, best friend. If you knew Boyd, there were too many friends to count, mutual friends, that you had in common, that you respected for their choices, their talent, their inspiration. Now Boyd’s gone, but I want you to know, how he was special. Any of us could tell lots of stories about our friend, his friends, our mutual friends, and the good times that we had. But let me leave you with this: Bob Littell, Gee’s dad, always had his eye out for a beautiful cloud formation in the sky, and on a good day, nothing could get better than the beauty he found in the clouds, and he passed that appreciation of beauty to Boyd, and every time Boyd stopped to talk, to update me on his life, his music, his challenges and his successes, when there was a beautiful cloud in the sky, you could feel that special connection Boyd had to his dad, and the beauty he found in his life. That he passed, probably looking skyward, possibly searching for his closest connections above, is only fitting, and comforting, in this horribly saddening moment of our loss. Remember Boyd when you look to the sky, and know his kind thoughts are with us, as we grieve his passing.

You were cared about, you were loved, your friendship and attention was appreciated and cherished, by oh so many. We are all so sad, as we gather various places to celebrate your too short life.

Family, friends remember late Norman musician

Supriya Sridhar, Our Daily, Nov 8, 2017

Thomas Young rubs his beard while standing outside The Deli on Campus Corner. He remembers his late friend, musician Boyd Littell.

He smiles at the thought of filling in with one of Boyd’s Norman-area bands and how Boyd would sit next to him at rehearsals and tell him if he was playing a song right.

“Whether he wanted to be an educator or not,” said Young of the musician and former OU School of Dance employee, “he most definitely was to a lot of people.”

Littell died after a bike crash last week in Portland at age 40.

Communities of musicians and dancers in Oklahoma and Oregon were staggered by the loss of Littell, who lived with the belief that less is more — whether in stripping down music to its essential elements, never getting a driver’s license or simply tucking his jeans into his socks to keep his pant leg out of his bike chain wherever he rode.

In Portland, dozens turned out Nov. 5, a few nights after his death, for a vigil in Colonel Summers Park, the site of his crash. Back in Norman, family and friends hope more will turn out Nov. 24 for a wake at The Deli, a site of some of his early musical ascents.  

Trading CDs

Boyd grew up in a house full of music, with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Frank Zappa filling his ears.

He and his two older siblings traded music the way some kids traded Halloween candy, consuming as much as possible.

As they got older, Littell took the lead. He would introduce them to new music and artists, recognizing his siblings’ and friends’ musical tastes. But Littell could play, too. He began to hone what would become his life’s craft in both garage bands and the Norman High marching band, where he was a percussionist, before graduating in 1995.

“You’d just hand him an instrument and within five minutes he’s got it figured out,” said Susan Greer, Boyd’s older sister, who is director of alumni outreach at OU’s College of Education.

In life, and death, Littell shared commonalities with his older brother Paul, who was a musician as well.

Both could immediately pick something up after hearing it on the radio.

Both were bike enthusiasts turned bike messengers who never got their driver’s licences.

And, in a freak coincidence, both died in crashes — Boyd cracked his skull on Halloween and Paul ruptured a thigh artery in San Francisco in 1993 at 20 years old. 

Littell, 15 when Paul died, inherited the bike messenger bag his brother rode with in San Francisco.

“That was sort of the talisman for him,” Greer said of the bag and its influence, recalling how Boyd dove into music and bike culture after his brother’s death.

She doesn’t yet know whether her little brother had it with him at the time of his crash.

But he used it every single day, she said.

Feeding her brother’s love of music, Greer used to sneak Littell into Liberty D’s — now Pepe Delgados — to watch regular live music when she bartended there in college. He would hide at a back table with a Coke as he absorbed blues, reggae and rockabilly and expanded his musical diet.

The love of live music grew within him.

Soon, Littell went from listening to performing. He became a staple at The Deli, which advertises itself as Norman’s only 7-day-a-week live music venue. Eventually, friends and family say, he played with almost every band in Norman there.

“The word that I would use to describe Boyd is ‘authentic,’” said Justin Morris, 37, while tuning his guitar before a recent show at The Deli. He and Littell met in 1998 when Morris, a guitarist, came to college and needed to learn how to play bass as well.

Littell gave him advice, teaching him how to create his own style and space with the instrument. He remembers Littell’s blunt honesty and how he would never sugar-coat anything as a player or a peer.

“He had a really uncanny way of balancing the line between a great hang and a critical mentor," said Morris.

Over time, Littell’s musical influence crossed from Campus Corner to OU, where he worked as an accompanist in Austin Hartel’s modern dance classes for 15 years.

He spent enough time in Hartel’s classes that he could probably teach them himself, the OU associate professor said. Littell collaborated with Hartel and students, writing music for many of their capstone projects and performing live with them.

They would spend extra hours together talking, innovating and creating.

“He developed an eye for dance,” Hartel said.

Their creative process worked harmoniously and created a friendship that extended beyond the classes.

“We worked together, but it never felt like work really,” Hartel said.

Littell came to see all the ballet and modern dance performances and in return, Hartel went to Littell’s concerts.

“He could get up and give corrections and tell my students what they were doing wrong,” Hartel said. “I’d be like, ‘Boyd, what did that look like?’ And he’d be like, ‘Well, they didn’t get it.’”

When Littell left for Portland in 2014, he needed a new challenge. Boyd had played out the Oklahoma music scene and needed to expand his horizons.

Hartel told him he could always come back and play for his class.

“In the back of my mind, I always thought he would come back," Hartel said. “I just kind of have to let go of that I guess.”

Greer is planning a wake celebrating her brother’s life. It will take place 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 at the Main Street Event Center and then 7 p.m. at The Deli.

Boyd Littell Mourned From Portland To Norman, Oklahoma

40-year-old Boyd Littell died Tuesday, Oct. 31, when he fell from his bike while traveling through Colonel Summers Park, according to police

By Travis Loose, Patch Staff
November 2, 2017

PORTLAND, OR — The Oregon State Medical Examiner on Wednesday said Boyd Littell, a 40-year-old Portland-area musician and bike messenger, died when he accidentally fell from his bike while riding through Colonel Summers Park in central Portland's Buckman neighborhood early Oct. 31.

Police began investigating Littell's death around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday after receiving reports of an unresponsive man lying in the park near Southeast Belmont Street and Southeast 20th Avenue. No signs of foul play were found, police said.

The Norman Transcript, a news agency in Littell's hometown of Norman, Oklahoma, spoke with Littell's sister, Susan Greer.

Greer told The Transcript her brother suffered a cracked skull after falling from his bike, and that he then walked across the street from where he fell, laid down in the park and never got back up.

"There was no violence," she told The Transcript. "His bike was right next to him and there was money in his pocket."

On Facebook Wednesday, Portlanders and Normanders all shared thoughtful messages and memories of Littell.

A musician, avid cyclist, and all-around nice guy, Littell apparently made quite the impact on all those who had the pleasure to play with him on-stage and interact with him in his daily life. His music lives on still through his Soundcloud account. Click here to check it out.

With regard to Littell's cycling, publisher Jonathan Maus shared with Patch his tribute to Littell:

"I met Boyd for the first time in January 2016," Maus wrote on BikePortland. "I was on a break from work at the Stumptown on SW 3rd Avenue downtown when his bike caught my eye. Boyd worked as a messenger (when he wasn't playing drums in his popular band ADDverse Effects) and rode a highly customized, white Klein road bike with flat bars, carbon tri-spike wheels, lots of personal flair and an obviously courier-influenced aesthetic. I ended up chatting with him for a while and shared a little profile of him here on BikePortland.

"He seemed like a very creative and interesting guy. And today, reading through all the tributes to him from friends on his Facebook page, he was even more creative and interesting than I ever knew."

During a phone call Thursday, Maus told Patch that Littell's fall is being looked into by others in the bike messenger community.

"(Littell) was a super experienced rider," Maus told Patch. "It's just strange… but with more experience often comes more chances of taking risks. And when you take risks, well, that's what risk is."

Maus said he's hopeful more answers to how Littell came to fall Tuesday morning will come to light soon; he mentioned his belief that Littell's accident was not human caused, but wonders whether there could be hazards in the area other cyclists may want to avoid.

Norman musician Boyd Littell found dead in Portland

By Mack Burke |

The Norman Transcript, November 1, 2017

Former Norman resident and musical standout Boyd Littell has died.

Littell was found dead early Tuesday morning in Colonel Summers Park in Portland, Oregon.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner has ruled Littell's death an accidental death, likely the result of him falling off his bicycle. Investigators do not suspect foul play.

Littell’s sister, Susan Greer, said investigators indicated that Littell suffered a cracked skull, and believe he then walked across the street and laid down in the park where he bled to death.

“There was no violence,” she said. “His bike was right next to him and there was money in his pocket.”

The 40 year-old musician and Norman High alumnus moved to Portland in 2014 with the Norman-born hip hop group ADDverse Effects, which returned as a main stage act during Norman Music Festival in 2017.

Littell’s music career was long, storied and eclectic. Among many, many others, Littell was a member of such notable Norman groups as The Ills and Mama Sweet. He also served as an accompanist for the University of Oklahoma School of Dance where he also studied music.

Many members of the Norman community took to social media Wednesday to express sorrow over Littell’s death and the extent of his impact on the city’s culture and character.

"I somehow managed to convince him to let me record some of his tracks," Breathing Rhythm Studio owner Steve Boaz said. "What ensued was years of the greatest musical education I will ever have. I tried my best to pick up on every nuance of what he was doing right in front of me. He was like a big brother, a well of solid, dependable information that I would use to guide myself through the rest of my life.

"As I got to know the rest of Norman and its oasis of talent, I learned what an impact he made on every single person that got to experience him ... We were lucky to have even maintained a presence like his in this town for as long as we did."

ADDverse Effects frontman Fiji Azzam said Littell was living his dream in Portland. There were challenges but everything was looking up for the band as its following swelled into the thousands. He said no one had ever pushed him so hard or believed in him so relentlessly.

"[He] never settled," Azzam said. "[He] always pushed us to be better, to think deeper, to work harder. We’re all better musicians and people because of that ... There are no more Boyd Littells in the world. [He was] truly one of a kind ...

"To be liked by Boyd was easy, to have his respect was gold."

Those are just a few of the hundreds upon hundreds of stories that spread like sorrowful wildfire throughout the day Wednesday. Greer said the outpouring has been tremendous.

“Lots of similar sentiments, a phenomenal human being and an amazing, talented musician,” she said. “Lots of good memories. Clearly he had a lot of influence and the love and appreciation of many musicians and the community at large. It’s hard not to be biased as a sister, but I always thought he was something special. He was that kid who could hear something on the radio and just sit down and play it.”

Greer said she is planning a celebration of his life and will announce those details on social media when they are finalized. A web page been set up to accept donations to assist with funeral costs.

“He loved the community here and loved living here,” she said. "He loved Portland too ... but he was somebody special in this town.”

Mural of late Norman native, musician finishes up, dedication ceremony planned

Morgan Missel, June 4, 2018
A Norman native and musician who passed away last year in Oregon has been memorialized with a larger-than-life-sized mural on the side of Buchanan Bicycles on Campus Corner.

The mural of Boyd Littell, a well-known name in the Norman music scene, was started May 14 by Eunice “Nissy” Carter, with only the finishing touches being added now. Carter said she was simply trying to process her own grief when she painted the original piece, not knowing that sharing it on social media would lead to the mural of Littell, who was part of multiple bands and worked as an accompanist for the OU School of Dance.

Carter posted a photo to Facebook of her painting of Littell along with some other artwork she had completed, and the Littell piece received a lot of attention from admirers and fellow musicians.

“It just kind of blew up from there on social media. There were a lot of calls for turning it into a mural on Campus Corner,” Carter said. “So (Tobias Schiele) set up a GoFundMe to kind of fund it, and within a month, our goal was met.”

Tobias Schiele, friend of both Carter and Littell, was inspired by the picture and approached Buchanan Bicycles about the mural. He got permission to paint the wall and asked Carter to recreate her image.

Carter said she hopes the mural reminds Littell’s loved ones how much he was loved by the community. Along with his name and birth and death dates, there will be a plaque placed next to the mural with more information about Littell’s life.

There will be a dedication ceremony for the mural at 7:30 p.m. on July 15 at Buchanan Bicycles on 561 Buchanan Ave. in Norman.

“This will be kind of a way let people get to know who he was and his legacy,” Carter said.