Stories / In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Matt Haley

JBF Editors

JBF Editors

August 20, 2014


Matt Haley

The James Beard Foundation is deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic death of Delaware restaurateur and philanthropist Matt Haley, who passed away last night at the age of 53, after suffering injuries in an accident while on a humanitarian trip. Haley, who was honored with the 2014 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award, was a selfless advocate for underprivileged youth in America and abroad, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities and nonprofits.

"Our Foundation honored Matt this year not only for his compassion and commitment to helping disadvantaged children and families locally in Delaware, but also for dedicating his time and resources to help people around the world," said JBF president Susan Ungaro. "We are shocked and saddened by the news of his death. He was on his way to Nepal to do the relief work for which he was so beloved. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends in the restaurant community of Delaware and to the thousands of people whose lives he touched and changed."

The News Journal has published a more detailed report about his passing. Learn more about Haley's humanitarian work in this profile, published in our 2014 Awards program, and in the below tribute video that was shown at the Awards this past May. A clip of Haley's acceptance speech at this year's ceremony is also below.


An outdoor service to honor Matt Haley is scheduled for Sunday, September 28 at the Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville, Delaware, beginning at 2 P.M. Doors open at 1:15 P.M. Up to 2,000 people are expected to attend the event. Those who can’t attend can still share in the occasion to be streamed live on The event’s rain date is Monday, Sept. 29 at 11 A.M. For more information, click here.