The Wake Forest community is mourning the loss of Deacon Dining Employee Wallace Jackson, who passed away unexpectedly on May 8. Jackson, who was born in Winston-Salem on Dec. 7, 1956, served in the U.S. Army before becoming employed with Aramark Food Services.
“Mr. Jackson started working with the Deacon Dining team in August 2010 and was an integral part of our Fresh Food Company team and the Wake Forest community,” the university said in a statement. “You could find him behind the grill with an infectious smile, talking with the students, giving kind words or just sharing a laugh with many of his ‘regulars.’ He will truly be missed.”
This sentiment is shared by many in the Wake Forest Community, including sophomore Chidubem Nwakuche.
“I really loved his presence. You know I took a year off from Wake [Forest] and when I got back he recognized me right away and picked right up cracking jokes at me,” Nwakuche said.
Junior and incoming Student Government President Miles Middleton also remembers Wallace’s positive and vibrant presence. As a member of the ROTC, Middleton often conversed with Wallace about his time in the military.
“Mr. Wallace was actually the first person I would see in the morning after Army ROTC Physical Training. I always found it funny that he had so much energy in the morning,” Middleton said. “He was a Veteran and would always share his stories with me in the morning — never shared the same story. I had great respect for him as someone who served his country and cared a lot about his children, he would never fail to mention how much he loved his kids.”
Along with other members of Student Government, Middleton helped to organize a form for students to share letters and messages with Wallace’s family and the Deacon Dining team. Middleton explained that Wallace’s impact spanned beyond his role as a staff member, but that he and other Deacon Dining employees are both integral to our campus community and are what make Wake Forest so special.
“Because of COVID-19, it makes it really difficult for us to express how much we loved and cared for Mr. Wallace, and we wanted to let his family know that he was more than just somebody who just worked on Wake [Forest’s] campus,” Middleton said. “No, he was an admirable, kind, and a loving man who touched so many of us, his family deserves to know that he was loved too — that his kind heart will always be remembered.”
To further support his family, freshman Ethan Wearner organized a crowdfunding page that aims to raise $500. Donations can be made here.
“I remember Mr. Jackson always being so happy and cheerful every day I saw him. Whenever he was in a station and I was waiting, he would strike up a conversation and be so friendly to everyone,” sophomore Reggie Wallace said. “He was just an all-round bright person who always did a great job and did it with the biggest smile.”
Wallace will be missed dearly by the entire Wake Forest community. He made an indelible mark on anyone and everyone who had the pleasure of sparking up a conversation with him in the Pit.
May he rest in peace.