Photo courtesy of Martine Cherry
Photo courtesy of Martine Cherry

In Memoriam: Lemont White

Beloved Deacon Dining employee Lemonydue White, affectionately known as Lemont by the university community, passed away on Dec. 19. He was 49 years old when he passed. 

Many students received word of White’s death via a Deacon Dining Instagram post with the caption, “In loving memory of Lemont White — Wake Forest University.”

According to his official obituary on the Harrison Funeral Chapel website, White moved to Winston-Salem in 1991 to pursue a career in the culinary arts and has served as an employee for Deacon Dining since August 2013. He started his career as a food supervisor, but he was promoted to Food Service Manager of the Fresh Food Company (Pit) in July of 2015. 

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Tim VanderMeersch, District Manager for Harvest Table Culinary Group, said, “Lemont had a personality that cared for everyone. He was a kind soul and made everyone smile. His memory and spirit will live forever in the Pit.”

Every day, students and faculty looked forward to going to the Pit in hopes of seeing White. He was a source of positivity and comfort for many students who were eager to share their fond memories of White. 

Junior Anne van Hoof said, “Lemont truly made Wake feel like home and was family to all of us. He always had time to chat and was very involved in students’ lives. He was such a happy soul that brightened up my whole day.” 

Senior Yassmin Shaltout was struck by White’s ability to remember her after only meeting once and said he always acknowledged her presence regardless of how busy he might have been on any given day. She met White while eating at the Pit with a friend who already had developed a close relationship with him.

Shaltout said, “From that day on, regardless of whether I was accompanied by this particular friend, Lemont would always say hello, wave to me or spark up a conversation. I’m sure the hundreds of students he did so for also appreciated this small token of care and that his actions made the Pit feel like a home rather than just a college dining hall.”

He took pride in working at the Pit, which is the preferred dining option for many student athletes. White developed close relationships with the athletes and was a dedicated supporter of the university’s athletics, shown by his regular attendance at both football and basketball games.

Junior football player Loic Nya said, “In my three years here, I’ve never encountered somebody like him. He took time out of his day to ensure that all of the football players had not just what they needed to eat, but what they wanted to eat. He wanted to make the Pit better on a daily basis.” 

White’s passion for sports and desire to support the university’s athletics stemmed from his own athletic background. He went to college on a track scholarship at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., his home state, and was a fervent supporter of his favorite football team, the Chicago Bears. He also loved playing weekly pick-up basketball games with his fellow co-managers. 

One of his fellow employees, Director of Associate Relations for Harvest Table Culinary Group, Martine Cherry, described White as having a positive working relationship with his entire team. 

“You could see the impact that he had on his staff,” Cherry said. “They knew that they could go to them.”       

Cherry noted that White was firm in communicating what he expected from his associated and co-managers, but was always willing to help and able to lighten the mood with a good joke. 

“He had a certain way of bringing people together and was a really funny guy,” Nya said. “He didn’t just do his job for the money, but he actually enjoyed doing it. We lost somebody really important to this community.” 

White’s passion for food was also demonstrated outside of the university’s community, as he regularly volunteered for organizations that help to feed underprivileged families in Winston-Salem. He had a profound impact on everyone he met in the communities to which he belonged. 

He was loved by his colleagues, as well as by many students, who will remember him as a kind, funny and attentive friend. His loss is being felt across the entire community.  

“We’re already missing you Lemont,” van Hoof said. “You will always be remembered.” 



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