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Remembering the Life and Legacy of Leonard “Doc” Carr Jr. (1964-2016)

     Leonard “Doc” Carr Jr. passed away on Aug. 22, 2016 at the age of 52, after many years of battling brain cancer. Doc was born on April 17, 1964. He lived in Norwood, Pa., not far from Eastern’s St. Davids campus. For over 20 years he commuted to Eastern every morning for his job as a supervisor for Sodexo in the Dining Commons.

     During his time at Eastern, Doc impacted thousands of lives. As attested to by Eastern students as well as his fellow employees, Doc often provided direction and words of wisdom when they were needed most. This was especially true of first-year students, who were trying to find their way around campus, as well as manage living on their own. Doc acted as a role model for new students for more than two decades. Upon asking Sodexo employees who worked with Doc what they thought of him, some say he was a “storyteller,” while others say he was “boss.” Upon further listening, words such as “friend” and “mentor” are heard. Sodexo employees say that he was tough, but never unkind, and he always kept his chin up. Indeed, Doc was someone peers wanted in their corner. Many students who worked under his supervision learned more than just the ins and outs of working in the Dining Commons, for they learned lessons in life. In between rushes at the Dining Commons’ classic line he would tell stories about his life experiences, and there was always a moral to the story. However, Doc was not just a storyteller, for he could also go on about various music groups and the finer points of fishing. When it came time to work, he remained focused and driven. His charisma and unparalleled work ethic inspired everyone to work as hard as they could. These qualities would be exceptional in anyone, but Doc maintained his hopeful attitude and kind heart all the while battling brain cancer.

     During his last spring here at Sodexo, Doc was not able to come to work for medical reasons. Many students were not sure if he was going to be back to finish out the semester, but one early morning toward the end of the year, I began my five-minute walk from my dorm to Walton to get ready for the breakfast shift. Walking across the McInnis parking lot I spotted a man stepping out of his car, and I immediately recognized that it was Doc. I walked over and greeted him back after his long absence. We walked together up the hill toward the Dining Commons. He moved slowly but purposefully like he always did. Before we entered the building he turned to me and said, “Tomorrow is not promised. Every day is a gift.” I will not soon forget those words. Those who had the privilege of knowing him will never forget Leonard “Doc” Carr.

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