Lentz’s head chef dies at 48

By Brey Mong-Delane, @Breymong_DE

James Gilmore, the head chef at Lentz Dining Hall who was better known by students as “Chef Jim,” died Saturday. He worked at Lentz for eight years and was 48. 

“James touched my life in a very profound way,” said Cory Rowley, a childhood friend of Gilmore. “He was always there when I needed a friend, a ride or just to get out and go adventuring. He gave of himself so freely.”

Jon Shaffer, director of University Housing, said James had a great personality and loved working with the students.


“Whenever, wherever I saw Jim, he was happy and bubbly,” Shaffer said.

Rowley, 36, of Union County, said Gilmore loved most things outdoors, especially birds and more specifically bald eagles.

Sharon Spence, who works at Lentz, recalled how Gilmore would cook a special Brazilian cuisine for the students at the dining hall. She remembers how Gilmore would “often come up with new ways and meals to serve to the students.”

Gilmore was not married, but had three dogs he loved very much, Rowley said. He said because of a traumatic brain injury, Gilmore was placed on leave about two years ago. It is unclear how he died. 

“It crushed him to leave a job he loved so much,” Rowley said.

Brey Mong-Delane can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.