Students, faculty, alumni, and friends of the ECU Department of Hospitality Management and the College of Human Ecology mourn the death of professor James A. Chandler, who passed away on Aug. 17.
Chandler joined the hospitality management faculty in 1998. During his tenure at ECU, he primarily taught principles of classical cuisine, wine and beverage management, and facilities management. His major areas of research included tourism development patterns and preferences, visitor profiles at tourism destinations, restaurant sanitation and safety and sustainable land use and agriculture.
Chandler valued hand-on experience for his students. His facilities management students often teamed up with interior design classes to work with local hoteliers and restaurateurs to develop workable plans for energy conservation and minimizing waste products. His cuisine students would often be seen managing food and beverage venues for events such as ECU receptions, wine festivals, and charity fundraisers.
He also took great pride in accompanying outstanding hospitality management students annually to the opening of the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant and Hotel-Motel Show and Exposition in Chicago, where the students would be honored at a special gala dinner and have an opportunity to experience the city.
A retired hotelier and wine aficionado, Chandler was instrumental in preparing hundreds of students to enter the workforce as managers of restaurants and hotels, food and beverage concerns, and tourism destinations. He was considered a patriarch by many of his students, and many hospitality management alumni corresponded regularly with him. He often spoke of his former students and described their successes in detail, naming 10 to 20 alumni and their business ventures off the top of his head.
In recent years, he developed a keen interest in assisting the greater community of eastern North Carolina with planning the re-development of farmland on the coastal plain for sustainable agricultural production. He worked with a team of specialists at ECU to develop a long-term program to support and advance sustainable alternative farming throughout the region.
Chandler, a native of Ohio, received an undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of Tennessee.
Dr. Robert O’Halloran, chair of the Department of Hospitality Management said, “Jim was a dedicated teacher and a champion for his students. He worked with them throughout their careers here at ECU and then followed them and their careers in the workplace. He will truly be missed by many.”
Chandler is survived by his wife, Dr. Joyce H. Chandler and three daughters: Aubrey L. Cash of Greenville, N.C.; Jennifer C. Herrera and husband Shannon of Waynesville, N.C.; Laine Eubank and fiancée, Khahn Dang, of Savannah, Ga.; and grandchildren Gabrielle Cash and Joselynn Dang. He was 61 years old.
A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Aug. 20 at the chapel at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville. His family will receive friends from 9:30 a.m. until the memorial service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the East Carolina University Department of Hospitality Management, Attn: Dr. Robert O’Halloran, 152 Rivers Bldg., Greenville, NC 27858.