A consummate cook with a gourmand's flair, David C. LeMay had the ability to transform chow hall food into special fare.
"He could kind of make a silk purse out of a sow's ear," said his friend Dick Rogers.
As an employee at The Flynn Christian Fellowship Home in Burke County, LeMay's meals became the highlight of the home's nightly dinners, said Rogers, president of the board of directors for the center that serves homeless men with substance-abuse problems.
The 60-year-old died Wednesday morning after his car crashed into a stone wall that surrounds the Confederate monument on the lawn of the state Capitol, police said.
LeMay was alone in a 2004 Saturn sedan heading east on Hillsborough Street when the accident occurred about 1 a.m., according to a police report. The speed limit is 35 mph. He was pronounced dead at the scene and was not wearing a seat belt.
Police did not know Thursday what had caused the accident.
The Morganton man had traveled to Raleigh for a training session about federal funding for a grant secured by the Flynn Home, which works with recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, Rogers said Thursday.
LeMay, who had a master's in early childhood education from UNC-Chapel Hill, previously had worked with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in Raleigh, Rogers said.
LeMay entered Flynn Home as a client almost two years ago, Rogers said. LeMay worked on staying sober, became the home's manager and eventually was named the program director.
LeMay strove to make the Morganton center a gathering place for former and current residents along with other recovering alcoholics.
"You can spend a lot of years working with people in these programs and do it more mechanically," Rogers said. "David wasn't that kind of guy. He really cared about the individuals."
Under LeMay's fun-loving, humorous approach, the home's programs flourished.
"I miss him," Rogers said. "He was a good individual."
Staff writer Jennifer Brevorka can be reached at 836-4906 or firstname.lastname@example.org.