Death of Chief Beau Bennett is a devastating loss | Community
Our Hillsborough community and all the communities affected by Beau Bennett – namesake and chef of Beau’s Catering – have a hole the size of Beau’s heart, which was very large. Beau’s unexpected death from an intracranial brain hemorrhage on October 8 shocked and grieved the many people whose lives he touched, and we wouldn’t be the same without him.
In a small town like Hillsborough, there are people who are becoming legendary in the community and their loss reverberates everywhere. Beau’s is one such loss for Hillsborough, and it’s remarkable that a person so young can have such a profound effect on so many people.
I feel so lucky that I could call Beau a friend.
I was fortunate enough to meet Beau Bennett about 17 years ago when I was a graduate student at UNC. I couldn’t name the first time we met, but my earliest memories go back to the spring of 2005, when the UNC ran for the National Basketball Championship. We were all much younger, freer of responsibility and a little wilder. I’m not sure if Beau and Lauren were dating or just getting to know them, but I have such distinct images of them together in Hell, one of the best Chapel Hill bars ever, full to crack. full of happy people who don’t care about rubbing sweaty shoulders or spilling beers, just happy to cheer on our heels.
And from there Beau was my friend. We were never close, but our circles of good friends overlapped closely. But things about Beau – and if you’ve ever met Beau, you know what I mean – because we had met, we were friends. I remember how every time I saw him from this spring until the last time he greeted me with the same enthusiasm and love that you would have with someone you would call your best friend.
Over the past few years, I have watched with pleasure Beau and his amazing wife and partner Lauren launch Beau Catering. I was proud that this beloved person made her way to Hillsborough, starting as one of the first businesses to launch at the Piedmont Food and Processing Center. I wanted her business so badly to be successful and it was exciting to see her really blossom over the past year, including a coveted photo and shout out in Our State Magazine. Beau was the kind of person you rooted twice as much for because you know he rooted so much for everyone. He was the type of person who finds true happiness in other people who experience their own successes and life stages.
In January 2021, when things were still quite dark with the pandemic, I was walking along Wake Street when a car pulled up beside me. I couldn’t really see who the driver was, but the “Hey Jenn!” in Beau’s unique voice, warm with his big heart and a life that grew up in eastern North Carolina, left no doubt who it was. I wish there was a way to write it down so you could hear it as it resonates in my memory. He parked the car and jumped in, so happy to see me and share with me his new partnership with The Colonial Inn for Sunday brunches. He was so excited and impatient for me to live it. And that was not all. He was worried about me too. He wanted to know how I was, what it was like to be mayor during a pandemic and if I was okay. And it was Beau. Always taking the time to give yourself a few moments of her full attention to ask how you are doing and to encourage you to move forward. Everyone’s hype, but it never felt like hype, just pure love and sincerity.
As I read the many social media tributes written by everyone from his loved ones to those who may have only met him when he planned their wedding, grief and love overwhelm me. waves. This person has touched the lives of so many people in a purely positive way. When I think of Beau, I think of how he loved Lauren, his brother Rain, and his mum (I never met Beau and Rain’s mum, but I loved the many photos he shared from him. ‘she, radiant with adoration). Somehow, he had room to love everyone too – from business associates and restaurant patrons to the honest and divine people he had just met while walking through the restaurant. Street.
I often say that the character of Hillsborough lies most deeply in its people, in the community bonds that the people who live and work here forge with one another. I can think of few people who illustrate these links better than Beau. Yes, he was a great chef and a successful small business owner, but he defined himself less by these things than by his relationships with the other people in his life.
Thank you, Beau, for showing us what is possible when we believe in the best in others and the possibility of living.