Lor was ‘always giving’


Thiak Lor, Director of Food Services, died June 6 at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer. Lor ran food service on both campuses and worked for the school for over 25 years, President Thomas C. Hudnut said in an e-mail sent to the faculty and staff on June 7.

Lor left behind him not only a well-run business but also a staff devoted to helping the school and serving the students, Chief Financial Officer Rob Levin said.

Lor emigrated from Thailand around 40 years ago. After working in Seattle for a few years in the school catering business, he moved to Los Angeles. In the late 1980s, prior to the merger, Lor joined the original business that ran the cafeteria.

“I remember the first time I saw him, he handed me a huge, slobbery beef sandwich with open arms and a big smile,” Levin said.

After a falling out with his partner, the school asked Lor to become the new cafeteria manager, and director of his own company.

“Because the school trusted him and kept him, he wanted to thank them by giving them the best service he could,” business partner and close friend Kay Tirakayos said. “That was his entire goal, and it’s still our goal.”

Throughout the years, Lor developed a reputation for being not only dedicated to his job, but generous and selfless, Levin said.

“He would be up at five in the morning every day,” Levin said, “he was always trying to pick the best food.”

When planning his wedding, Levin asked Lor to cater the wedding dinner. Afterwards, Lor did not want to cash Levin’s check. After waiting a few weeks, Levin confronted Lor, whose solution was to give all of the money to Harvard-Westlake Annual Giving.

“That just shows what type of person he is,” Levin said, “he was always giving.”

Amato remembers how at annual barbeques hosted at the school, Lor would “look over the tables in Chalmers or in the quad and smile because people were eating his food.”

“He thought the students’ happiness was important, and that through their stomachs, we could get them to be happy,” Amato said.

After Lor’s death, the cafeteria rearranged members of the management. Nipa Boonyames and Tirakayos will head the new company. Called “Healthy Choices,” the new company will focus on providing healthier alternatives to the cafeteria food. They also plan on focusing on more environmentally friendly choices, Levin said. Plans for the future include getting rid of plastic bottles and using compostable plates and cutlery, Amato said.

Meanwhile, Lor’s legacy leaves a cafeteria staff dedicated to honoring Lor’s memory by providing quality service, Amato said.

“Will anything change?” asked Levin, “I don’t think so, his people are too dedicated to his memory to fail.”