College mourns loss of former Sodexo employee

By Elizabeth Zakaim and Nicole Viviano

Editor-in-Chief  and News Editor

She was known for putting a smile on everyone’s faces and being the most enthusiastic about the weekend –– all while lifting the spirits of even the most exhausted strung out college students.

Yvette “Eve” Cruz, a dearly remembered employee, has died at age 44 on Dec 14. While the cause of death remains unconfirmed, the former Sodexo cashier at Eickhoff Hall was known by members of the campus community as “the boss of all bosses.”   

Born July 26, 1974 in Brooklyn, New York, Cruz grew up with many close friends who were proud to know her.

“She wasn’t just a friend she was also a sister,” said Unique Ruby Frizzell Hickson, a close friend of Cruz’s. She met Cruz at age 15 in Brooklyn and kept in contact over the years — they would affectionately call each other cousins. “I’m definitely going to miss her she was the epitome of real and rare.”  

Cruz’s warm personality was always on display at the College, where she worked from 2007 to 2016. Many of students commented over social media to express their condolences. There were alumni who were upset to hear of her death as well.

“Eve was the most kind and selfless person I knew,” said August Pfluger (’18).  “Eve put a smile on the faces of all the TCNJ students who ate in Eickhoff Hall, whom she called her ‘kids’ or ‘the bosses.’”

Cruz’s love and dedication to the College’s students were demonstrated through the care packages she gave out during exam times, her attendance at sporting and Greek Life functions and her unwavering positivity each day at work.

The Signal interviewed Cruz back in 2015 to learn more about her and her role at the College. Former Editor-in-Chief Julie Kayzerman (’16), who wrote the story, fondly remembered the chance to sit down and speak with Cruz.  

“She was just a staple at TCNJ,” Kayzerman said. “When you walked into Eick … she just brightened your day the minute you walked in. You would go there just to see Eve.”  

Kayzerman explained how Cruz’s positivity created a chain reaction throughout the College. Cruz was known for her effervescent encouragement — phrases like “you got it boss” and “we’re getting through it” were commonly heard coming from Cruz in Eickhoff Hall.  

Even after she was let go from her job at Sodexo in November of 2016, Cruz made efforts to stay in contact with her “kids” and “bosses.” Pfluger recalled when Cruz brought him a care package even after she left the College.

Other current students also appreciated her efforts to keep in touch with them after she left.

“Even beyond school she made sure those connections were both possible,” said junior journalism and African-American studies double major Marcus Allen. “(They) weren’t just staged relationships just because she was working here, but relationships that she really truly did care about.”

Larry Stevens, a Sodexo employee who worked with Cruz for six years, shared his devastation and shock after hearing of Cruz’s death.  

“It was like losing a family member,” Stevens said. “It really was a shock to me.”

Adored by her co-workers, students, friends and family, Cruz leaves a legacy of kindness, positivity and friendship. She is survived by her son, Mikey, and her mother, Maria Cruz.  

Cruz’s services were held at Funeraria Juan-John’s Funeral Home in Brooklyn, New York and  the viewing and service were held on Thursday, Dec. 20.

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