Many in the community are mourning the loss of a woman, who spent her life in the service of education.
Dr. Diane Honeycutt of Hamlet died Thursday at First Health Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst. She was 65.
Richmond Community College’s educational facility in Laurinburg is named for her.
Honeycutt, whose tenure at RCC spanned 34 years, was RCC President Emeritus.
During the dedication of the college’s F. Diane Honeycutt Center on McLean Street in Laurinburg, state Sen. Bill Purcell called her a “servant leader.”
“Her dedication and wisdom of leadership helped make RCC the great college it is today,” Purcell said at that time. “She never forgot RCC’s obligation to serving the citizens of Scotland County. This building will be a reminder of that service and dedication.”
She began her lifetime of service as a registrar at Richmond Community College, which was Richmond Technical Institute at the time.
JC Lamm, who was dean of the school when Honeycutt started, worked with her until his retirement.
“She and I worked together for years, and were good friends,” said Lamm. “She was the finest person I’ve ever known. She had genuine compassion, and would go above and beyond to help others. Her intent was actually to work with the school for a year, and go on to law school, but she loved being there. She found her niche, being able to help the students.”
Rockingham Mayor Gene McLaurin said that all of his experiences working with Honeycutt were positive ones.
“She was a wonderful person who loved this community and loved her work,” he said. “She has left a legacy of good deeds and the importance of everyone working together. That’s what her life was really about. The success of the college and much of the success of our community was due, in large part, to her. Everyone at city hall joins with me to express our sympathy to her family. We mourn her loss, but remember what a positive difference she made for all of us.”
Over the years, Honeycutt served in various positions with RCC and, later, served as president of the college from 2001-2008.
“Diane Honeycutt’s commitment to Richmond Community College left a deep impression upon the college and community. For over 38 years, she put RCC and its students first in her life. During her tenure as president, we strengthened economic development partnerships with both counties that resulted in construction of the Honeycutt Center in Laurinburg and the upcoming expansion of the Forte Building on our Hamlet campus,” said RCC President Dale McInnis.
Honeycutt made time for many other civil service involvements.
She was an active member of First United Methodist Church, and served on various committees. She was on the board of Discovery Place KIDS, a member of the Hamlet Woman’s Club and the Delta Kappa Gamma Tau chapter. She was on the Sandhills Regional Medical Center Board and Richmond County Social Services Board. Honeycutt was on the Lumber River Workforce Development, the Sandhills Childrens Center Board, and the Entre Nous Literary Club. She was a member of the Rockingham Rotary Club, Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, and others.
“She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known,” said Councilwoman Abbie Covington.
Covington served with Honeycutt on the Hamlet City Council, served with her at the college in many capacities and was a close friend.
“Diane devoted her life to causes to benefit others,” said Covington. “She has left behind a legacy of sacrifice, kindness, respect and consideration for her fellow man. She truly loved and cared about others, and never missed an opportunity to make a positive difference. She never let need go unnoticed, and she had a drive to leave the world a better place.”
Covington added that the prosperity of RCC was a joy to Honeycutt’s heart.
“The college is only growing because it’s being a service to others, which is everything she stood for,” said Covington. “She gave her life to that school and was happy to watch it grow and serve, even when she was no longer president.”
“Diane and I had some marvelous times, whether we were traveling together for work or for vacation,” said Covington. “We had the best conversations, and she loved to talk about the school. She was a devoted friend, and I will miss her.”