Staff and students were left in tears when the manager of the Central Sussex College restaurant collapsed and died at work.
Brian Manifold, 59, died of a suspected heart attack on February 27.
Tributes have been pouring into the college in memory of the man who had been part of college life since 1997 and managed the Le Cordon Vert training restaurant.
A memory book has been created and will be handed to Brian’s family after his funeral.
His cheerful outlook on life was reflected in the tributes left by students.
One, signed by Emma, read: “Brian you were always so happy and cheerful. I still hear you whistling as you walk down the corridor.
“You were always there to help and always managed to lighten the mood. You will be truly missed.”
Another, signed by Anwen, said: “Brian you were an inspiring person, you showed us how to be the best we could be, and always believed in us. Thank you for everything.”
One student added: “Brian you were such a legend. Your rubbish jokes, our banter behind the bar.
“I can always remember you calling me matey. You will be missed by me and everyone else in our class. The restaurant will never be the same without you.”
A spokesman for the college said customers had been ringing up in tears following the news of Brian’s death.
Anyone who would like to add their tributes to the memory book is invited to drop into the restaurant before tomorrow (Thursday March 13).
Brian lived in Saltdean and leaves his wife and three grown-up sons.
He was a keen supporter of Parkinson’s UK and a collection is being held at the college to raise money for the cause.
Donations from Le Cordon Vert customers, in memory of Brian, are welcome up to Friday March 21 and will be added to donations made by staff and students.
Anyone wishing to donate should send cheques payable to ‘Central Sussex College’ to Jo Chappel, Le Cordon Vert Restaurant, Central Sussex College, College Road, Crawley, RH10 1NR (marked Parkinson’s UK donation on the reverse).
College principal Sarah Wright said: “Brian never failed to impress with his friendly, chatty and happy approach.
“He was much loved by staff, students and Le Cordon Vert customers alike and will be very sadly missed by everyone here at the college. We all send our sincere condolences to his family at this very difficult time.”