Celebrating the Life of Joshua Immke

By Samira Kassem Sep 4, 2020

Caption: Joshua Immke ‘19 (left) at graduation with a close friend and teammate, Bryan Worby ‘19. 

Photo Courtesy of Illinois Wesleyan University via Facebook

We were heartbroken to hear of the recent passing of 2019 graduate Joshua A. Immke, a beloved athlete, musician and alumni of Illinois Wesleyan University. 

Joshua A. Immke was raised in Bloomington where he studied at Normal West High School and graduated in the Class of 2015 as a member of the National Honor Society.

 He showed great interest in both athletics and music, as a member of the football and track teams while playing the Cello in the school orchestra. 

After graduating from High School he then enrolled at Illinois Wesleyan University in the fall of 2016. 

While attending as a Chemistry major, Joshua participated in the IWU track team under Coach Chris Schumacher. 

“I remember recruiting Josh and how excited I was when he committed to Illinois Wesleyan. I immediately was drawn to his energy, his smile and his passion for track and field,” Coach Shumacher said.

“What I liked most about Josh was his genuine personality.  His track fall testing his first year was incredible and I knew we had a special young athlete. Unfortunately he had a recurring injury and we never were able to get him back on the track. Still, for the next 3 years he would show up to practice, ask questions, ask what he could do to help and was a big part of the team. I can see him now, that first year, smiling and hanging out with the team. Everyone loved Josh and he will be greatly missed” Schumacher said.

In 2016 he was not only named “Best Newcomer” for the 2015-16 season, but also earned a varsity letter. 

Josh not only excelled in varsity sports, but in academics as well.

 He earned the prestigious “Chemistry Student of the Year” award, and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Illinois Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. 

Professor of Chemistry Doctor Ram Mohan expresses Joshua’s academic accomplishments, “I’m deeply shocked and saddened to know that Josh is no longer with us. He was a model student and a role model to fellow students. Josh was always interested in learning. I’ve fond memories of our numerous conversations, many light hearted, on a variety of topics. He will be deeply missed” Mohan said.

Doctor Manoni Perrera, another professor of Chemistry, described Joshua’s ability to bond closely with people. “I had him in classes during his junior and senior year and I shared some of the happiest moments of his journey at IWU with him like graduations, decisions on where to go for graduate school, etc.  He liked music and I would let him play music in the lab, and I like to think we bonded through music.”

 At the time of his passing, Joshua was enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison pursuing his Ph.D. in organic chemistry. 

During his four years on campus, a lot of Joshua’s time was spent with his fellow track teammates, including Jillian Cole ‘19 who was also a close friend to Joshua. 

“Josh was constantly involved in everything. He was a yes man and he was dependable. I know I and many others admired his work ethic and his kindness. Even though he was shy, he was always willing to greet everyone with a smile and help if he was asked,” Cole said.

“As eventual president of the chemistry club and an organic chemistry tutor, he was always trying to broaden the reach of the chemistry department to the student body, and it was easy to see that he loved it. He quietly brightened all our lives with his presence. My heart is broken for the loss of his potential to achieve amazing things and contribute to this world as we all knew he would, but more so for the loss of his easy laugh and all the other things that made him who he was. 

“I will miss him forever. I hope that his loss may help us all take the opportunity every day to love our friends deeply, recklessly, and remember to check on them regularly” Cole said. 

Another teammate, Jaclyn Dziewior ‘19 mirrors these sentiments about Joshua, “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Josh is his infectious laugh and how it made anyone’s day better to just hear it. Josh’s laugh was truly a reflection of his compassionate nature and how he strived everyday to make the world a better place.” 

“It crushes me that our friend left us so soon, the world needs more people like him. Josh, thank you for being such a great friend and setting an example for the rest of us. In our hearts you will always hold a special place,” Dziewior said. 

Joshua could almost always be found with fellow Chemistry majors Patrick Foster ‘19 and Bryan Worby ‘19. “From the first time I met Josh, I was drawn to his charismatic, suave and easy going personality.”

“He had this innate ability of always succeeding under pressure whether that be in his classes, on the track or in the lab. Josh was meant for greatness and I’ll always regret not being able to witness that. May you rest in peace Josh,” Foster said. 

“Josh was one of the most motivated learners I knew and one of the best friends a person could ask for. The world was a much brighter place with him in it” Worby said.  

The Argus would like to extend our deepest condolences to Joshua’s friends and family and remind any current students who may be affected by his passing that support is always available through IWU counseling services.      

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