May 122022

Joseph Rabe ’65 died April 21, 2022, in South Pasadena, Florida. Joe majored in speech at Illinois Wesleyan. After graduation, he took a job with Sears, Roebuck & Co., where he held a variety of positions at stores in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. Joe developed a love of automobiles early in life, a passion he shared with his father. Joe made that passion his profession when he became co-owner of a Dodge-Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Sauk City, Wisconsin, in the late 1980s. In retirement, he traveled between East Moline, Illinois, and South Pasadena, where he continued to be an active member of car clubs. He had a particular passion for Packard, Studebaker, Avanti and Saab vehicles. Joe had a knack for storytelling and was happiest when he had the chance to regale friends with his tales into the wee hours of the morning. He is survived by two children, four grandchildren, and many extended family members. You can read more here.

 Posted by at 11:49 am
May 112022

Holly (Schultz) DeFrancisco ’64 died April 17, 2022, in Fairport, New York. She was 81. Holly majored in art and was active in Sigma Kappa. She went on to a career as a graphic artist at Eastman Kodak company, and was among the first generation to use computers in graphic design. She later owned her own graphic art business, and most recently worked in information technology in the Pittsford (N.Y.) Central School. Holly loved ironing clothes, swimming, boating, dirt biking and organizing things. Her favorite meat was a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup. Her favorite snack was animal crackers. She loved her pets, her friends and her home. She is survived by two ex-husbands and many extended family members. You can read more here.

 Posted by at 2:58 pm
May 112022

A. Phillip Borkenhagen ’64 of Milton, Wisconsin, died April 6, 2022. He was 84. Phil earned a bachelor’s degree at Milton College before graduating with a master’s degree in mathematics from Illinois Wesleyan. He also earned postgraduate credits at Northern Illinois University and completed predoctoral work at Marquette University. Phil went on to a career as a math and chemistry teacher, a contract negotiator for teachers and support staff, and an executive director for Capital Area Uniserv North in Madison, Wisconsin. Phil also officiated high school and college basketball. He served on Milton College’s alumni association board of directors, including three years as its president. He was a supporter of the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville (Wis.), Special Olympics of Wisconsin, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in Janesville. He was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs and Bears, and the University of Wisconsin. He was an active golfer and worked part-time in retirement at Glen Erin Golf Club in Rock County, Wisconsin. He also taught undergraduate classes at Concordia University Wisconsin in retirement. He is survived by four children, five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. You can read more here.

 Posted by at 2:32 pm
May 062022

The Office of Alumni Engagement would like to thank Jill (Wyatt) Dew ’68, Class Newsletter editor for the 1960s, for all of her hard work and dedication to IWU over the years. Jill is officially retiring from her role as editor, but she will remain an invaluable member of the Illinois Wesleyan family.

“I really have enjoyed all of my years of working with the staff at IWU… It has kept IWU close to my heart. I almost feel like I still know all the members of the class of 1968. I can see them as college students as we walk across the campus.”

Thank you for everything, Jill!

Apr 182022

Michael ’62 and Karen ’63 Gibson of Danville, IL will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Sunday, June 5, 2022 with a reception at Wolf Creek Golf Club sponsored by friends and family.

Michael Gibson and Karen Christiansen met at Illinois Wesleyan University on a blind date. They were married June 2, 1962 at the First Methodist Church of Normal, IL.

Michael is a former music teacher and retired farmer. Karen is a retired medical technologist from Lakeview/Provena Hospital in Danville, IL.

The couple has one son, Donald Gibson of Chicago, IL.

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Apr 012022

Harvey Caldwell ’63, retired Chief Executive Officer of the Brainerd (Minn.) Regional Human Services Center, was elected in January 2022 to the role of senior warden of the Vestry of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Congratulations, Harvey!

 Posted by at 11:55 am
Apr 012022

Bruce Imig ’63 of Springfield, Illinois, died March 20, 2022. He was 81. Bruce was active in Phi Gamma Delta during his time at Illinois Wesleyan. After graduation, he worked for Franklin Life Insurance Company as an area chief underwriter. Bruce also served in the U.S. Army Reserves. He met his future wife in 1966 and they married a year later. Bruce cherished time at family condominiums in Door County, Wisconsin, and Naples, Florida. He was passionate about his faith, travel, model trains and motor scooters. In retirement, he enjoyed connecting with his Phi Gamma Delta brothers and former coworkers, and spending time with family. He is survived by his wife, three children and eight grandchildren.

 Posted by at 11:18 am
Apr 012022

Judith Filley ’63 of Holland, Michigan, died Jan. 8, 2022. She was 80. Judy studied elementary education at Illinois Wesleyan and went on to a teaching career in Chicago and New York City. She later returned to her hometown of Holland and worked as a computer programmer for 20 years at Gentex Corporation in Zeeland. She was a talented photographer and gardener. Judy was known for her generosity, and her ability to share her love and wisdom with those around her. She is survived by two siblings, five nieces and nephews, and many extended family members. 

 Posted by at 11:16 am
Mar 302022

Robert Lawry ’64 of Peoria, Illinois, died March 2, 2022. He was 79. Bob was called to ministry after a mission during his high school years which afforded him a month to work with Louisiana’s Houma population. He studied religion at Illinois Wesleyan and, during his freshman year, he worked part-time at Ebenezer Methodist Church near Funks Grove, Illinois. He became a student pastor there the following year, and maintained a connection with the church throughout his life. Bob went on to Garrett Theological Seminary and was ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church the same year he earned his degree from Garrett. He served churches in many Illinois communities: Woodland, Crescent City, Herscher, Buckingham, Cambridge, East Moline, Quincy, Effingham, Peoria and Washington. Bob appreciated the privilege of being a pastor, and he possessed gifts for preaching, teaching and administration. Anyone who spent any appreciable time with Bob learned of his lifelong friendship with Pro Football Hall of Famer Lou Groza, who gave Bob his first kicking lesson in a room at Chicago’s Palmer House hotel, and who provided the guidance Bob needed to become the placekicker for the IWU football team. Bob appreciated his many friendships and enjoyed spending many happy hours traveling the country visiting his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his wife, three children, two stepsons, six granddaughters and two siblings. 

 Posted by at 12:18 pm