2005 rings in another bizarre death of
a leading microbiologist
Researcher called consummate
- Another top
microbiologist has been found dead, again by mysterious
circumstances, leading the number to over 132 strange
microbiologist deaths since 9/11/01.
Colleagues, students and colleagues gathered to pay tribute
to Im in Acuff Auditorium at the University of
Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. The retired MU
researcher was found stabbed to death in the trunk of his
car last week in the Maryland Avenue parking garage.
At the memorial, a slide
show flashed scenes of Im as a boy in a traditional Korean
farm family, as a smiling young man in sunglasses on a
beach, as a graduate student exploring the East Coast and in
his later years as a husband and father.
"Dadís passing was tragic,"
Ihm, his daughter said. "And I know you are all struggling
to make sense of it, as we are." She
remembered her father as a consummate educator and a
"walking dictionary," a man with an argumentative
personality that hid a "soft, contemplative side." Her father gave his help
generously and inspired deep loyalty among students and
colleagues. "If he has touched your life, I hope you will
honor his principles and values in your lives and think of
him," she said.
H.D. Kim, a colleague and
friend for more than 40 years, said, "Our community has lost
a scholar and a sage elder."
Kim met Im in the early
1960s, when both men were studying in North Carolina. Kim
recalled his friendís expertise on everything from
biochemistry to fixing cars for fellow graduate students. Youn Ju Lee, a
post-doctoral fellow at MU, described Im as a valued mentor
who kept the highest standards.
"He was the hardest and
strictest person Iíve ever had in my life, except for my
father," Lee said, adding that no one except her parents was
more proud of her success. On the night before his
death, Im gave Lee more advice on how to be a worthy
scientist in a conversation that lasted until 10 p.m. In
perfect keeping with his personality, he promised to give
her another lecture the next day.
Police have investigated
more than 150 leads in the case. A decision was expected
today whether to disband the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad
and return the investigation to University Police, reduce
the squad of 28 detectives or extend the squadís
participation, MU police Capt. Brian Weimer said.