Friends, family and colleagues of slain MU microbiology professor Jeong Im gathered at Memorial Union on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the life of a man they remember as a stimulating teacher, a skillful carpenter, a pragmatist and much more.
The gathering marked the second anniversary of Im’s death.
On Jan. 7, 2005, Im’s body was found in the trunk of his Honda Accord in a campus parking garage on Maryland Avenue. Im had been stabbed repeatedly and his car set on fire. The murder remains unsolved; MU police Capt. Brian Weimer said investigators remain “very active.”
The memorial service also marked the release of a book commemorating Im. The book, a collection of essays and eulogies, most of which are written in Korean, was published in Korea by Im’s family for relatives and close friends.
Ji-Hyung Cho, history professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, was chair of the committee that collected the 63 contributions that make up the book.
“Just after (Dr. Im’s) passing, we had talk about some plans to have a dedication to his memory. We had lots of potential plans, including this book,” Cho said.
The book’s title, translated into English, is “Musk in Pocket.” In Korea, musk is used as both a perfume and a medicine, Cho said. The title is symbolic of Im’s principles, which Cho said were obvious to everyone, much like the smell of musk.
“He is like a musk, he is a musk, for us,” Cho said. “If we have his moral principles and his dedication in our minds then automatically it comes out of our mind to make other people and the world better.”
Myung Chi, professor of nutrition at Lincoln University in Jefferson City and whose eulogy for Im is included in the book, agreed.
“Whenever he talked or had a gathering, he always showed his principles, like his belief in a simple life, and his pragmatism, and his truthful nature,” Chi said. “That’s how we remember him.”
Chi added that the book is a good way to memorialize Im.
“Not only me, but his close friends feel that his way of life, teachings and principles should be preserved so that they can continue and reach his family and friends,” he said.
Sang Kim, MU Asian affairs director, said he is unaware of any plans to translate the book into English or to distribute it widely in the U.S.
“It is my understanding that the Korean essays were not translated into English in order not to lose the full meaning and nuance of the authors," Kim said.