John Ireland
1952 - 2017
April 15, 1952
June 30, 2017
John Ireland

John Ireland, 65, beloved husband of Pam Wicking and father of Hannah and Will Ireland passed away on Friday, June 30, 2017, at his home in DeKalb.

John was born in Akron, Ohio, to Dr. Rev. Frank G. and Dorothy Ireland, and grew up in Michigan. He graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1970 and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University in 1974. His adventurous spirit took him to Australia, where he taught 3rd and 4th grade and met his wife of 32 years. He earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University, Ohio (1986) and taught high school English in Medellin, Colombia and Manistee, Michigan. He earned a MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University (1998) and was an Instructor in the English Department from 1999 until his death. John found his way back to good health after cancer in 2001 through alternative diet and medicine and inspired others to adopt healthier lifestyles. Love of travel, language, teaching and the outdoors took him to all corners of the world. He was an avid bird watcher, reader, book collector and backpacker who delighted in trips to the mountains of Colorado and the family cabin in Michigan.

He is survived by his wife; children; sisters, Patricia Wildey and Lori Ireland; and a large, loving, extended family in the US and Australia.

He was preceded in death by his beloved parents and brothers Richard and Frank Ireland.

A Memorial Service celebrating John's life will be held Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, 158 N Fourth St., with Rev. Linda Slabon officiating.

Donations in his memory may be made to "John Ireland Memorial Student Travel Scholarship" at

For information, visit or call 815-756-1022.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Daily-Chronicle on Jul. 6, 2017.
Memorial service
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb
158 N Fourth St.
Funeral services provided by:
Anderson Funeral Home
Sponsored by Anderson Funeral Home.
Add a Message
11 Entries
John Ireland was the greatest professor I ever had attending NIU. He helped me fix my papers and genuinely cared about if I succeeded. I was in the last class John taught at NIU, and it breaks my heart hearing of his passing. Sending prayers to loved ones and family. He will be greatly missed.
Bridgett H
July 21, 2017
I was very lucky to have met and have had Mr.Ireland as my English professor while at NIU. He was always full of life and laughter. Every time I would stop by his office to chat, I would discover that he is learning a new language. He also wrote me a letter of recommendation to pharmacy school, which may seem odd when I majored in Chemistry. He taught me what could not be found in textbooks and laboratories. He taught me how to interpret my dreams and chase after them. Rest in Peace, Mr.Ireland. Thank you for being apart of my life.
Krystal Do
July 17, 2017
Professor Ireland was my English teacher during my first year at NIU. He was a wonderful professor who genuinely cared for all of his students. He always brought so much laughter, joy, and wisdom into class, as well as share his passion for English. I'll never forget the impact he made on me and my first-year experience at NIU. Deepest condolences to Professor Ireland's wife and children; I will miss him greatly.
Kristen Ho
July 16, 2017
Sincere sympathy to Pam, Hannah and Will, and to the Ireland family. John will live on in all our hearts. He was a loved brother-in-law, uncle and great-uncle.
Rest in peace John
Julie Wicking
July 12, 2017
Pam, Will, and Hannah, we are embracing you in loving thoughts and have been keeping you close in our hearts. We are so sorry to hear the news of John's passing.
Danica Lovings
July 11, 2017
I had the privilege of having Professor Ireland as my English teacher during my year at NIU. He was hands down the best and most inspirational professor I've had throughout my college career and I will never forget the impact he made on me as a student and a person. He brought so much wisdom, enthusiasm, and life into the classroom every day and I will miss him greatly.
Skylar Brinkman
July 10, 2017
My deepest condolences to you and your family.
Moria Nagy
July 8, 2017
A great friend in High School. Such fun times and long discussions. Thank you for making me feel welcomed in Big Rapids. Rest In Gods Peace, my friend.
Bill Tombs
July 7, 2017
I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. May your memories bring you comfort.
Diana Zeller
July 6, 2017
John was such a wonderful teacher and co-worker. He will be missed here in the English Department at NIU.
Angie Dybas
July 6, 2017
So very sorry for your loss, Pam and family. The world has lost a fine human being. Blessings at this difficult time.
July 6, 2017