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Amachree Obituary

May 10, 2017

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Update: A memorial service for Western Illinois University Sociology and Anthropology Professor Emeritus Igolima Amachree will be held at 3 p.m. Friday May 19 at Wesley Community Center in Macomb.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 27 at Trinity Church, 3355 Dunckel Road in Lansing, Michigan, with visitation one hour prior.

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MACOMB, IL -- The Western Illinois University community is saddened to learn of the passing of Western Illinois University Sociology and Anthropology Professor Emeritus Igolima Amachree. Amachree, 80, passed away May 1. Additional information regarding services and memorials is forthcoming.

Amachree joined the WIU faculty in 1965 and according to the book, "First Century: A Pictorial History of Western Illinois University" by Professor Emeritus John Hallwas, Amachree, who was from Nigeria, was the first Black faculty member at Western. He was an assistant professor from 1965-66, and then went to Rockford College and the University of Liberia for approximately four years, before returning to Western in 1970 as an associate professor. He was a leader within the department, teaching not only sociology and anthropology courses, but also courses in African literature. Amachree was chair of the department from 1971-1981. He retired in December 2009, after more than 40 years of service.

In addition to his work at WIU, Amachree was known internationally for his expertise. In 2003, he served as an adviser for the Liberian Transitional Government, after his brother-in-law was chosen to lead the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL). Amachree was part of the NTGL inner circle, which was working in conjunction with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to craft a comprehensive peace agreement between multiple political movements and parties, ending years of civil war and implementing programs for national rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the nation leading to democratic elections in 2005.

Years earlier, in 1981, Amachree was heavily involved in drafting a constitution following a military takeover of Liberia. In 1985, he was again asked to draft a plan for the changing government that would allow for greater democratization of the nation. An economist, Amachree also served many years as a consultant for the World Bank, a UN organization which offers technical and monetary assistance to developing nations. He also spent time in Liberia in 1979 as a United Nations consultant on the establishment of a National Research Institute at the University of Liberia.

Amachree earned his bachelor's degree (1960) in economics, history and politics at Durham University in England. His desire to "humanize" economics led him to the U.S. and Michigan State University where he earned a master's degree (1963) in sociology and anthropology and a doctorate (1967) in sociology, specializing in industrial sociology.

During his tenure at WIU, Amachree was instrumental in bringing the the African Literature Association's (ALA) International African Literature Conference to WIU in Spring 2008. Some 400 worldwide ALA members attended the annual conference with the theme "African and African Diaspora Women Writers, Global Challenges and Cultural Identity."

He is survived by his wife, Mara; and three sons.

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