SIUC student, reporter dies Friday from seizure, strokes, heart attack

By Gus Bode

An SIUC student and former employee of the Daily Egyptian died Friday morning at Carbondale Memorial Hospital, more than one week after suffering from a seizure that resulted in several strokes and a minor heart attack, friends say.

Joseph D. Johnson, 22, was admitted to the hospital July 1 after he was found in a breathing but comatose state at his residence. After being transported to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis on July 5 for neurological testing, Johnson was brought back to Memorial Hospital.

Memorial services for Johnson were held Monday afternoon at Murphysboro Middle School Auditorium and were followed by a burial ceremony at Reynoldsburg Cemetery in Tunnel Hill.


An aspiring journalist, Johnson spent much of his life as a writer. He was editor of the Crimson Tide, the newspaper of Murphysboro High School.

Johnson also held the editor position at The Beacon, a regional newspaper for teenagers through the Adolescent Health Center.

Because he proved himself as a dependable employee, friend Krissi Geary said Johnson was able to interview numerous celebrities including recording artist Prince, former-wrestler-turned-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon.

After graduating from his high school in 2000, Johnson was admitted to SIUC and wrote for the Southern Illinoisan sports desk. He later worked as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Daily Egyptian in 2001 and 2002.

High school friend and current SIUC student James Justin Davis said Johnson was a very giving person who was always willing to his friends.

Friend Matt Brennan, who met Johnson while the two were residents at Kellogg Hall, said Johnson was a passionate person who affected many lives during his time on earth.

“Everybody I talked to have to,” Brennan said, “has been able to pull something from knowing [Johnson].”