Donald Imm

1960 - October 1st, 2021

Biography


The family of Dr. Donald W. Imm, 61, is saddened to announce his passing on October 1, 2021 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN.  He was born to Eileen “Joyce” Imm (Wilson) and William H. Imm.  Don grew up in Sinclairville, NY, where his days were spent exploring and growing a love for the outdoors.  After graduating from Cassadaga Valley High School in 1978, he served in the Navy as a Sonar Technician.  He received a B.S. in Biology from SUNY Fredonia and earned a PhD in Ecology from the University of Georgia in 1991.


Don had a long career in conservation and served in multiple leadership positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Most recently, he became the Deputy Assistant Regional Director for Gulf Restoration after serving as the Georgia State Supervisor of Ecological Services.  He loved contributing to the advancement of our understanding of the natural world through research and had many successes in the recovery of imperiled species and preservation of rare habitats.  He was highly respected by his colleagues for his intelligence, knowledge, and approachability, becoming a mentor to many.


Don was a loving husband, father, and grandfather with a unique sense of humor.  He lived with his wife, Gayle, in Athens, GA with their two beloved dogs, Madison and Ivy.  Don enjoyed playing Strat-O-Matic, exploring natural areas, feeding the deer that would roam the yard in the afternoons, and using his creativity in the kitchen to prepare delicious meals.  Many cherished memories were made with his 3 grandsons, who he was so excited to have after having 3 daughters.  He loved sharing with them his amazing imagination and passion for science, and was very much still a child at heart.


Don’s positivity and courage in extremely difficult circumstances is an inspiration.  His optimism was contagious and his sense of humor made him a true joy to be around.  Left to remember his love are Don’s wife, Gayle Martin; his daughters, Sarah (Nick) Messer, Sydney (Frank Miller) Imm, and Kelsey Imm; his three adored grandsons, Mason, Jack, and Walker; his father, William (Virginia) Imm; his mother, Joyce Imm; a brother, Ken (Karen) Imm; a stepbrother, Andy (Tammy) Kincaid; and 6 nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his twin sister, Debra.


The family will honor Don at a private gathering in NY.  A celebration of his life will be held at a later date and announced on this website.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to establish a memorial (e.g., plant, small sign, bench) for Don at the UGA Botanical Gardens in Athens, GA.  He loved visiting the gardens with his family and supporting native plant conservation through his position as State Supervisor of Ecological Services.  In addition to the memorial, proceeds will continue to support plant conservation efforts.  Link to donation website is below.  


Another way to honor Don is to contribute to your local humane society.  Don loved animals, especially dogs, and through your donation they can be supported until finding a forever home.

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Family

About

Name Donald Imm
Date of Birth 1960
Date of Death October 1st, 2021
Home Town Sinclairville, NY, US 
Other City Athens, GA, US 
Interests Dogs, Football, Strat-O-Matic, Rare Plants, Family, Cooking
Favourite Saying "Take a chance, poop your pants." (Don never lost his sense of humor.)
In Memoriam Donation Memorial Donation Website to Honor Don at UGA Botanical Garden
Family

Family

SpouseGayle Martin
ChildrenSydney Imm, Sarah Messer, Kelsey Imm
Milestone

Milestones

1986 - 1991 UGA, PhD
2009 - 2014 Project Leader, Panama City Ecological Services Office, USFWS
2014 - 2021 Field Supervisor, GA Ecological Services Office, USFWS
2021 Deputy ARD Gulf Restoration, USFWS

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Tributes



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Carrie Radcliffe published a tribute .

Don was, as everyone knows, an incredible supporter for rare species conservation & management - he will be greatly missed by his colleagues at Atlanta Botanical Garden & the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance.

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Steve Friedman published a tribute .

Don was one of the best. So positive, loved to conserve land. He was every bit a part of DNR as we all feel we are a part of FWS. Don always wanted to get things done, figure out ways to accomplish our goals, always willing to talk. I will miss him so much. Within the conservation world, Don has left a lasting legacy.

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Faith Bentley published a tribute .

Tribute posted by USFWS.

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Victoria Foster published a tribute .

I had the pleasure of working with Don for years and he always had a way of brightening any meeting or space he was in with his open, warm nature and wonderful sense of humor. He did so much for conservation, and he did it all while making folks smile. He will be terribly missed and I'm grateful I had the chance to get to know him.
Sending prayers for comfort and peace to Gayle and his family.

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Patty Kelly published a tribute .

Don was our deputy and later, project leader over the Panama City field office for a few years. It seemed almost daily he would plop down in my spare office chair with new ideas that he stewed on over-night. I always appreciated that he thought about our mission always. He was quick with kind words (and joking words) for folks having rough life moments. He was a kind man and I will miss chatting with him on occasion when trying to talk to Gayle over Teams!! He made a mark on conservation and on people.

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Nicole Adimey published a comment .

The first time I met Don he was drinking around a bonfire for a statewide FL-FWS meeting. He had me laughing from the start and wondering who this clown was...it was only later that I found out he was in charge of the Panama City Field Office. What an amazing person, full of life, incredible kindness, wicked smart and always the peace-keeper. He will be greatly missed.

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Sydney Imm published a tribute .

Dad sent us this picture a while back. He said he would be running for Congress, and this was his campaign poster. Still makes me laugh every time I see it, so I wanted to share :)

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Faith Bentley published a comment .

He was always making us laugh whenever we called Gayle. We'll miss him terribly.

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Gayle Martin published a comment .

This is perfect.

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Randy Carlson published a tribute .

I went to high school with Don. He was always that guy with a great attitude and always happy go lucky. My funniest memory, and I still laugh today when I think about it is, we were in the same drivers education class. Well, thinking that Don had grown up on a farm that he would certainly know how to drive a car. Farthest from the truth, Don couldn’t drive a lick. Two other classmates, John DeAngelo, Jeff Baumgartner and myself could not hold our composure as Don would run through stop signs continuously be in wrong lane and turning right on red lights. This was 1978, there was no right on red at the time but maybe Don knew it was coming, in about 10 more years! Although as things happen, we lost track of each other after high school but I will always remember Don as very kind and very funny. So sorry to hear of his passing, prayers to the family.

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Gayle Martin published a comment .

Great story, thank you for sharing!

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Faith Bentley published a tribute .

The loss of Don is heartbreaking for all of us who knew and loved him. We will miss him terribly.

The UGA State Botanical Garden is a beautiful and special place he was quite fond of, which he contributed to, and visited frequently. Don and Gayle introduced us to the splendor of the gardens when we first visited them in Athens, in 2014. It is where Don and Gayle chose to get married just this year.

Knowing that there is something to honor Don's memory, nearby his home in Athens, GA, will be of comfort to all of us who will miss him.

https://givebutter.com/jn1HaA

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Faith Bentley published a tribute .

I don't think I truly appreciated how Don was always able to make us laugh in trying situations. I realize it was just in his nature. Here Don is, sitting in the pouring rain with his brother-in-law, while trying to hike up to Mt. LeConte. He's laughing while many of us were annoyed by having to keep stopping because of the lightning and down-pouring rain. Even further testament to his good nature is the fact that the tour guides lost Don's reservation and tried to prevent him from going up the mountain with the rest of us, after he traveled all the way from PCB, FL to Knoxvillle, TN. The tour guides finally located his paid reservation after much kerfluffle, when they turned the itinerary page over. I was more annoyed than Don was. He laughed it off, as he is here in the photo. He even looks like a joyful kid here, which shows that he was still very much a kid at-heart. ❤️

I want to keep sharing good memories because I don't want this to be true. Please keep his memory alive and let his kind spirit shine on.

Please help the family by sharing any or all of your fond memories here, so that they can find solace in all of the good he brought into this world, and all of the genuine smiles he elicited.

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Alice Lawrence published a tribute .

Don was incredibly supportive of his staff's career development- I owe him so much. I feel very lucky to have had such a kind, approachable, supportive supervisor. The Athens office is going to miss him terribly and we are keeping the entire family in our thoughts.

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Jeff Powell published a comment .

Sydney, Sarah, and Kelsey, I work for the FWS in Alabama and first met your Dad when he moved to Panama City. Your Dad was a special man and truly a joy, and hoot, to be around. I’m am so sorry for your loss. Prayers of peace for you and your family.

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Jodi Slater published a tribute .

I met Don when he worked at the Savannah River Site while I was doing my graduate work there. He was a wonderful mentor, a good friend, and a phenomenal resource. I was greatly saddened to hear of his passing. I know he touched the hearts and minds of many during his life and will be greatly missed by all. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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Jack Anderson published a tribute .

Don was my closest friend in high school, and Don moved into my college apartment for a while after graduation. We created many memories together. I was with Don when he met his first wife.
Don could always make you laugh. He always was happy.
Don will always have a special place in my heart.
I always called him Immer.

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Gail Martinez published a tribute .

Don was my supervisor when I worked for Georgia ES office. He was a great supervisor and mentor, I always thought that he must be an amazing Dad! He always cared more about his employee's job satisfaction and did whatever he could to help employees grow in their profession. I was so saddened to hear of Don's illness and his passing. He was an amazing voice for all species and always went out of his way to make sure he advocated for conservation. He never seemed to let politics or conflicts get in his way and I think his easy way and sense of humor helped him to win over many people along the way. I hope his wife and family find the strength and peace they need in order to get through this time. Rest easy Don!

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Catherine Phillips published a tribute .

A few weeks after I got to Panama City, Don made sure that we had an opportunity to "check out the resource." It was the first of many excursions. . .

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Sydney Imm published a comment .

This is a great picture of him!! Thank you so much for sharing

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Matt Elliott published a tribute .

Don was a terrific guy and a real champion of conservation here in Georgia. He worked with us in DNR on so many projects and many of most outstanding accomplishments - especially land conservation - would not have happened without him. He was one of the best and we will really miss him. I always loved seeing him at a meeting because I knew he would both bring humor to it and help to keep everyone on track.

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Erin Rivenbark published a tribute .

Don and I met nearly 20 years ago while he was working for the U.S. Forest Service on Savannah River Site. Together we picked out a compartment to reintroduce gopher tortoise to the site. In the intervening years he has become a close friend and mentor to me. He was always ready to discuss ideas and share stories. It has meant more to me than I can say and I will miss him tremendously. My heart and thoughts are with Gayle and all of his family in this very difficult time.

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Matt Elliott published a comment .

Don was a terrific guy and a real champion of conservation here in Georgia. He worked with us in DNR on so many projects and many of most outstanding accomplishments - especially land conservation - would not have happened without him. He was one of the best and we will really miss him. I always loved seeing him at a meeting because I knew he would both bring humor to it and help to keep everyone on track.

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Kaye London published a tribute .

Don had a warmth that emanated. Even before I knew who he was, I could sense his kind nature. I always sat near Don when I had the chance because when he spoke, he always had something meaningful to say.... or something hilarious. He made the world smile and he will certainly be missed. He left us too soon, but he has left behind a legacy within his FWS family and will always be remembered.

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Dan Tonsmeire published a tribute .

I worked with Don on Apalachicola River issues during both his time in Panama City and Athens. Aside from his congenial and sincere manner, it became clear to me he was very serious about doing his job of protecting the natural resources of the Apalachicola, which he recognized as a unique and special place. When I read his reply that his office submitted for the Service in response to the Corps of Engineers’ EIS for its Revised Water Control Manual , I felt like I had witnessed a miracle. He and his staff had so clearly presented an open, honest, clear and concise, not to mention correct, assessment of a half hearted and wholly inadequate attempt by the Corps to pretend it had evaluated the environment and resource impacts to the Apalachicola Ecosystem. Don was a true champion for those ecosystems and natural resources that we hold dear and that are so important to us as humans. To me He will always be that leader that used every asset to protect us and our world from those that would spoil it. Thank you Don Imm for your inspiration, leadership, and vision.

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Sean Blomquist published a tribute .

My fondest memories of Don were him flexing his ability to lighten the mood with humor. He always seemed to have a sense of the right thing to say when I and others were having a rough spell. He was certainly a mentor for me on ACF basin and Panama City Field Office issues at work, but I especially appreciated his sage advice as a new girl dad. I'll miss you, Don.

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Tamara published a tribute .

Thanks, Don, for being an amazing supervisor and mentor. I always appreciated that you advocated for me, my projects, and my potential. I also appreciated your warm kind energy. Sorry about that time that I made us do a day trip from Athens to Savannah without stopping either way. You were wonderful and will be missed.

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Private Memorial Service

November 25th, 2021 at 12:00am
Sinclairville
Sinclairville, NY
Event Details & RSVP

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