The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Remembering Eastern student James ‘JR’ Desco

Liam Underwood
James ‘JR’ Desco, Dead at age 24, Former student at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston Ill

Kind, compassionate, generous. Those are just a few ways friends and family would describe James Robert Desco, or as he was better known, JR.

Born Dec. 19, 1998, Desco spent most of his youth in Brookfield doing what any child would do: hang out with his cousins.

His aunt, Audrey Hanson, described him and his cousins as very close.

“He loved his cousins a lot,” she said. “He always looked after them and always wanted to make sure they were happy.”

As Desco grew older, he began to become more involved in his community. He joined cub scouts and boy scouts. He became very involved with youth sports at the park district. He would referee or coach various sports teams just because of his love of working with children.

His cousin, Michael Hanson, said, “It seems like every time I was over at their house, he was either running in or running out or in the middle of a coaching event.”

After Desco graduated high school, he would go on to attend and graduate from College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn with his associates degree.

He transferred to Eastern in hopes of obtaining his fire science degree.

“He knew you just go right out of high school to a fire academy,” Michael Hanson said. “He wanted to do a little bit more than that. He wanted to do arson investigation or even be a fire chief.”

One of the first people he met on campus was junior secondary English education major Gavin Swierk.

Swierk said while his mother was trying to get him to say hello to people, she saw Desco in the hallway and introduced her son.

After that, Swierk said, “[Desco] said hello and then just went in his room and hid. It took me like another two  weeks to get to know him. We actually found out we went to the same elementary school.”

After coincidentally attending the same college, they would both coincidentally attend the same rush event for fraternity Phi Kappa Theta and join in the 2021-2022 school year.

Members of Phi Kappa Theta described Desco as a goofy and fun guy that knew how to bring out the fun in other people while still being compassionate and caring.

“He was the most kindhearted person; he just wanted everyone to be happy,” Phi Kappa Theta member Juan Avila said. “He would put your stuff over his stuff, even if his stuff needed more priority.”

Although Desco’s life was shortened, he is remembered by friends, family and loved ones as a kindhearted, loving individual.


Anna Hagan can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Anna Hagan, Reporter
Anna Hagan is a public affairs major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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