Jackiel E. Irwin-Diehl, a junior at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, died on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, after he was struck by a car on Lincoln Drive. He was 17.
He was born on Aug. 1, 2002, in Philadelphia. He was adopted as a baby by Nathan and Rebecca Irwin-Diehl and grew up in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. His family said he was a natural athlete, gifted dancer and exceptional drummer.
“He was full of life,” said his father, Nathan Irwin-Diehl. “He was full of energy. He had a really good heart. He was often trying to find ways to be generous to others.”
Irwin-Diehl majored in dance at Kensington CAPA and aspired to join the school baseball team. He attended Second Baptist Church of Germantown, where he was active on the audiovisual team and occasionally played the drums. When he was younger, he sang on the Youth Choir.
“He was an extreme extrovert who never met a stranger,” his mother, Rebecca Irwin-Diehl said in a tribute.
“His beguiling smile and effervescent charisma won him friends and admirers effortlessly. He was a consummate performer, whether dancing on stage, playing on a field, entertaining friends or fabricating a story to evade consequences for his impulsive actions.”
Irwin-Diehl struggled throughout his life with behavioral and emotional mental health issues. After spending 10 months in residential treatment, he returned home in September 2019. Irwin-Diehl made significant progress in terms of relating to his family and had improved his grades in school.
“He was a complicated young man, but he brought so much joy into our lives,” his father said.
“We were very proud of the work that he had done recently.”
In addition to his parents, he is survived by: his brothers, Christopher and Ryan, and other relatives and friends.
A candlelight vigil will be held Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, 1901 N. Front St.
A memorial service will be held Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. at the Second Baptist Church of Germantown, 6459 Germantown Ave.
Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home handled the arrangements.