Windham's death is an extraordinary loss for his family, but also for his students—who considered him family, too.
There's no question that Dr. Windham made students grow at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. When he died of cancer, his students brought flowers, made a billboard and poured out their hearts on social media, using the hashtag #iamJosephWindham.
One student went from jail to NOVA, and on to an Ivy League school to earn his degree.
I had a lot of trouble telling the difference in whether we were in a classroom, or whether we were a family sitting down having dinner," said Kevin Baisden, one of Windham's students.
Windham was a proud husband with a family of his own, but his students say he treated them like family, too. One student said when he smiled at you, you knew it was genuine.
He taught history, but his students didn't just learn the subject matter. Joe Windham taught them life.
"Dr. Windham showed me that there's no fear in being educated and being African American, and being able to lead others," said Baisden.
Colleagues say when Windham was ill, one of his chief concerns was that he would never return to a classroom. Rachel Martin told him that for once, he was wrong. Instead, she told him, every time she walked into a classroom, he would be there.
A scholarship has been created in Windham's name. If you'd like to make a donation, click here and select Joseph Windham Memorial Scholarship from the drop down menu.