Death of Romeoville student Josh Ramza stuns small college
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org January 23, 2013 12:30PM
Josh Ramza. Photo courtesy of Blackburn College.
Updated: February 25, 2013 12:38PM
The loss of a student from Romeoville who was found dead his dorm room last weekend has rocked the small Central Illinois campus of Blackburn College.
Josh Ramza, 24, was pronounced dead in his Butler Hall dorm room Saturday afternoon. His body was discovered by dorm staff after one of Ramza’s friends said he hadn’t seen Ramza in a while and was concerned, said Peter Oswald, a spokesman for the college.
The cause of Ramza’s death remains a mystery, as an autopsy was inconclusive, Macoupin County Coroner Brad Targhetta said. He anticipates receiving toxicology results sometime in the next 45 days.
Ramza was a standout soccer player at Bolingbrook High School who also played soccer at Blackburn and dreamt of playing professionally, said his mother, Janet Meininger.
“That was his life. Everything he did was soccer,” Meininger said.
Her son had no known medical issues, but had been fighting the flu for about two weeks before his death, Meininger said.
“I kept pleading with him to go to the doctor. On (Jan. 14) he said he’d been feeling better,” she said, adding that was the last conversation she had with him.
Ramza was a senior, two semesters away from graduating with a double major of psychology and criminal justice.
He wanted to be a probation officer, Meininger said, a decision influenced by the relationship he had with his own probation officer after receiving several tickets for traffic and ordinance violations.
“He was excited,” Meininger said. “It’s just a shock. There are so many unanswered questions.”
The mood on campus this week is “somber,” Oswald said.
“We’re only 550 students, so most students knew Josh, or knew who he was,” Oswald said. “It’s pretty hard in a small campus community.”
Students are planning an on-campus memorial service for Ramza on Monday, and are also pondering a permanent memorial, such as a rock with Ramza’s name carved into it near the school’s soccer fields, Oswald said.
“I’m so in awe,” Meininger said. “My son was very well-loved. It warms my heart. It’s overwhelming.”
Counselors have been available for students, Oswald said, adding that this is the first on-campus death of a student anyone at the school can remember.
“There’s been a lot of expressions of satisfaction with how the students have grouped together to console each other and work through it,” Oswald said. “It’s a pretty tight-knit community here on campus, and it’s been reassuring to see students band together.”
The college plans to provide transportation for students who want to attend a visitation service for Ramza Friday in Naperville.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory, 24021 Royal Worlington Drive.