CARLINVILLE, IL (KTVI) – An Illinois college is mourning the loss of one of its students. Twenty four year-old Josh Ramza was found dead in his Blackburn College dorm room over the weekend.
There are only 550 students at Blackburn, and most of them knew Josh. He was a well-liked fifth year senior on the soccer team. That’s where he met his best friend, Aaron Guzman-Wood.
For Aaron, the loss is surreal. He and Josh spoke nearly every day, and he was supposed to be the best man in Aaron’s upcoming wedding. Josh’s best friend says, “My heart just went down to my stomach, and ever since then I just haven’t been the same, because I just feel like a piece of me has gone.”
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Those who knew Josh says the Romeoville, IL native was outgoing and hard-working. He worked two jobs, and wanted to be a probation officer when he graduated. “It’s always harder to lose a young person,” laments Mim Pride, President of Blackburn College. She has never had a student die on campus in her 24 years at the school.
Dean of Students Heidi Heinz adds, “Somber, I think is pretty much the mood around campus, that’s the best way to describe it.”
For many, the hardest part is the lack of closure, since his death remains unexplained. Foul play isn’t suspected, and the toxicology report could take days to complete. Aaron explains, “Not knowing is the worst feeling. You have to hold onto your friends every moment in every aspect because one minute they’re there, one minute they’re gone, and it’s so hard.”
In the meantime, students are trying to stay positive, looking for ways to keep Josh’s memory alive. Pride says, “The students are busily thinking about what they want to do to celebrate his life. Everything from a rock with his name on it out on the soccer field to a memorial soccer game, to a formal service of remembrance.”
In addition, Josh’s friends plan to hold a soccer fundraiser in the near future to help his family pay for funeral arrangements. Josh is survived by his parents and an older brother.