Ethan Roser, a freshman transfer student and member of the soccer team, will be dearly missed by the Wheaton community and all who knew him. Around 4:15 p.m. last Saturday, Ethan was accidentally struck by a hammer at the track and field meet.
Although Ethan had just transferred to Wheaton in January, he quickly became involved on campus with the soccer team and his floor in Fischer Hall, 4 East, and in ministry with Young Life. His RA, Titus Payne, said that no one on his floor is unaffected by Ethan: “Though he had varying degrees of connection with other men of the floor, we all encountered him in our lives at some point and really feel that he is one of our own. He has a tight inner circle of friends on 4 East, a very passionate evangelism ministry with Young Life, and a strong connection with the soccer team here. His presence was felt a lot of places on campus and he was so well connected in great friendships here on 4 East, you couldn’t tell that he had just transferred in only this January.”
Senior Josh Greene, captain of the soccer team, said of Ethan: “He spent so much of his free time pouring into others, selflessly giving and reaching the unreached. God will redeem Ethan’s death, and I believe he will move in incredible ways, according to his will. We miss Ethan so much. He was loved dearly by his brothers on the soccer team, and I am honored to have served him as a captain, even if only for 15 weeks.”
Much of this selfless giving was done in the Young Life group of Glenbard West High School where Ethan was a leader. Further displaying his charismatic and selfless attitude, Ethan was able to organize a Campaigners group of freshman boys from the ground up in a little over four weeks — a feat that typically takes at least a year.
Ethan also left a lasting impact on his friends and teammates at Dallas Baptist University, where he spent the first semester of his freshman year and played on the soccer team before transferring to Wheaton. “His kind-hearted spirit radiated in all that he did,” said freshman Maggie Scales, a friend of Ethan’s who plays on the women’s soccer team at DBU. “Also, he had one-of-a-kind jokes and never failed to make those around him smile.” “He was really funny and always came up with crazy jokes,” remembered freshman Audrey Johnson, who also plays soccer and served as a Young Life leader with Ethan. “I will remember this movie that he made with his teammate and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”
One of Ethan’s teammates at DBU, freshman Billy Burford, said that his favorite memory of Ethan was “going down to the hot tub with him at 2 o’clock in the morning to study for our Old Testament class.” Ethan was “the most God loving person I have ever met,” Burford said.
This semester Ethan took Dr. Jerry Root’s Foundations of Ministry and Evangelism classes because he wanted to be a minister. “He loved Jesus with intensity,” Dr. Root said. “He not only loved him, he loved telling people about him. And every week he was going out, sharing his faith. Sometimes he would take buddies in the dorm with him, stuff like that.”
Dr. Root shared that one of Ethan’s best qualities was his persistence. When Ethan first applied to Wheaton, he did not get in right away. So, he kept calling the college to check to see if there was an opening; sometimes students transfer or realize they want to be closer to home midway through the semester. There was an opening for spring 2017, so Ethan transferred in.
The Roser family came to the second service in Pierce Chapel on Sunday evening. “We know he’s with Jesus,” Ethan’s father, Rev. Mark Roser told The Chicago Tribune. “And the fact that he’s in paradise is a great source of comfort to us.”
Ethan was from Cincinnati, Ohio and is survived by his parents Pat and Rev. Mark and three older siblings, Nathan, Jonathan and Elisha.