A former Eastern student who was planning to return soon and who had recently been on campus died unexpectedly last week.
Joshua Gerber, 23, was reportedly found by friends from home last Wednesday morning, April 27. The funeral was held on Saturday.
Those who knew him well describe him as very friendly and generous, someone who always had cool cars and played in intramurals during his time at Eastern.
“He walked in the room, and he lit it up,” said Lindsey Eib, former SGA president who graduated last spring. “He had an amazing heart.”
Shortly after news spread, a group of 15 students painted and signed the Rock on Thomas Drive in Gerber’s memory. Senior Aaron Tainter was one of them.
“He was one of my first friends at Eastern,” Tainter said. “He was always really outgoing, the kind of guy who would do anything for you.”
Gerber took an undeclared major into his junior year at Eastern before leaving in the fall of 2002. Several people said he planned to return here this fall to continue his studies.
Jeff Muntz, who graduated in December, lived with Gerber for some time off campus.
“I think out of everyone at Eastern, Josh was one of the people who really made an effort to keep in touch with everyone,” Muntz said.
“For me, I could always sit and laugh with him about anything,” he said. “We’d crack up about nothing.”
Gerber’s hometown was Berlin, New Jersey. Many of his friends noted Gerber’s relationship with his mother and how he learned his generosity from her.
“He loved his family and showed a lot of hospitality and gentleness,” said recent Eastern graduate Tim Burkhardt.
Gerber had shown up on campus unexpectedly earlier in the week, senior Gavin Peretti said.
That just made the event hit home harder, according to Peretti. “He was a very charismatic guy.”
By all accounts, Gerber’s life and presence will be missed.
“He’d make whatever you were doing better just by being there,” Burkhardt said.