O'BRIEN: Senior's death hits Culver-Stockton campus hard

Posted: Apr. 26, 2014 12:01 am Updated: Jul. 19, 2014 12:15 am

Like many Chicago Blackhawks fans, Culver-Stockton College senior Anton Kozelichki went to Twitter last Saturday afternoon to talk about the team's big playoff game with the St. Louis Blues.

Every so often throughout the game, Kozelichki chimed in with his thoughts about what was going on, mainly celebrating big plays by his favorite National Hockey League team that were playing its most bitter rival.

His tweets took on a different tone on Sunday.

"Just had the weirdest seizure of my life," Kozelichki tweeted. "The twitching I had in my thumb a few weeks ago has been declared a seizure. I started having a seizure starting from my eyebrows around my head."

For Kozelichki, seizures were normal. The Alexis, Ill., native had epilepsy and had been dealing with the seizures for 10 years. Nothing about his tweets appeared alarming. He tweeted about being at OSF St. Mary's in Galesburg on Sunday night before he was transferred to St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. The 21-year-old Kozelichki died Thursday of natural causes at St. Francis. His passing hit the tight-knit Culver-Stockton College campus in Canton, Mo., hard.

"It was very somber," Culver-Stockton College Athletic Director Greg McVey said. "I learned about (his death) through Twitter. It's a very sad thing to see and hear. It started to rain and rained all day, and that described everyone's mood. A lot of people were shocked. You could tell (Kozelichki's death) had a direct impact on a lot of staff and a lot of students and faculty."

Kozelichki was an important part of everyday life at C-SC. As much as he loved his Chicago sports teams, Kozelichki was a Wildcat through and through. After playing football at United High School in Monmouth, Kozelichki played football for a year at C-SC before his health forced him to hang up his shoulder pads. He stayed involved in the sport by volunteering to do play-by-play work on the team's game on the campus radio station, KCSW.

Tyler Tomlinson, a C-SC communications professor who oversees students who work for the campus station, said Kozelichki was a bit of a super fan for C-SC athletics. He was wild about the school's basketball teams, sometimes hitting the road to watch them play.

"He didn't get paid or get a grade to be our play-by-play guy," he said. "The best thing we could do is reimburse him for gas when he went to road games. It was just him enjoying Culver athletics when he called the football games."

Kozelichki's love of Culver sports didn't stop at football and basketball. He took in a lot of sports, even going to far as travelling to Monmouth College once to watch the school's soccer teams play.

"For a small school, it's rare for a student to show that much support," Tomlinson, the women's soccer coach at C-SC, said.

Students spent much of Thursday expressing their remorse over his passing by using "#RIPAnton" with many of their posts on Twitter. A prayer service was held on campus Thursday night, and a memorial service is planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Charles Fieldhouse. Kozelichki's family is expected to attend the memorial.

"Anton was just a guy you liked being around," McVey said.


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