NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Joseph “Joe” Gauthier, 24, a military chaplain candidate, ordained minister and student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, died March 1 after he collapsed while jogging on the seminary campus. He was a second lieutenant in the Louisiana Army National Guard.
Shortly after his collapse, Gauthier was taken by ambulance to University Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been determined.
Originally from Grant Parish, La., Gauthier came to NOBTS to study in the master of divinity program with emphasis in pastoral care. He is survived by his wife Nina. The couple had been married less than a year.
Announcing the tragic news to the seminary family during the first day of campus revival March 2, NOBTS President Chuck Kelley called on the seminary community to pray for and support the family during this time of grief.
“We want to pray for his family — his sweet wife Nina and both of their families. Their families are here now, having to sort through terrible sadness and great, great loss,” Kelley said.
In an earlier e-mail to the seminary family, Kelley wrote, “We all grieve with Nina and their families and friends. It is time for all of us to get up under this load of sorrow and walk along with them.”
Gauthier was making his second lap of the campus with fellow chaplaincy candidate Conrad Meadows when he collapsed near the back of campus. Efforts to save Gauthier’s life began immediately as students notified the NOBTS campus police and emergency medical responders.
When NOBTS campus patrolman John Rushing arrived on the scene, Gauthier was not breathing. Rushing began performing CPR assisted by several students.
Two student wives, both registered nurses, also arrived on the scene shortly after the incident and assisted with the CPR process. Other students and faculty members who came upon the scene prayed with bystanders and helped direct traffic as EMTs tried to revive Gauthier.
Fellow students, professors and staff members continue to minister to Nina and other members of the Gauthier family who have come to New Orleans. Seminary officials brought food to the family early on March 2, and seminary leaders are gathering financial assistance for Nina in this difficult time.
Hixson Brothers Funeral Home in Pineville, La., will handle the funeral arrangements. The date and time of the service was not available at press time.
Reported by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary communications staff. For the next two weeks, all money given to the NOBTS “Special Emergency Aid Fund” will be used to assist the family, in care of the NOBTS Office for Institutional Advancement, 3939 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70126.