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A mother remembers her son

By Sheila Galat
On January 30, 2013

Josiah Galat died Dec. 19 after an on-campus stabbing, just a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday. We reached out to his mother, Sheila Galat, and she sent us some personal thoughts about her son to share with the UT community.

First, I want to say that Josiah knew that his family of mom, dad, and three brothers (one older and two younger) loved him very much. We all also knew that Josiah loved us, and for that, we are so thankful.

About a year ago when we were talking about what his career would be, he said he only wanted to make old people and children laugh. Josiah volunteered at his home church to be a mentor for children with disabilities in a classroom during the service.

He also volunteered at his high school in the handicapped class.

If someone was in trouble or being teased, Josiah tried to talk to the person causing the problem and reason with them. He did this once when one of his brothers was getting bothered on Facebook. Josiah took it upon himself to message the other kid and told him to stop doing it; he then continued on by getting to know the boy and making a friendship. It worked. I admire that part in him of being a peace maker.

Josiah loved rugby, which he played for Ashland University his freshman and sophomore year and then for the Toledo Celtics this fall season at the University of Toledo.

Once the 2012 season started, he put on his Facebook status that he was in a relationship. That relationship was with rugby. He just loved the people and the sport.

Josiah absolutely loved swimming and diving. At AU, he was on the swim and dive team his freshman and sophomore years. If I remember correctly, his sophomore year he was one spot away from going to nationals for diving. He was also the dive coach for a Mansfield local summer swim and dive team for the past couple years; his kids have been writing and telling us how much he meant to them and how fun he made the sport.

Josiah was inspiring! One year at church camp, he participated in a triathlon where one person swam a quarter mile, one person biked eight miles and one person ran two miles. On the way back home, he told us that the next year, he was going to do something new, ­ he would do the whole race on his own. He never trained, but sure enough to his word, he did it that next year. On top of that, Josiah did his running in bare feet. The next year, he and one of his brothers both did it.

Josiah loved hanging out with his friends and watching movies, but he also loved to read. He read all “The Lord of the Rings” books at age 10. On the Sunday before he died, he got his wish of watching “The Hobbit” with his family. He was disappointed that it was to be continued!

Josiah always had a smile on his face. He would call his family in if he found something hilarious that he thought we should watch. Many times he would rewind a scene just because he thought something was funny and he wanted to laugh again.

Josiah was an entertaining actor; he starred in “A Christmas Story” in his home town theater.

Later, during high school, he shared acting with a group from youth group who did mini comedy bits and shared them during church for upcoming youth group events and for YouTube fun.

During the song “I Am Free” by Newsboys, Josiah enjoyed screaming “Free!” and running around as the youth group band performed.

Josiah also enjoyed writing poetry, and had thoughts of writing a fictional book. Here is a poem he wrote in 2009:

“I’m falling now

But my feet have already hit the ground.

Lord, You know what’s going to happen

There’s not a single breath I take

without You already knowing I’d take it.

So I’ll trust You

And lean not on my own understanding

For the things You have planned for me

...Are far different than my own.

And so much greater

So I’ll lose my life

To keep one with You”


On Facebook the day he died, he wrote “For my 21st birthday I just want to share a beer with Jesus.” His 21st was Jan. 2. He loved the Lord and always sought out all the information he could get.

At AU, Josiah majored in special education teaching and minored in math and philosophy. After his sophomore year, he changed his major to mechanical engineering. Since AU did not have the mechanical engineering program he needed, Josiah transferred to UT. After graduating college, he wanted to make it through officer training school so he could be a Marine.

We miss this sweet young man very much. Josiah was so special and unique; nobody can ever fill his shoes. He never ended a conversation with his parents without saying “I love you.” We love him!

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