The Marquette University High School community is mourning the loss of two of its own.Greg Von Rueden

Dan Karasch, director of counseling, has been at the school for 25 years, but last week was a first for him.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Andrew Boldt, a 2010 Marquette graduate and Purdue University engineering senior, was shot and killed on the Purdue campus. The next morning, Greg Von Rueden, a Marquette sophomore who has been battling bone cancer for nearly 19 months, passed away.

“I’ve never seen this,” he said. “Having two deaths, one alum and a current student, within a 24-hour period.”

Although they never attended the school at the same time, they are part of the Marquette family, he said.

“They’re brothers of Marquette University High School,” Karasch said. “In a sense it’s that connection and the community here. It’s how we try to look at each other, that we’re a community … for the students, it’s a sense of brotherhood and caring for one another.”

Andrew and Greg each have two brothers: one who graduated from MUHS and one who is a current student.


    A funeral Mass for Greg Von Rueden will be celebrated Thursday, Jan. 30 at 5 p.m., at Holy Apostles Parish, 16000 W. National Ave., New Berlin, Wis. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent in Greg’s name to: Holy Apostles School, New Berlin, or Marquette University High School, Milwaukee. 

     Services for Andrew Boldt were held
on Tuesday, Jan. 28. 
In lieu of flowers the family is suggesting memorial donations: The Andrew F. Boldt Memorial Scholarship Fund, Marquette University High School, St. Frances Cabrini Parish in the care of St. Frances Cabrini Parish, West Bend.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, an all-school Mass was celebrated for the two young men.

Karasch said it was “community bonding experience” and a “faith building” Mass.

“It was emotional,” he described. “There was some extended family here from both Greg and Andrew’s families. We had, obviously, all the students, faculty, staff, administration, some parents and alumni … it was a very meaningful, powerful and emotional Mass of healing.”

A loss of this size has a large impact on teenagers.

“Adolescents have a sense of invincibility and this certainly shakes that sense of invincibility that they possess,” Karasch said. “The boys really support themselves…. They console each other, they support each other.

It is a real community and you certainly feel the brotherhood that exists.”

After the two announcements, the chapel at Marquette was open all day and the counselors made themselves available.

“We had a lot of students that came into that chapel and prayed,” Karasch said. “Teenagers as a whole, in their grieving, they do seek each other out.”

Karasch said he was close to the Boldt family because he coached Erich, the oldest brother, in junior varsity tennis.
Andrew Boldt (Photo by Visual Image Photography, submitted courtesy Marquette University High School)

He said he spoke to his former player and gave him words of consolation.

Describing the Boldt family as gracious and caring, he said, “If I needed assistance they would offer. We don’t have buses to drive our teams, so we need the parents to drive the kids. Freshman and sophomores can’t drive themselves, typically. They would always offer to drive the kids to the matches.”

Karasch knows there isn’t much he can do to lessen the pain for these families.

“Our hearts go out to the families because there is no way to describe what they have to deal with,” Karasch said.

The news of Andrew’s death had a huge impact on St. Frances Cabrini Parish, West Bend, where the family members are parishioners.

“You hear about things like this on the news all the time in far away distant towns but then when it’s yours, you realize in a moment how horrifying it is,” Fr. Nathan Reesman, pastor, said.

This type of situation can create a feeling of helplessness within a community, said Fr. Reesman who said the most immediate reaction is what to “do” but instead should be more of where should we “be.”

“As in, be with each other and be with (the family),” he said. “Not a lot of time for words … what we can do is pray.”

The community set up the Andrew F. Boldt Memorial Scholarship Fund to assist eighth-grade students from Washington County going to either Marquette or Divine Savior Holy Angels high schools with tuition.

“It came about within hours of the whole news hitting us,” Fr. Reesman said. He added the idea came from individuals and families with connections to either school. “He benefited a lot at his time at Marquette.”

Fr. Reesman said he’s focused on helping the community get through this tough time.

“Looking for quick answer right now is really not helpful. Understanding comes a long time with God’s grace,” he said. Things like this make anyone question, why…. From all accounts, Andrew was just a stellar person.”

For the Von Rueden family, Greg’s struggle began in June 2012, and from the beginning the Marquette and Holy Apostles, New Berlin, communities have supported the family.

“There is a great effort to rally around them as there has been from the day his cancer was identified after his (eighth- grade) graduation,” Fr. Don Thimm said. “It is very sobering news when a young person dies from cancer.”

Greg was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer not uncommon in teenage boys. A network of support kicked into action raising awareness about his situation and raised funds to help pay for treatment.

Through various activities like merchandise sales, a 5-kilometer run, tailgate at a Milwaukee Brewer game, and online contributions through a campaigns on and, members of the community have invested deeply in his cause.

“He’s had a very powerful presence in our community,” Fr. Thimm said. “I don’t think there will be a quick forgottenness about Greg at all.”

Fr. Thimm said he and newly assigned associate pastor Fr. Arul Ponnaiyan spent a lot of time with the Von Rueden family, including in the hours after his death. He said the family has been surprised with the amount of support they’ve received.

“They’ve been humbled, grateful and inspired and overwhelmed,” he said. “I’ve listened to their words, those are the words I hear from them.”

Greg’s two brothers, Bobby and Jake, spent much time organizing the student bodies at Marquette and DSHA for him.

“They’ve been faithfully strong partners in the journey with Greg,” Fr. Thimm said. “From bringing Communion to being with him, walking with him, whatever. I guess they’ve just been by his side … they were right with Greg all the way through.”