KENNESAW, Ga. - Kennesaw State track and field freshman student-athlete Jonathan Garner died of unknown causes on Friday, Dec. 21. He was 18.
"I heard someone talk not long ago about how we give nicknames to those we love. We affectionately called Jonathan, Lil' Johnny, but there was nothing little about him," Kennesaw State track and field head coach Andy Eggerth said. "Jonathan had a big heart, he ran big, and he had big things in store for him."
In one meet for the Owls, Garner placed 12th and 13th in the 60-meter dash and as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team at the BSC Panther Indoor Icebreaker on Dec. 1 in Birmingham, Ala.
"In my short time with Jonathan I developed a great relationship with him where I could be honest and give him a kick in the butt when needed, but then turn right around and put my arm around his shoulder and crack a joke with him. Lil' Johnny will be deeply missed, but never forgotten," Eggerth said.
Garner was a four-year track standout at Roswell high school. He also competed as a junior Olympian, earning All-America honors in the 4x100 meter relay.
Born in Chicago, Ill., and a resident of Roswell, Ga., Garner is survived by his father, Michael, mother, Karon, and younger sister, Taylor (15).
Funeral services for Garner will be held at the Truelight Missionary Baptist Church at 1325 Truelight Road, Walnut Grove, Miss. on Thursday, Dec. 27th at 11 a.m.
The Kennesaw State University Athletic Association (KSUAA) is working with Garner's family to hold an on-campus memorial service in his honor. Details are still in the planning stages and will be released when finalized.