LISA MONAHAN, NEWS 9
ERICK PAYNE, NEWS ON 6
NORMAN, Oklahoma - An OU professor was found dead inside his Norman apartment Tuesday morning, and authorities believe it is because of complications he suffered due to a heat stroke.
Dr. Owen Kulemeka was a public relations assistant professor at OU.
“Friends and colleagues began to worry about him when he had not been seen for several days and had not posted or commented on Facebook as was his custom. When multiple calls went unanswered, Professor Jaime Loke and Gaylord Director of Finance Heather Todd went to check on him at his apartment where he was found the morning of June 30,” according to a statement from Gaylord College.
The students and staff at the Gaylord College of Journalism fondly remembered Dr. Owen Kulemeka after colleagues made the sad discovery Tuesday.
Kulemeka, who was 38 years old, was said to be in good health before his sudden death. His colleagues said they only became worried when Kulemeka did not return phone calls or messages on social media for several days. When they arrived to his apartment they found he had passed away.
A Facebook page has now been created for people to share their memories of Owen: Remembering Owen
"I was just devastated to hear because he was such a lively and wonderful presence every day," said Dr. David Craig, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at the Gaylord College of Journalism.
While everyone is grieving, they are also taking the opportunity to learn more about heat-related illnesses. EMSA paramedics explained once a person has a heat stroke, then they are more susceptible to heat-related problems.
"It's important to pay attention to amount of time spent in the heat," Colin Roy of EMSA said. "Once you start to get to a point of exhaustion and once you start to get to a point where you are no longer sweating those are very serious signs where a heat stroke is imminent."
Dr. Kulemeka worked at OU since May 2011 and was working to increase diversity within Gaylord College.
“We know this news is difficult for everyone but want you to know that there are counselors available through Goddard Health Services at 405-325-2911,” according to Gaylord College.
Officials have not released Kulemeka's exact cause of death. Memorial services are pending.