BRIEF: Atherton employee died on campus

TYLER SPRINGER | STAFF REPORTER

An employee in the Marketplace at Atherton Union died Monday morning.

Willie Ealy, 57, had a heart attack shortly after arriving at the Atherton kitchen, Joe Rice, an Atherton employee, said.

One employee said Early looked pale when he first arrived.

Rice said two Atherton workers performed CPR on Ealy, but could not revive him. Officers from the Butler University Police Department and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were called and he was taken to Methodist Hospital.

 Management did not alert Atherton employees until around 2 p.m. on Monday that Ealy had passed away. Tamika Thompson, an Atherton worker, said they wanted the employees to continue performing their duties.

Known by some as “Mr. Willie,” Ealy first began working at Butler in 1989. He was known for preparing soup.

“He was doing what he loved to do,” Rice said. “I always talked with him about making soups.”

Rice said he would like to see a “gumbo day” on which Atherton serves gumbo in Ealy’s honor. Gumbo was the last thing Ealy cooked.

Rice said Ealy told his father on Sunday that he was not feeling well. Ealy’s father told him to stay home, but he still proceeded to go to work.

Ealy’s daughter was supposed to arrive at Butler on Monday to visit him, but it is unclear if she ever came.

Thompson said the entire Atherton staff would like to attend the funeral, but they are not sure if they will all be able due to work obligations.

However, if Atherton needs to be closed during the funeral to allow employees to attend, Thompson said she thinks students will understand.

“He was a real cool guy,” Rice said. “It just hasn’t been the same without him.”

The wake for Ealy will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. with the funeral to follow on Oct. 25 at Williams and Bluitt Funeral Home.

Nate Haugh, interim director of dining services, was unavailable for comment.

NOTE: This post was updated on Oct. 21 with the new times for the wake and funeral services.

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