State College

A ‘devastating loss.’ Centre County mourns the death of dedicated volunteer

Local residents are mourning the loss of a dedicated volunteer and “community treasure” who cared about helping others and making Centre County a better place to live ⁠— in every way possible.

Out of the Cold Centre County program manager and State College resident Beckie Romig died Tuesday at 58 years old, as first announced by a post on her personal Facebook page. According to a post from the Faith United Church of Christ, Romig had been hospitalized last week after a cardiac event but felt better after being released, even attending an OOTC3 board meeting this week.

The church’s post called Romig a “fierce advocate for under-represented populations,” while committing to continuing to support her work with Out of the Cold.

A graduate of Penn State, Romig helped coordinate the OOTC3 seasonal shelters, volunteered at correctional facilities and served on the outreach team at Calvary. In July, Romig told the CDT that she considered her faith and fellow volunteers to be the “biggest blessing,” but those who knew Romig said her selflessness is a blessing that will stay with them forever.

“Whether you were a neighbor, someone without a home, a woman in jail, a friend at Calvary or a part of her family, that’s what we will miss,” said Calvary Lead Pastor Dan Nold. “From her quick tears to her welcome-home smile; from her heart for those in the margins of life to her advocacy for anyone in need, she was part of the soul of Calvary.”

As a member of the congregation’s leadership team, Nold said Romig’s service took her on mission trips to Rwanda and the Dominican Republic. But her deepest impact came when she was “simply loving on and caring for people.” Romig’s caring and selfless personality is what Nold said he and Calvary will miss most of all.

Beyond ministry work, Romig was dedicated to making sure Centre County’s homeless population had a safe place to stay and food to eat. As OOTC program manager, Romig worked with local congregations ⁠— like Faith United ⁠— to secure spaces to house seasonal day and night homeless shelters throughout the year.

Director of the Centre County Office of Adult Services Faith Ryan said Romig’s death has been “devastating for the human services community.” Working together to add and enhance county resources, Ryan said Romig’s contributions to the community will be greatly missed. Last week, Ryan said she met with Romig to discuss and brainstorm potential avenues to secure funding to help enhance OOTC3.

“During our meeting, I thanked Beckie for her willingness to embrace change and think outside of the box,” Ryan said. “After our meeting, I felt hopeful that our partnership could result in more services for those who are often overlooked. I never imagined that partnership would end so unexpectedly or it would be the last time I ever saw her.”

Ryan said Romig’s legacy is that she “advocated for individuals who have fallen on the hardest of times or who have lived lives unimaginable to most.” Romig’s greatest strengths, Ryan said, were her “pure love and vulnerability.”

In Romig’s absence, Housing Transitions Executive Director Morgan Wasikonis said her community work and vision for OOTC3 will not be forgotten. As they work to fill the gap left by Romig’s death, Wasikonis said Housing Transitions will continue to provide resources for the county’s homeless population.

“Her advocacy also helped people to understand and rethink how they see some of the most vulnerable populations in our community,” Wasikonis said. “She will be missed, but we have learned a lot from her and look forward to helping Out of the Cold move forward and continue working together with us to address homelessness in Centre County.”

Funeral services are being arranged by Koch Funeral Home, but have not yet been announced.

Marley Parish reports on local government for the Centre Daily Times. She grew up in Slippery Rock and graduated from Allegheny College.