Numerous friends and family Sunday will continue to celebrate the life of a 2019 Wheaton Warrenville South High School graduate and elite athlete who died in a fall while attending college.
Declin Ermer is remembered for his personality and life saving gifts. He died earlier this month after falling from a deck onto a sidewalk at the University of Montana in late October.
“It could happen to anyone, but you always think it’s going to be someone else,” said Eric Ermer, his father.
His death hit family and friends hard. Many have reached out to his family to share stories, including on a CaringBridge website set up for Declin.
“There are people across the country who have told us stories about his kindness that we didn’t know about,” said his mother, Laura Townsend.
Ermer was a top athlete at Wheaton Warrenville South where he played volleyball, soccer and basketball.
“He had so many people that he touched in all three sports,” said Mike Healy, athletic director at Wheaton Warrenville South. “He was one of those great kids.”
Friends said he was a great teammate. One of his most memorable basketball games was against rival Wheaton North, where he held his ground defensively and received three tackles to do the dirty work to help his team win.
That selfless quality will be part of his legacy, friends and family have said, and it started at an early age. Eric Ermer wrote in a post how in a charity basketball game while Declin was in fifth grade, Declin passed a ball to a less experienced teammate so he could score, although Declin could have scored the easy goal himself.
“The kindness he showed at such a young age continued and until this tragedy we were not even aware of many of his acts of kindness shared in texts, calls and on this website,” his father wrote. “Because kindness became commonplace for him and that’s exactly what he did. To me, that is his wonder of the worldly. The wonder is in the simple, everyday actions that came so naturally to my youngest son.”
A walk of honor was held at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove on November 9, and the Sigma Chi fraternity held a celebration of life on November 11 in Missoula, Montana.
Ermer and his family decided to donate his organs.
“In the end, with tissues and all, there were seven people whose lives were saved or benefited,” his father said.
“He will be there for eternity. he is my angel He will live on,” his mother said.
More than 500 people who knew Ermer of Wheaton Warrenville South are expected to attend his memorial service Sunday afternoon.