Former athlete gives gift of life after deadly fall


Friends and family members came out Friday to remember and honor a young man who died after a tragic fall.

Declin Ermer, a former high school athlete at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, was remembered for his personality and his life-saving gifts.

Ermer died earlier this month after falling from a deck onto a sidewalk below while in college at University of Montana.

“It could happen to anybody, but you always think it will be somebody else,” said Eric Ermer, his father.

His death has hit family and friends hard. Many have reached out to his family to share stories.

“There’s people across the country that have told us stories about his kindness we didn’t know about,” said his mother, Laura Townsend.

Ermer was a star athlete at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, where he played volleyball, soccer and basketball.

“He had so many people 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 also a great teammate. One of his most memorable basketball games was against rival Wheaton North, where he stood his ground defensively and took a charge three times, doing the dirty work to help his team win. That unselfish quality will be part of his legacy. Ermer and his family chose to donate his organs.

“In the end, with tissues and everything, there were seven people whose lives were saved or benefitted,” his father said.

“He’s gonna be there for eternity. He’s my angel. He’s gonna live on,” his mother said.

Many people who knew Ermer from Wheaton Warrenville South will be at his memorial service Sunday afternoon. In fact, more than 500 people are expected.

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