If the family of Eric Lederman had any doubts that their son touched innumerable lives in his 12 short years on earth, the last two days would have dispelled them.
Hundreds of people came to Dieterle Memorial Home in Montgomery on Wednesday and Thursday to comfort the family, and say goodbye to Eric, who died last week from injuries suffered in a baseball accident in Wheaton.
Lederman was a catcher for the Oswego Panthers Orange 12U baseball team, and while warming up before a game in Atten Park in Wheaton last Wednesday, was struck in the neck with a ball. He was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he died last Thursday night.
It’s a senseless tragedy that has left the community shaken, and that community turned out in force for Lederman’s wake on Wednesday and funeral Thursday morning. Dieterle had three rooms open for Thursday’s funeral, and all were packed full.
Oswego School District 308 arranged shuttle services to and from the funeral home, and the village of Montgomery and the Montgomery VFW offered additional parking.
Community members will have a chance to show their support for the Lederman family on Thursday, April 26, when of Oswego hosts a fundraiser. Ten percent of the day’s profits will be donated to the Lederman family.
Craig Culver, who help found the restaurant chain in 1984 with his father, will appear at the location in the late afternoon to show his support. Jon Witcpalek, franchise partner of the Oswego location, said he talked to Culver earlier this week about the fundraiser, and he jumped at the chance to take part.
“Craig’s whole philosophy is you do what’s right for the community,” Witcpalek said. “I told him how this had just devastate the community, and he said ‘John, I’m there.’ That’s the type of person he is.”
In all Witcpalek’s location gives back about $20,000 back to the community each year.
Additionally, the Oswego Baseball and Softball Association, in conjunction with Oswego Youth Tackle Football, has set up a memorial fund. Monetary donations can be made to the fund at Allied First Bank, 3201 Orchard Road, Oswego, IL 60543. Make donations payable to "Eric Lederman Memorial Fund."
For more on Eric Lederman, read . For a moving account of the Oswego Panthers’ first game without him, read this blog post by Tony Pronenko.