Rest in Peace Jeremy Westerman
On New Year’s Eve, Jeremy Westerman stopped by for a visit with his mom, Murphy resident, Diana Westerman. During their visit, Diana told her son he needed to go see a doctor because he had been complaining of feeling nauseous and having a headache since Thanksgiving. He remarked, in true independent Jeremy fashion, by saying that he was 27 years old and knew when he needed to see a doctor. Diana paralleled a time when he was very young and stopped a long time tradition of crawling into her lap and going back to sleep while she did her Bible study in the early morning. When she asked him why he had stopped, he replied, “Mom, I’m about to start school. I can’t do that anymore.”
As Jeremy left the Westerman’s house that evening, he asked his mom to make Hoppin’ Johns for him. She went shopping the next day and texted him that she wasn’t making them until he responded. She said it wasn’t completely unheard of that he wouldn’t respond to her text, so his lack of reply didn’t raise any red flags of concern.
He had gone home to his apartment in Richardson New Year’s Eve and came down with a raging fever and congestion. His girlfriend wanted to take him to the emergency room, but he just wanted to sleep. She gave him some medicine and left. His roommate heard him being ill January 1st around 8pm. After that, he went back to bed. His roommate checked on him the morning of Tuesday, January 2, and saw that Jeremy was sleeping. At 3pm, Mesquite 24 Hour Fitness (where Jeremy was currently employed) called the Murphy 24 Hour Fitness (where he had been employed) to say that Jeremy wasn’t responding to their calls. His roommate checked on him again and found him dead. He called 911, but it was too late. The cause of death was listed as Influenza A and Adrenal Cortical Insufficiency.
Marty, Jeremy’s father, and Diana said that Jeremy was a natural athlete. As a child, he was a star soccer player and also played baseball. He attended Garland ISD academies and graduated from Naaman Forest High School in 2009. They say he and his friends loved to laugh together. He was very close with his friends, including those from his childhood. He called them his brothers and sisters. Marty and Diana describe Jeremy as a foodie and easy going.
In May of 2017, Jeremy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business but he chose to pursue his passion in physical fitness by working as a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness in Murphy. Marty said when Jeremy took that position he said, “I’m finally doing what I want to do.”
Since Jeremy’s passing, Marty and Diana have learned a few things about their son. His friends told them that he loved to dance. They said he was always the first person on, and last person off, a dance floor. They’ve been told by Jeremy’s friends that he adored his parents. Diana said, “We heard story after story of how Jeremy motivated and inspired his clients to reach their goals and maintain healthy lifestyles. He not only assisted in changing their physical appearance, but touched them emotionally and spiritually.”
Diana said, “I’m sad as a mother that I didn’t get a chance to save my son.” Marty pointed out that there are so many single people out there and they need to realize the dangers of the flu. He said, “If you are sick, seek medical help, don’t just sleep it off.” Marty said that he used to shake his sons’ hand, now he hugs Justin, Jeremy’s brother. He said, “Love your kids. Hold them close no matter how old they are. Dads, step up to the plate, let your sons and daughters know how much they are loved.”
Diana said, “On Sunday (January 7, 2018), the funeral was standing room only. As we left the funeral home to make our way to the cemetery, it began to rain, but that did not deter Jeremy’s supporters from making their way to his burial site. With the exception of our immediate family, everyone stood in the pouring rain to lay their friend, co-worker and personal trainer to rest.”
Diana lives with the regret that she wasn’t more persistent in making Jeremy go to the doctor. When she saw him New Year’s Eve he promised he would go to the doctor on Tuesday.
Caption: The Westerman family celebrated (left) Jeremy’s and (right) Justin’s graduation from UTD.