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Eric McDermott

Eric R. McDermott

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
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Obituary

Eric Ryan McDermott, 40, of Medfield, Massachusetts died on December 10, 2019 at home surrounded by family.

Born in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1979 and oldest child of Thomas and Judith (Martin) McDermott. Eric graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002, and the Darden School of Business at University of Virginia in 2008. At Darden, Eric was the first person selected to receive the Jefferson Fellowship, which is the premier merit-based scholarship program at the University of Virginia. Before graduate school, Eric worked as an economic analyst at Foley & Lardner and then as an economic consultant at National Economic Research Associates (NERA) where he met his wife, Erin. After graduate school, Eric worked as a consultant at Bain & Company and as a senior strategy executive at Sensata Technologies, Taco, Inc. and, most recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific. When not tackling intellectual challenges at work, Eric enjoyed rooting for his Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins and his alma mater, the Virginia Cavaliers. He also enjoyed trying the best craft beers in New England and hunting down rare bourbons. More than anything else, he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Eric is survived by his wife of 11 years, Erin (Marino) McDermott and two children, Connor and Keira, of Medfield, MA. Eric leaves behind his mother, Judith McDermott of Manassas, VA and his sisters Pamela (Matthew) Smith of Midlothian, VA, and Nicole (Darrell) Thomas of Springfield, VA and honorary siblings John (Francis) Henkel of Lexington, KY and Ruth Conner of Lorton, VA. He was preceded in death by his father, Thomas McDermott.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend funeral services Monday, December 16 at 10 a.m. at St. Edward the Confessor Church, 133 Spring St., Medfield, MA. Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, December 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Roberts Mitchell Caruso Funeral Home, 15 Miller St., Medfield, MA.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to a scholarship fund created for the benefit of Eric’s children, Connor and Keira, at Needham Bank, 520 Main Street, Medfield, MA 02052 or a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/mcdermott-family-fund. Additionally, donations can be made to Good Shepherd Community Care Hospice at https://gscommunitycare.org/.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, December 15th, 2019 | 2:00pm - 5:00pm
    When
    Sunday, December 15th, 2019 2:00pm - 5:00pm
    Location
    Roberts Mitchell Caruso FH - Medfield
    Address
    15 Miller St
    MEDFIELD, MA 02052
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, December 16th, 2019 | 10:00am
    When
    Monday, December 16th, 2019 10:00am
    Location
    St. Edward the Confessor Church
    Address
    133 Spring St.
    MEDFIELD, MA 02052
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Condolences

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Private Condolence
BS

Brian Southard

Posted at 04:40pm
I keep going back to our trip to Pittsburgh to see the Steelers play the Redskins. I spent a lot of time with him along with our friends Ujala and Chad. We spent the weekend bar hopping, eating, and capped it off with us getting to watch his Steelers put a thumping on my Redskins (predictably). This should have been Eric at his happiest, but it was the same Eric I’ve known since the late 80’s. He was always fun to be around, he always brought a positive energy, and he always treated people with kindness. There aren’t many people that can say that about themselves, and even less that have others say that about them. It seems that all of his tributes mention how kind and smart he was, and with good reason.

I don’t remember how the two of us ended up at that game together, but I’m so grateful we did and that I have that memory to hold on to.
GW

Gretchen Ward

Posted at 03:48pm
It’s funny-my birthday will never be the same. Since I was in the 8th grade—well over 25 years ago...I have always thought of my friend Eric & plans to wish him a Happy Birthday & remind him he was a year older. This past year—he hit that milestone-40 & I told him to let me know how it was on the other side... I had no idea what Eric was facing. Though we shared classes from 7th grade on & even traveled to UVa together-we went our separate ways. He was always someone with a great smile. But lately I have an image in my head of Eric trying to scowl. I don’t remember why—but I remember the furrowed brow and his nose wrinkling up with pursed lips. It lasted maybe 15 seconds before his smile erupted and we all laughed. I have no reference for this memory...maybe our 7th grade debates or some other trivial assignment? Whatever the reason—-that memory always makes me smile and for that I am grateful, just as I am grateful for so many memories through the years of Eric, who truly was one of the best of us.
EG

Eric Goldwater

Posted at 03:16pm
Eulogy - Eric Goldwater

John Henkel

Posted at 03:02pm
Eulogy by John Henkel

Eric was the rare person who finds two lifelong best friends: one from high school (me) and one from college (Eric Goldwater). That’s why there are two eulogies today. For my part, I’ll talk first about my sense of who Eric was, then about my relationship with him. I hope you’ll excuse me for the places where we say some of the same things.

I’ve read a lot of moving tributes to Eric on Facebook, all praising him for different things. It’s clear not only that he touched a lot of lives, but also that he had a lot of distinct virtues. The one that most defines him in my mind is his devotion to family and friends. When Eric gave the eulogy at his dad’s funeral in 2012, he talked about his dad’s loyalty to family. He was crying when he sat down, and I remember hugging him and telling him that he was every bit his father’s son. It clearly meant a lot to him to hear that. [Pause.] Eric’s eulogy for his dad gave me a lot of clarity about Eric’s sense of himself, and about a virtue that clearly runs in his family. Eric always knew his own mind, which meant that, like his dad, he could be stubborn—about his loyalty to Arby’s or Chipotle, about not eating vegetables on principle (at least before he met Erin), even about some pretty lousy driving habits when we were younger. But he was a pretty good judge of character—just look at the people he kept close to him throughout his life–and once he made up his mind about a person, he would go to the mat for his family and friends. I remember one time we were getting in the car to leave school in the afternoon, and for whatever reason, our friend Brian Southard was on the other side of the parking lot trying to avoid getting into a fistfight. Brian’s a great guy, but I probably would have driven away to keep clear of that fight. Eric was driving, though, and he stopped for Brian to get in—even though it meant that the guy who had been after Brian was after us now. He started punching blindly into the back seat, and when that didn’t work, he started punching me in the front seat! All we talked about the next day was how funny it was that I got punched in the face, but Eric wasn’t about to leave Brian in that parking lot. [Pause.] Either that year or the next, my sister and I lost our mom after a long fight with lung cancer. I don’t remember a whole lot from the day it happened, but I remember that Eric was there, that he was the one I rode with to the funeral, and that he was by my side through everything we had to do that week. Ruth and I had lost our father years earlier, so our whole lives changed after our mom died. But Eric and his family were our rock, and they’ve been real family to us both ever since. [Pause.] When my twins were born two years ago, I asked Eric to be Charlie’s godfather. He flew from Boston to Kentucky even though he was sick with a bad cold, and since our kids were premature, I made him wear a surgical mask to keep the kids from catching it. Maybe you saw this picture in the slideshow yesterday. Here he was the cancer patient, probably on chemo, and I was worried about my kids catching a cold. He looked silly, but he was happy to do it, and he wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Two years later, I brought the same box of blue masks with me when I came to visit him in October. It was the last time I saw him, and I’d had a cold earlier that week. This time I didn’t want to get him sick, but I knew it might be my last chance to visit. I got to spend five good days with him, talking about life, and death, and family. The last day I was there, two friends from business school visited, and Adam Duggins told a story that I thought summed up Eric pretty well. They were in a Bargaining & Negotiations class together, and Eric—who was always a stellar student—was doing great in the class. Still, Duggins walloped him twice in the bargaining exercise they had to do. Duggins was playing on their relationship, which is exactly what he was supposed to do. Eric let him do it not once, but twice, because he couldn’t put his own interests ahead of his loyalty to his friend, even when his grade was riding on it.

I struggled with this next part of the eulogy because it felt like it was too much about me. Grief is such a selfish emotion, in its way, and it makes you question everything you do. Should I call Erin or give her space? What right do I have to her time right now when she’s just lost her husband? I was Eric’s friend, and what she needs now is her friends, right? — Incidentally, I waited but she called me, and when she did, I told her point blank that she was just stuck with me now, and she was going to have to be my new best friend. — Anyway, I was struggling with how or whether to talk about myself today, since I was supposed to be here to talk about Eric. But my wife reminded me of a different part of Eric’s dad’s funeral. I was standing with him outside as he greeted people on their way into the viewing. I was there to support him like he had been for me, but I kept taking little half-steps backwards out of the way, because these were his family and they were there to see him, not me. Every time I stepped back, he did too. And after a couple times, I realized that I was right where he needed me to be. And that’s where I am today.

I knew Eric for 30 years, and he was the closest thing I’ll ever have to a brother. He was there for all the most important things I’ve done in my life. In school we were in the same classes, made the same grades, and had the same friends. At home he was practically part of my family, and when I lost my family, both my sister and I became part of his. When I got married, he was my best man, and a year later I was his. He was godfather to my son Charlie, and I’m godfather to his daughter Keira.

I’m a Latin professor, so as I struggled with what to say today, I read some of what the Romans said about friends, friendship, and loss. The quote that hit me hardest was from Horace’s poem to his great friend, the poet Vergil. Praying that the gods would carry Vergil safely to the end of his journey, Horace calls Vergil “half of my soul” (Odes 1.3.8). I don’t know exactly what Horace meant, but I know what it means to me. When I visited in October and Eric and I were talking about our childhood, I realized that Eric remembered much that I had forgotten. I remembered the time that I spent at his house and the music that he liked, like Cake or Train; he remembered going camping with my family, and he played me a Black Lab album that I had loved, but which I hadn’t thought of in 20 years. Eric’s memories of me died with Eric, and I feel like I’ve lost half of myself. [Pause.] But on the other hand, I know that I’ll carry half of his soul around with me for the rest of my life. Who he was is why I’m who I am. And I’ve got memories of him that he’d probably forgotten himself. That’s probably true for everyone who loved him.
Now that I’ve got two sons, I think a lot about what it means to have a brother. I think a about my own father, who died when I was Keira’s age, and how much I owe to his brother, my uncle, for my sense of who he was. When I was with Eric in October, he said, “I’m going to tell my kids to come to you when they want to know about their dad—what I was like, what we used to do, what kind of music I liked.” So Connor and Keira, come talk to me when you want to hear stories about your dad. I’ll tell you about how my car broke down and stranded us outside Richmond one time, or how he ran someone off the road on our way back from a movie in Woodbridge, or how we camped out for Dave Matthews tickets every year, or how he wouldn’t put in his own contacts until he went to College. [Pause.] And when those of us who love him get together, we can raise his ghost with our memories. [Pause.] Meanwhile, I’ll try to honor him with my own commitment to family and friends. And I’ll pray for my sons that they are friends to each other like Eric was to me.

Another poet, Catullus, wrote a poem to honor his brother, who died too young and far away. He says (I’ll paraphrase here): “I’ve traveled a long way to say goodbye, and to talk to you although you can’t talk back, since fortune took you away before your time” (Catullus 101). He ends (I’ll translate here): “Receive this tribute, dripping with a brother’s tears, and forever, brother, hail and goodbye.”
EG

Eric Goldwater

Posted at 02:41pm
Eulogy - Written By Eric Goldwater

When I was growing up, my family moved a few times. My mom would say to my brothers and me that we should be nice to each other first and foremost. Friends and other people in our lives would come and go. Really, I think she just wanted us to stop fighting. But as I’ve grown older, I have seen many people float in and out of my life. Fortunately for me, Eric was one that stayed. We have been best friends since our first year of college and I’m proud to say that my friendship with Eric grew into something more; he was like a brother to me. And I am forever grateful for that.

When I first sat down to write, my thoughts were jumbled. I thought it would be impossible to capture Eric and his life in the span of 5 minutes. But as I started to put my thoughts together, I realized it wouldn’t be that hard at all. Whether you knew Eric for 5 minutes or 5 years, you really did know him. There are so many great stories about Eric. And Eric has been with me for so many great moments and pieces of my life. There were the times in college where we just hung out and got to know each other better, and racquet ball games - where Eric refused to take it easy on me. There was the time we tracked down our good friend’s stolen car – of course in a Wendy’s parking lot. There were the many soccer games we coached in college and the one that ended with Eric refusing to shake hands with the other coach because Eric thought he ran up the score on us. There was the time we went out with friends one night and it ended with McDermott flipping over a sign on a dare and him dancing across a bridge. There were the struggles with losing girlfriends and adjusting to the real world. And, later, the joy that came along with Eric meeting Erin and getting accepted into Darden. There was Eric standing up for me in my wedding and me standing up in his a few months later. There was the shared joy of telling him my wife and I were pregnant and him returning the favor a year later.

Often, during times like this we focus on what we have lost. It’s human nature. But as I think about Eric and what he has meant to me and many of us sitting in this room, I think we should take Eric’s view of the world. Eric would focus on the positive.

I think about all the happiness Eric brought to everyone he met. Eric was a genuinely happy, kind, generous and caring person. Whenever you saw Eric, the first thing that struck you about him was his smile. If you saw the picture attached to his obituary – that is the smile Eric wore most of his life. It did not matter if you were a family member, a friend, or a new co-worker, Eric would always warmly greet you and immediately find some connection: it could be sports, your children, or the latest restaurant he was obsessed with. One of Eric’s friends and former Bain co-workers said that when the Atlanta office announced his passing, the one memory that came up again and again was Eric and his smile. Eric found joy in little everyday things and it could only make you feel happy as well. He enjoyed going to concerts, talking about fantasy football, and going to the beach. He enjoyed poker nights with friends and making trips to local restaurants and ice cream shops. Eric enjoyed finding rare bourbon and going out to the Treehouse brewery, west of here, to try new beers. Most of all, he loved to share those things with his friends.

I cannot talk about Eric without mentioning his impressive intellect. He was one of the smartest people I have ever met. He had the rare ability to read about a subject and, not only memorize what the facts were, but understand the bigger concept. He could break complicated problems into small manageable pieces and teach you as well. Eric was the salutatorian of our high school class and then an honors student at the University of Virginia. During college, I remember all his “study sessions” which were usually two days before a test. He would sit at his desk with a bag of Doritos or M&M’s – or sometimes both – and study for twelve hours straight. And once he, (and the food), was done he would be ready for the test two days later. No need to look at anything again. Another great memory was from an Economics class we took. The professor gave tests where essentially two answers were right, but one was a better answer. We both did terribly on the first test so I just withdrew from the class. Eric decided to hang in and have a battle of wills with the professor. They went back and forth over email, and Eric was tortured by this guy’s logic. But he wouldn’t give up. I think he loved the intellectual challenge of going toe to toe with a professor. When Eric decided to pursue his MBA at Darden, he was the first person chosen to be a Jefferson Fellow. In more recent years, Eric has chased his career ambitions. While those dreams put some distance between us geographically, we have maintained our strong friendship. Throughout both our careers, we have encouraged and challenged each other. Above all, we rooted for each other.

Aside from his intelligence, I think one thing that drew people to Eric were his quirks. He was known for wearing shorts once the temperatures were north of 45 degrees. Eric played new CDs until he wore them out (which unfortunately was about a month after you were sick of hearing them) and he could be obsessed with winning games. He would famously, or infamously, wheel and deal with friends to win a fantasy baseball league. There were the daily laundry loads where he washed like three pieces of clothing, and there were battles over having the air conditioning on in the middle of the winter. I did not feel I could write it in his obituary, but Eric was something of a fast food connoisseur. Most probably already knew this, but Eric loved to frequent, and take friends, to Jason’s Deli, Arby’s, Chick-fil-a and Shake Shack. In college, our friends all joked that the only vegetable he ate was the lettuce on his hamburgers. And largely this was the case until he married Erin 11 years ago. For some reason, Eric loved to eat at these restaurants. There were many arguments in college about whether we were going to eat there or bring the food back to our place. No one ever figured out whether it was because he wanted the food to be warm or if he just enjoyed the ambiance. But one thing was for sure, if you went to one of these places with Eric, you knew you were a friend of his. It’s how he got to know you better.

Connection was important to Eric and the relationship he had with his family came first and foremost. I had the opportunity to get to know Eric’s family when we were in high school and college. They are a close, loving family and I know Eric felt very lucky to have them. They have been a great source of strength for him as he has been battling this disease. Eric’s wife Erin – who I am proud to call a friend – has been a rock over all of the years for Eric. Eric and Erin met each other at work over a dozen years ago and have been inseparable since. They enjoyed skiing, traveling, making new friends and exploring the cities that they would make home, and, most of all, raising their two kids. Eric was a loving father. He enjoyed playing with his kids, watching their sporting events and simply spending time with them. We spoke often of our families. We talked about what our kids were doing – about their personalities, their numerous activities or how they were doing in school. I was always grateful for how he truly cared for my family. It made our bond stronger.

My final visit with Eric really spoke to what our friendship was. I came up to visit Eric in early October after he came home from the hospital. I knew things looked bad and I was nervous about my visit. What would I say, how could I make him feel better, how could I take his mind off things? The drive to his house was excruciating. But once I got here, everything melted away. Eric didn’t expect anything of me. It was like the old times. We caught up on our families and friends. We talked about how Eric and his family would visit us in DC. We talked about the Steelers and the Bills. We discussed frustrations with work and Eric’s plan to pursue other options when he was feeling up to it. We watched a football game with our friend from college, we visited Five Guys. I had the opportunity to go with Eric and Erin to Connor and Keira’s baseball and soccer games. Eric made a point to search out and speak with his friends to see how they were doing and try to plan their next trip to the ice cream store. Later that day, as we sat alone in his family room, Eric asked me to do this talk – and it was the hardest conversation of my life. He spoke to me about his faith and shared inspiring bible verses that brought him strength and peace. We laughed together, we cried together. Eric’s optimism, kindness, generosity and strength were all there. That two-day visit was our 20-year friendship. I will treasure that memory forever.

I am a better husband, father, friend and person because of all I learned from Eric. Eric taught me how to be more optimistic and look for the best in people. He encouraged me to work harder and think bigger. Eric showed me how to draw people in with his warmth. He showed us all how to be strong and positive in the face of long odds. And I think he taught us all how to love the little and big things in our lives. I think Eric enjoyed it all - it showed on his face. When I think of Eric’s legacy, I do not have to look any further than the numerous messages received over the last week. People from high school, college, grad school, and in between – people spread across the country. They all say the same thing: Eric was the most sincere person and he couldn’t have been more kind. He was one of the good ones. That’s who Eric was and what he meant.

When I thought of how to best summarize Eric and what he meant to me, I thought of it this way. I am a father of three small children. When I tell them about my friendship with Eric, how can I contextual this for them? What lessons can I teach them? My wish and hope for my children, and for Eric’s, is that they find a friendship like the one Eric and I shared. If you can find a friend that shows you encouragement, kindness, generosity, and love, then you have truly been blessed. I have. And, in various ways, everyone here has as well.

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