Daniel Parmenter was tall. Real tall.
“He was about 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5,” said Martin Smith, a friend who played intramural rugby with Parmenter. “Dan was a typical sports guy. He played football in high school. He played rugby in high school. He played intramural softball and flag football.”
“Dan was our gentle giant,” said Maria Krull, business adviser to the Northern Star, the student campus newspaper where the 20-year-old Parmenter worked as an advertising representative.
“Very nice, always somebody you could count on, smiley face, never lost his temper – just what you really want to have for a co-worker, although we don’t see each other as co-workers. We are family, and that’s why it’s so hard on the kids. They’re taking it very, very hard.”
A finance major from Westchester, Ill., Parmenter joined the Northern Star staff last April. He also was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, better known as the Pikes. And, Smith said, Parmenter enjoyed going out for a party like any college student.
But his family and friends will remember other things: his intelligence, his honesty, his common sense, his strong work ethic and his curiosity about learning new and different things.
Parmenter rose quickly at the newspaper, colleague Chris Fiordirosa said.
“He was rapidly promoted to sales rep after only a semester. He was a very hard worker,” Fiordirosa said. “He never asked questions about why he was doing anything. He was always joking, smiling in the office. He got along with everybody. We were all pretty close; everybody is pretty somber right now and still shocked.”
The Star’s students are discussing ways to memorialize their friend, Krull said. The result could become a scholarship in his name: “We want to make sure that he’s going to be here forever,” she said.
“The mood is we lost a brother, and it’s even hard to imagine,” Krull said. “But I think they’ve decided they’re going to go on and honor him by doing so.”
In his family’s words
Dan was a skiing enthusiast and became an advanced skier over the years, skiing over Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Wisconsin and Michigan during middle and high school and then enjoying the black diamond runs in Colorado the last four years at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Vail, Copper Mountain and Steamboat.
Dan’s co-workers and managers at Pottery Barn in Oak Brook exchanged stories and memories Saturday with Dan’s mom, dad and sister during a day-long tribute to Dan with a luncheon for all employees. Many of them said Dan was like a brother or a son to them, always pitching in to do anything they needed and going the extra mile. They said it was a joy to work with Dan, and they looked forward to when he returned to work a weekend shift or during school break. The store, district and regional managers acknowledged Dan’s many contributions to improving stock room and inventory operations.
When the shooting started, Dan and the girl he was sitting with dropped to the floor between the rows of seats for cover. Although still in intensive care in critical condition, she told her parents that Dan held her hand and began praying for them before he was shot.
His father said Dan has a keen perception for comprehending how to go about doing things and handling situations in very practical ways, for which Dan would say with a smile, “That’s just common sense.” Dan’s parents were extremely proud of his initiative to apply himself through hard work and dedication to be the best at everything he did and to do it with honesty and integrity.
Besides being social chairman for Pi Kappa Alpha, Dan ran for office on the NIU InterFraternity Council board during elections last semester.
Dan is survived by his parents, a sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and nephews. He was born Oct. 15, 1987.