LCpl. Daniel Deyarmin, Jr.
Tallmadge family gets heartbreaking news
Beacon Journal staff writers
On Lance Cpl. Daniel ``Nate'' Deyarmin's 22nd birthday Saturday, he called his parents from Iraq.
``He was happy,'' said his mother, Edie Deyarmin. ``He was always happy.''
It was the last conversation she would have with her son.
Late Monday afternoon, Edie and Daniel Deyarmin Sr., the parents of the Tallmadge Marine, received the news that their son had been killed in Iraq along with five other snipers.
Deyarmin, a 2002 graduate of Tallmadge High School, had joined the Marine Reserves in January 2003.
He was deployed to Iraq in January with other members of the Akron-based Weapons Company of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.
He was made part of a special sniper unit while overseas, his family said.
Mr. Deyarmin said he was at home when two Marines arrived to inform him of his son's death.
Upon hearing the news, he said, he ran around his Tallmadge yard, pulled his hair and cried.
Then he had to turn to the task of telling his wife they had lost their son.
Mrs. Deyarmin was checking on a rental property the couple owns and was in the downtown Akron area when her cell phone rang.
Her husband told her to come home right away, so she got on Interstate 76 and headed east.
Mr. Deyarmin asked the Marines to hide their car behind a tree so he could break the news to his wife.
At first, Mrs. Deyarmin said, she thought that maybe something had happened to one of the dogs. But then her instincts told her it was much worse.
``I knew on the expressway,'' she said. ``The Marines are at the house.''
The Deyarmins, who also have a 23-year-old daughter, Erica, said their son was a great auto mechanic. He had dreams of joining the CIA when he got back from Iraq, and maybe owning rental property like his parents.
He played football in high school and was a hunter. He was also a practical joker who could make anything fun, his mother said.
City in mourning
Across Tallmadge, American flags flew at half-staff in honor of Tallmadge's native son.
``He was a big, strong young man.... He looked like the kind of guy you would think would be a Marine,'' said Don Duffy, who has been a counselor at Tallmadge High School since 1982.
Duffy, sitting on his front porch, leafed through a 2002 Tallmadge yearbook and let his finger come to rest on a black and white photo of Deyarmin.
``I was Nate's counselor and adviser during his four years in high school,'' Duffy said, remembering Deyarmin as a good student who was well-liked by his peers.
``The phrase that keeps coming to mind when I think of Nate is `likeable.' He was just a soft-spoken, polite, low-maintenance type of guy,'' said Duffy.
Prior to Deyarmin's high school graduation, Duffy remembers the young man coming to talk to him about his future.
``We talked about his interest in the military... about him wanting to go into the military,'' Duffy said.
Earlier Wednesday, Tallmadge Mayor Christopher Grimm said the news of the young Marine's death was ``just starting to sink in.'' He said his city hasn't experienced a tragedy like this since Vietnam.
``This community has been shaken to its very roots,'' added the mayor's secretary, Karen Morgan.
In a July 4 article in the Beacon Journal, Deyarmin wrote of being away from loved ones over the holiday and ``instead being with my fellow Marines defending what so many people take for granted and don't appreciate.''
He also wrote of what it means to be an American, describing how ``the free will to be over here and help each other is one of the hardest things in one's life and still being able to put (forth) our best effort to make the best of every situation we encounter. That's what we as Americans do. We make the best out of everything. Semper Fi.''
Tallmadge Superintendent Vince Frammartino said when he heard the news of Deyarmin's death, it felt ``like a knife went through me.''
Frammartino remembered Deyarmin as ``a super nice young man'' from a ``strong'' family.
Last year, before heading to Iraq, Deyarmin and four of his fellow Marines spoke to Tallmadge Middle School students.
``He was very proud to be a Marine,'' said Frammartino, who served as a Marine in the late 1960s.
Frammartino expects students returning to school at the end of the month to have questions about Deyarmin's death.
``We are going to tell them that he was doing what he wanted to do, and we should be honored by his service. He gave up his life for us and for a good cause,'' said Frammartino.
Mrs. Deyarmin said whenever she or her husband spoke to or wrote letters to their son, they conveyed the message that what he was doing was important and that he was important.
``We told him as a kid, `You are a Deyarmin, you can do anything,' '' his 43-year-old mother said.
And when they spoke to him on the phone, like the last call on Saturday, they had a rule not to talk about anything negative.
So they did not tell their son that an aunt had died the week before.
They knew that as a sniper, he had a difficult job that often required him to be without sleep for hours on end. They knew he had to be focused at all times.
And on those phone conversations, the Marine's 47-year-old father said he told his son he loved him and how much of a hero he considered him to be.
``He was a hero,'' his father said.