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A natural leader: Mourners remember Joliet athlete Eric Glover at Friday funeral

Members Illinois Gators football team carry casket their teammate Eric Glover out St. Patrick Catholic Church following visitatifuneral services Joliet

Members of the Illinois Gators football team carry the casket of their teammate Eric Glover out of St. Patrick Catholic Church following visitation and funeral services in Joliet, Illinois, Friday, January 18, 2013. Glover is one of the two men murdered last week. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 18, 2013 6:47PM



Family members, football teammates and community leaders paid their final respects Friday to Eric Glover, a standout athlete whose life ended in tragedy in a double slaying earlier this month.

Mourners attended visitation and funeral services for Glover, 22, of Joliet, at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Marion Street.

“I remember him playing football. He would come to my house,” said Humphrey Northington, an uncle of the All-Star free safety for the semipro Illinois Gators. “I loved him. I really loved my nephew. He was a nice young kid.”

Team members

Nicholas Zamora, a second-year defensive end on the Gators, knew Glover since his freshman year at Joliet Central High School, when Glover was a sophomore football player.

“I got moved up to sophomores when I started playing football, and my locker was right next to Eric’s,” Zamora said. “And throughout all of high school, we played together. He was always smiling, joking around. But when it came to the game, he was a natural-born leader. He knew how to lead everybody, picked everybody up when they were down, always kept ’em smiling, and just motivated everybody.”

Glover was a three-sport athlete at Central, participating in football, wrestling and track, and making the honor roll several times. He graduated in 2008. He played six seasons of semipro football, four on the Joliet Buccaneers and two on the Will County-based Gators. He would have begun practice for his seventh season this past Monday.

Zamora graduated from Central in 2009 and played football at Olivet Nazarene University. Last year, he was glad to be reunited with his high school teammate, who achieved All-Star honors in the Great Midwest Football League.

“When I heard about the Gators, I joined,” Zamora said. “I didn’t know he was on the team at the time. When I went to the practice, and found out he was part of the team, I was overjoyed.”

Richard Casolaro, a Gators football player, attended Joliet West High School and knew Glover, who at the time was a student at Washington Junior High School.

“I knew him when he was in eighth grade. We did weightlifting together,” Casolaro said. “He’d come in, and he had this business attitude. He just wanted to get things done, and he didn’t want any distractions. He was a really great guy overall. He came to lifting because he was really serious about football and sports.”

Earlier this week, Gators Coach Joshua Jackson said Glover had become a leader and a mentor on the team. Casolaro agreed with that description.

Community leaders

Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22, of Joliet, were strangled last week. Four people are charged with first-degree murder.

Community leaders attended the visitation and funeral to pay their respects to Glover.

“Whenever we lose one of our graduates to violence, it’s disappointing to the whole staff,” said John Randich, principal of Joliet Central High School.

Larry Hug, a Joliet city councilman, said he became acquainted with Glover’s family through youth football. Hug has been a referee for more than 30 years. During the 2012 season, Glover was a coach with his father on a youth football team staff, and Hug remembers officiating their games.

Hug said the slayings of Glover and Rankins are not representative of the Joliet community, or of the victims’ families.

“This is a horrific anomaly,” he said. “This does not represent our community, and now we’re going to come together in this community,” Hug said.

Visitation for Rankins will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church, 14324 Marshfield Ave. in Dixmoor. The funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday at True Vine Church.



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