Star player loses fight against cancerTeam Munson lost its star player Wednesday. Eric Munson, who spent his honeymoon at the Mayo Clinic fighting stage-four cancer, died at home in Superior.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Team Munson lost its star player Wednesday.
Eric Munson, who spent his honeymoon at the Mayo Clinic fighting stage-four cancer, died at home in Superior. His wife Hilary and her father Dan Learn, who called Eric his best friend, were at his side. The rest of the family had said their goodbyes Tuesday night.
“The family was with him,” said his father, John Munson. “We were all able to say goodbye.”
Eric, 32, graduated from Superior High School in 1998. He played on the school’s varsity football team and coached hockey for the Superior Amateur Hockey Association for five years. He was employed at Menards in Superior. Family and friends described the young man as loyal, goodhearted and a champion for the underdog. He liked to laugh, had a good sense of humor and was always kind to others.
“Linda and I, we had 32 good years with him, we packed a lot into them,” his father said. That makes the loss both easier, he said, and harder.
Eric married his wife Hilary in an improvised ceremony in May, just before he was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. A week later, they drove to Rochester. At the Mayo Clinic, Eric impressed both family and doctors with his positive attitude.
“He always had great strength of will,” Munson said. “What sustained him was his determination. He fought this thing with everything he had.”
And he never sunk to self-pity, never asked “why me.”
Doctors, who gave him a slim chance of surviving even a month, considered it a miracle Eric lived so long. Eric’s health began to decline after Christmas, when his liver deteriorated to the point where chemotherapy was no longer possible. Eric’s wife was a fierce advocate through it all — loyal and strong, Munson said. And Eric grew close to his father-in-law.
“Dan really did consider Eric his best friend,” Munson said.
One of the things that really touched the family was the outpouring of community support during a benefit for Eric in June. About 2,000 people showed up.
“I knew he had a lot of friends,” Munson said, but “none of us had any idea. We just didn’t have a clue how many people would respond.
“I know it really made a difference to Eric.”
The family still has a number of the Team Munson shirts that were for sale at the benefit. And they have an active Eric Munson Benefit Account at Superior Choice Credit Union if people want to help Hilary cover expenses.
Visitation runs 5-7 p.m. today, and from noon until the 1 p.m. memorial service Saturday at Superior Middle School, 3626 Hammond Ave.