A Long Grove college student and budding filmmaker, Declan Sullivan was remembered Monday as a young man who embraced life.
Hundreds of mourners filled St. Mary Catholic Church in Buffalo Grove to honor Sullivan, who died last week in a wind storm at the University of Notre Dame, where he was a student.
“Those who knew him knew he was really something,” Wyn Sullivan, Declan Sullivan's sister, told the gathering.
“Though he enjoyed writing scripts and making films, he lived an unscripted life,” an uncle, Joe Murray, said during his own remarks.
Sullivan, 20, died Wednesday when a lift from which he was filming a Notre Dame football team practice collapsed in high winds. A graduate of Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Sullivan was a junior at Notre Dame and was working as a videographer for the school.
Sullivan's death is being investigated by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A spokesman could not be reached Monday.
Hundreds of people filled St. Mary's Church for the funeral, including representatives from Carmel High and the university.
Notre Dame sent two coach buses of students to the funeral. Carmel students were driven to the Mass by school bus.
Michael Miley, an uncle and Sullivan family spokesman, said the family “continues to be overwhelmed by a show of support from a variety of communities.”
Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and several of his players were among the mourners. Kelly didn't speak to reporters Monday but has said it was his decision to hold practice outdoors on the windy day.
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, Notre Dame's vice president of student affairs, gave the homily Monday.
After joking about Sullivan's “moppy hair,” Doyle compared the young man to one of the pilots in author Richard Bach's novel “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.”
“Declan Sullivan was not a clinger to the bottom of the river,” Doyle said. “To him, the boredom of conventional thinking was intolerable.”
Sullivan “embraced the freedom of life,” Doyle added.
“Those who knew Declan Drumm Sullivan admired him,” he said. “In so many ways, he was like one of us, but he flew.”
Wyn Sullivan, a freshman at Notre Dame, recalled how her brother recently carried her luggage on a long walk to her campus dorm after she returned from a trip home.
“I couldn't have asked for a better older brother,” she said. “I was meant to spend the last few months with Dec, in a place that he loved.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.