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Parents reflect on son's life

January 31, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Danny Landsman was the kind of kid who kept a goals list on his desk.

Throughout his youth, Danny achieved many goals, his father, Jerry Landsman, said: He was a standout in sports, excelled in school, was a devoted Boy Scout and an accomplished fisherman.

His mother and father said their oldest son, who died Wednesday night, had achieved their goal of being everything parents could want in a son.

"He was the greatest kid in the world," his father said. "Danny always did everything right."

Danny Landsman, 20, collapsed Wednesday evening following a workout in the weight room at Salisbury University on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where he was a junior in the business administration honors program.

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According to other students in the gym, Landsman had placed his weightlifting equipment down on a rack and was walking away with a friend when he collapsed. He was pronounced dead at Peninsula Regional Medical Center at about 7 p.m.

"They think it was a brain aneurysm," Jerry Landsman said. "The doctors said nothing could have been done."

The news of their son's death was delivered to Jerry and Cathy Landsman Wednesday night by a chaplain and troopers from the Maryland State Police barrack in Hagerstown. "They couldn't have been nicer," Jerry Landsman said.

The family immediately left for Salisbury, arriving at Peninsula Regional Medical Center just after midnight.

"The doctors waited past their shift for us to arrive. One of them said he had a son at Salisbury and he was all choked up, knowing what we were going through," Jerry Landsman said.

Back home on Thursday, the family was remembering the good times with Danny and remarking that there had been so many.

"One Christmas, Danny got a hold of a picture of me when I was about 12 standing with my hero, (football great) Johnny Unitas," Jerry Landsman said. "He had it blown up and framed it for a gift for me."

When Danny was 10 or 11 years old, he had his own baseball card business. He and his dad used to go to baseball card shows and even had their picture in The Herald-Mail, father and son together looking over some cards at one of those shows.

In recent years, Danny Landsman had developed a great love of the outdoors, according to his mother. He had worked summers at Antietam National Battlefield and was planning to spend the coming summer at Denali National Park in Alaska.

"Danny told me recently that he was sorry he wasn't 'going to go the corporate route' as he had earlier planned," Jerry Landsman said.

Friends from Boonsboro High School, Trinity Lutheran Church in Boonsboro and the neighborhood mingled with extended family at the Landsman home Thursday.

Landsman was a 2000 honors graduate of Boonsboro High School, where he participated on the cross country, wrestling and baseball teams.

"We just heard that seven of Danny's friends from the time we lived in Minnesota are driving east for the services," Jerry Landsman said. "Danny turned 16 while we were living there."

Cathy Landsman said that Danny was a wonderful son. "He was always so thoughtful and sweet," she said.

To his father, Danny was very special.

"Danny never ever gave us a moment's trouble or took any shortcuts," Jerry Landsman said. "We'll miss him."

On Tuesday, the Landsman family's house went on the market in anticipation of moving into a new home that is nearly completed.

"It's a good thing we are moving soon," Jerry Landsman said. "I just can't go by his room anymore."

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