He wanted his remains to be sent to space.
Now Eberlin's dream will be realized, as his and about 100 other cremated remains are expected to be launched in space on Monday in a memorial-satellite from Elysium Space.
Space travel will be the rest of war veterans and aviation enthusiasts, along with those whose families "want to celebrate a loved one in the poetry of the starry sky," Elichi said in a statement.
The ashes of James and others are packed in square 4-inch square satellites called cubes, CNN explained. Families will be able to track the spacecraft in real time through an application while orbiting the Earth about four years before falling back on Earth, according to Civeit.
"You Can Stand Now Through Heaven"
Eberling was a missile and rocket enthusiast all his life, his mother Beverley told CNN. He was also an avid photographer, and often went to the Wendenberg Air Force Base in California to make images with launches.
At the time of his death, James's family was only aware of the missions that carried the wreckage of humans in space after being launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, said Beverley in a telephone interview with CNN from Lompoc, California.
But about a month after James's death, they discovered Elysium Space, and told the company they would like James's ash launched by Vendenberg AFB. In this way, the family could be there.
James's ash sample was placed in a small capsule embossed with his initials, JME.
Eberlings will send a message with him, which reads: "James, you were a grounded eagle on Earth – now you can rise up through Heaven."
The two years since her son's death were "nervous" for Beverly. She gave the company the ashes of her son, and at one point was skeptical that the mission would actually go ahead.
But Eberlings were patient and finally received an e-mail to tell them that the launch date was set for November 19, 2018, Beverley said, two years before the day James died.
The launch is delayed, but Beverley does not mind.
"We are happy that we could give our last wish and it means a lot to my husband and to me that we can do it for him," Beverley said. "And I think James is very, very happy to finally see that this will finally happen."