It’s hard to know what to write. What do you write about when a seventeen-year-old boy was walking through the park with his girlfriend Brittney, taking photos of the full moon, when they were approached by three gang members and Tyler was stabbed to death? His mother and stepfather, Violet and Steve, became friends of our after we photographed them in 2010. When we found out she had lost her son, our hearts broke. There was nothing we could do to make it better. All I could do was cook for them and offer to help in any way I could. I was honored when they asked me to do a photo shoot for them.
Grover Landscaping donated this beautiful young tree so it could be planted in Creekwood Park, where Tyler was killed. Saturday when we arrived to do the photos, the tree was surrounded by candles and Easter decorations. Tyler was greatly loved. He never caused any trouble and was kind to everyone he came in contact with. At his memorial service, one of his friends spoke of how when she was going through a very hard time in school and was being bullied, Tyler approached her and said, “Don’t let bad people bring a good person down.” They quickly became friends. I told her that I wish I had someone like Tyler when I was in school. He was an angel of sorts, the way he would lift others’ spirits and help them overcome emotional distress. He was a fantastic friend and a model son.
Tylor’s little tree bloomed, and it wouldn’t be family photos without him. Here is Tylor, Violet, Steve, Evan, Chris, and Brittney, smiling together in the spring daylight. Most of them are donning his beanies, which he was famous for wearing.
There are two charity events coming up in Tylor’s name. Proceeds will go to the Tylor Crippen/Creekwood Park Foundation, created to honor his memory and give back to the community. A bench with a plaque memorializing Tylor will join his tree in Creekwood Park, and an annual scholarship will be set up for a Johansen High School senior. Here’s the info – pass it on!
Benefit Show at Queen Bean Coffee House
1126 14th Street in Modesto
April 5th, 6-10pm
Enjoy live music and hipster coffee drinks!
Monday Matters at Fuzio, downtown Modesto
May 6th, 4-9pm
Enjoy happy hour with appetizer and drink specials!