Tyler Armstrong Keister

Tyler Armstrong Keister

Kind, loving, sensitive, quick-witted, hysterical

Tyler was a kindhearted, witty person who loved making people laugh. His father says that he
misses the way Tyler would giggle when he was about to say something that would make people laugh. Tyler stood up for people being bullied. He was also very athletic and spent a lot of time playing disc golf, snowboarding, biking, and walking through state parks with his sister. In high school, Tyler played football and was extremely proud to be on a team that went from hardly winning games to being state champions in his senior year.

Tyler enjoyed the simple pleasures of life, like spending time with his family, friends, and his
Goldendoodle, Tedi. Growing up, Tyler was close to his brother, Matt, and sister Courtney. They
loved doing puzzles together, and to prolong the joy, he would go to bed with the last few puzzle
pieces so that they would have to work on it again the next day. One of Tyler’s favorite traditions
was Christmas eve, when he would spend the night at his aunt and uncle’s house and get to watch
his younger cousin’s faces light up experiencing Santa’s visit. He especially enjoyed eating
Christmas breakfast afterward.

Tyler was an intelligent person who succeeded at school, so after graduating high school he
attended college at Wilmington University. Unfortunately, his addiction kept him from finishing college; he was one class away from a degree when he passed. More than anything, Tyler wanted to stay in recovery and finish school. Beginning recovery, Tyler moved to Colorado, and while he loved it there, it was difficult for him to be so far away from his family. He was especially close to his grandparents and was devastated not being around them. As an adult, Tyler worked as a banker and a banquet server. He valued his job and his coworkers and appreciated the diversity of people he got to be around, particularly the pets he met in the bank drive-thru.

Though Tyler’s addiction brought him shame, his family says they were never ashamed of him, only
worried for his safety. Tyler’s parents say, “After Tyler’s death we were open about his addiction. We were all suffering in silence because of the stigma. Addiction doesn’t define who Tyler was, and we were extremely proud of the kind, sensitive person he was. We felt that this happened in our family for a reason and that we would continue to make a difference in the local community for him, so we started the nonprofit, ‘atTAcK addiction.’” Tyler’s best friend “Big Rick”, who also struggled with substance use disorder (SUD) but is now in recovery, speaks to young people for this nonprofit about the risks of SUD. They host a 5K rally every year around Ty’s birthday to remember loved ones in their community that were lost to addiction and to celebrate those who continue to fight for their recovery.

Tyler’s parents, Don and Jeanne Keister, provided the information for this narrative.

March 1, 1988 – December 23, 2012-Age 24

Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower

Narrative Writer: Victoria Estes

Share this story from The INTO LIGHT Project

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

More Into Light Stories

Read more biographies from this exhibit.
Devin Hart Bearden

Devin Hart Bearden

Caring, athletic, bright, witty, attractive At 6’2”, Devin was lanky, handsome, and a natural athlete. Equally at home on a skateboard, snowboard, or when surfing, he was a pleasure to watch; so fluid and graceful. He was a good soccer and baseball player and loved hiking in nature or being at the beach, especially on the annual family beach trips to Hatteras in North Carolina. [...]
Read More »
Erin Allen

Erin Allen

Her life was way too short Erin was beautiful, smart, and talented. She was a poet and writer and loved singing and dancing. Erin enjoyed nature and animals and could be found outdoors most of the time. She had a photographic memory, loved to read, and knew a little about everything. [...]
Read More »
Trevor Lawrence Armstrong

Trevor Lawrence Armstrong

Wanted to please everyone Growing up, Trevor was adventurous and loved doing things outdoors. He spent most of his time riding bikes, skateboarding, running, and playing lacrosse, amongst other things. When he wasn’t outside, he was hanging with his friends or watching wrestling. He bonded with his younger brother Evan over cartoons, video games, and wrestling. His parents frequently took the boys out to WWE matches, which they adored. Their family took many trips together, making memories in beautiful places like the Florida Keys, Coastal Maine, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Mexico, LA, Las Vegas, and Disney World. [...]
Read More »
Rachel Leigh (Gentsch) Baynard

Rachel Leigh (Gentsch) Baynard

Loving, kind, empathetic, nature-lover Rachel was a generous, funny, free spirit with a contagious laugh. She was loving and kind with empathy for others, which matched her chosen career as a critical care nurse. She loved her profession and regularly spent time studying to increase her knowledge base. Rachel didn’t limit her care for people to her professional life. She reached out to people on the street or those she heard about from friends and did what she could to help. [...]
Read More »

Bring an Exhibit to Your State

Interested in bringing The INTO LIGHT Project to your State?
Find out how you can make this happen.