Members of the Baker community have come together to remember Tyler Jeck. Jeck, a freshman at Baker last year, passed away in a boating accident at Beaver Lake, Ark. this summer. An informal memorial service, along with a memory book and wristbands, have been planned to honor Jeck.
Photo by Pat Howell.
Junior Caleb Watts knew he would be friends with Tyler Jeck the minute they met. Watts, who was Jeck’s Orientation Leader last year, called Jeck one of the nicest guys he’s ever met.
“I don’t think you could make him mad,” Watts said. “And even if you did, he would have a really witty comment back, but it was never mean. He was very patient with people … I know he was a leader. He would have made a really big impact here.”
Jeck’s body was found July 19 in Beaver Lake after a boating accident in Arkansas, according to Benton County authorities. Jeck was reported missing July 16 after jumping into the lake.
While attending Baker University, Jeck was a member of the Baker University baseball team, as well as part of Baker University Student Senate.
- Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
- Collins Library, BU campus, Baldwin City
Head baseball coach Phil Hannon was out of town when he received the news about Jeck’s death.
“When you get a call like that, you kind of get numb to it … a feeling of disbelief,” Hannon said. “But once (I) got around the kids, once you hear from the family, it hits you pretty hard.”
Jeck, also known as TJ to several friends and to Hannon, was a pre-med major at Baker and was a 4.0 student.
Hannon had never experienced the death of a player before and says it is one of the toughest things he has ever had to deal with.
“In my program, I treat all these young men like they’re my own son. So, for Tyler it wasn’t anything different,” Hannon said.
Jeck is the fourth student that died during University President Pat Long’s tenure at Baker.
“I was out of town when I got the (news) about his death,” Long said. “And it’s a kick. It’s a physical reaction.”
After the university administration received the news about Jeck’s death, Athletic Director Teresa Yetmar arranged for a chartered bus to take members of the baseball team to Pittsburg, where Jeck was from, so they could be present for his funeral and memorial services.
“It was a tremendous support around Baker University and that’s what makes it so special,” Hannon said.
Long said the upcoming baseball season will be dedicated in Jeck’s honor, and Hannon said no player would wear Jeck’s jersey number, No. 32, for the next three years to honor and remember Jeck.
“Just because Tyler has passed and he’s gone doesn’t mean he isn’t part of the Baker family,” Hannon said.
To allow other Baker students a chance to remember Jeck, Watts and other members of student senate have planned an informal gathering at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the rotunda by Collins Library.
At that time, members of the Baker community will be able to sign a memory book that will then be given to Jeck’s family. Watts said members of the student senate will be handing out wristbands to honor Jeck.
“That way students have a chance to talk about Tyler and kind of remember him in more of an informal setting,” Watts said.