I’ve been busy working on a very special quilt block dedicated to the memory of our son, Tyler Grant Utley. It is to be included in the 16th Annual Washington Regional Transplant Community’s Donor Family Remembrance Quilt. Each quilt honors those who have so generously donated the gift of life. Tyler’s square was pinned on April 11, 2011 at the annual family gathering.
Our dear son Tyler was born December 1st, 1981 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He passed away on January 22nd, 2010 at Stafford Hospital Center in Stafford, Virginia at the age of 28.
Tyler was happiest when he was among friends and family. His smile was contagious and when he laughed he did so without restraint. He always enjoyed a good game of pool or a round of golf. Whether he was camping, fishing or just walking the dogs along the river, Tyler loved the outdoors. If you watched Tyler while he gazed upon a sunset, a starry sky or a tree filled landscape, you knew he appreciated the beauty of our earth.
Tyler loved hard work. If it didn’t make him sweat it wasn’t worth doing. He could swing a hammer as well as he swung an ax. A concrete walkway to our front door bears the signs of his labor. You knew he had put in a hard day’s work when you saw the pride in his eyes as he showed you the blisters upon his hands.
Everyone who knew Tyler, knew that if he could have had one wish come true, it would have been to serve his country as a soldier. Although his dream was not realized, Tyler was a true patriot who loved God and his country and the ideas and principals on which it was founded.
On Friday, January 22nd, 2010, shortly before 5:00 p.m., we said our final goodbyes as Tyler was taken to surgery to carry out his wishes to be an organ donor. Although we mourn the loss of our beloved son, brother, grandson, husband, and father, it is of great consolation to us that through his passing he has given the gifts of life, future, and hope to the recipients and their families.
My son, how proud I am to be your father. One day I will meet you in heaven at the cabin you will build alongside a river and we will cut wood together and compare the blisters upon our hands. Until then, oh how I will miss you. I love you. Love, Dad