Tyler's Tree: Memorial Celebration Held For Teen Killed In Jet Ski Accident

By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

August 26, 2011 Updated Aug 26, 2011 at 10:11 PM EDT

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Nearly 200 people gathered Friday afternoon to remember 17-year-old Tyler Andreas.

A tree was planted and a plaque was dedicated in his honor at Columbia City High School.

"I kept telling myself to remember that this is a celebration," said one of Tyler Andreas' Columbia City Football coaches.

Andreas died on July 3, 2011 while jet skiing on Shriner Lake in Whitley County.

An autopsy report revealed after Andreas was thrown from his jet ski, he died from an undetected heart condition.

"It's been very difficult. It has been very helpful to have all his friends and all the community come forward. Help us out in anyway they can, just a phone call or a card. Any little bit helps," said Tyler's Mother Michelle Andreas.

"Actually I was really nervous about coming down here. I didn't know how I was going to react. It's special and it means a lot to the family," said Tyler's Cousin Nichole Winther.

Tyler was all set to be Senior at Columbia City High School.

He was a good student and a proud member of the Columbia City Football team.

"We saw a lot of people at the funeral and the viewing but this is after wards and time has passed. It really means a lot to see that people still remember, still care," said Tyler's Older Brother Austin Andreas.

"You never want to be alone in a situation like that and to have everybody here, grieving and just thinking of him, really helps," added Tyler's Mother Mrs. Andreas.

"I know he's always with me. I hold his competitive spirit. He just keeps pushing me on. I always grew up trying to beat him. He always grew up trying to beat me. I just keep trying to do the best I can for him, continued Tyler's Brother Austin.

Tyler's tree was an idea seeded and sponsored by community members.

"He was a rock star. He was a dynamo, very electric. Everyone loved him," recalled Tyler's Cousin Matthew Winther.

"I'm going to miss him a lot," cried Matthew Winther.

"Tyler represented friendship. He was a friend to his team, to several classmates in the community," explained Tyler's Father William Andreas.

"His team. That's what got me shook up was just seeing there reaction and how much of a family they are," said Tyler's Cousin Lauren Winther.

Family members told Indiana's NewsCenter Tyler's tree is a place of comfort them.

A place where they can visit and remember the good times they had with Tyler.

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