Hundreds attend vigil for Tyler Wentz, Henrico teen killed in surfing accident

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Their voices trembling, candles flickering in their hands, dozens of students shared their memories of Tyler Wentz at a September 16 vigil held at Godwin High School’s Axcelle Stadium.

The high school junior died September 13 after a surfing accident in North Carolina two weeks earlier.

“All Tyler ever wanted was to help people, you know?” said Schuyler Purdy, whose family Wentz was with on vacation. “I think he had a positive impact on everyone he came across.”

At the vigil in the football stands, Purdy and hundreds of others lit candles in Tyler’s memory.

“I think the support everyone has shown is incredible- all these people coming out trying to remember and respect Tyler the best we can,” Purdy said.

A die-hard Red Sox fan with an infectious optimism, Wentz showed charisma far beyond his years.

“Tyler had a rare ability to relate to people of all ages,” said longtime family friend David Coldren. “He was just in such great humor all the time.”

He was a son, brother, and friend to many. He was also a teammate, playing baseball and training for his first year on the football team. In his 16 years, friends say he brought light and love to all around him.

“He grew up to be a good man, and I can tell you right now, he’s the kind that I would want my kids to grow up to be like,” said Coldren.

As Purdy and others grieve, they will remember Wentz’ life as a gift to them.

“Everyone that knew him should be thankful and feel blessed because they knew a great person,” said Purdy.

For information on how to donate to a memorial fund for Tyler, click here.

A celebration of life service will take place September 18 on field 9 at the Tuckahoe Little League Baseball Field at 7 p.m.

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