People from all over the nation watched one church celebrate and remember the life of one special young man who touched the lives of so many.
As College Park Church quickly filled, leaving very few empty seats, it was clear that Tyler Trent was well loved.
All sorts of people gathered, from the entire Purdue football team that held a spot right in the middle of the room, to the many members of Trent’s home church who wanted to support the family in their community.
The memorial service Tuesday night shined a spotlight on the aspects of Trent’s life he was most remembered for, as well as the little nuances of his personality that made him Tyler.
While many will remember him for his cancer diagnosis and his love for the Boilermakers, those closest to him recalled his joy for life. This optimism through his faith kept him strong, even when his body was not — characteristics his family and friends will remember above all.
One part that specifically highlighted the complexities of Trent’s personality came in a testimony given by his cousin, Aaron Crull.
Crull spoke on behalf of Trent’s 26 cousins, and in his speech he mentioned asking all of the cousins to provide words that best described their family member.
Among those 26 words from cousins were characteristics like witty, strong, selfless, magnetic and wise. All of these and more were aspects that could be seen in Trent’s mannerisms and through his love for everyone around him.
Trent’s cousin Emily Crull, a senior at Ball State University, remembered her cousin specifically for his wisdom.
“(He had) a lot of weakness in his body, but strength in spirit,” Crull said. “He walked in wisdom and he lived by what he knew was true. He stood by what he believed, and I think the way he lived was very wise.”
All of the cousins donned their T-squared necklaces, a present that Trent had made for them on his last Christmas.
It was clear through the service that family members were holding each other close — literally and metaphorically — through the loss of their own. When Trent’s brother, Ethan Trent, began to cry during his speech, the cousins were quick to embrace their hurting family member.
Despite the sad moments of the memorial, there were also numerous moments of joy and laughter that many mentioned would have been Trent’s wishes for his service.
Some friends recalled Trent’s humor, a side not many saw unless they knew him personally.
Before passing, Trent made a video to be played at his funeral in which he even joked, “Outside the two tumors in my body, I’m very healthy.”
Tyler proved in that moment that he is still making the crowd laugh even after his passing.
His other friends recalled inside jokes they kept with him.
“So we had a running joke that whenever you see Tyler be like ‘Oh hey, is that Tyler Trent?’” said Colin Harmeyer, a sophomore in the Krannert School of Management and one of Trent’s roommates.
Harmeyer explained that was how they made light at how Tyler had become a “household” name on campus. He said it was common to have many people come up to the group to talk to Tyler, so they decided to greet each other with that familiar phrase.
A large aspect of Tyler’s life that was also touched on many times was his tremendous amount of faith and love for God.
David Blough gave a speech about getting to spend the last few weeks with Trent, and the honor of getting to witness his faith that made the Purdue quarterback choke up on stage.
“I kept telling myself that (the speech) didn’t have to be perfect, but Tyler deserved it to be good,” Blough said while eulogizing his co-captain. “And I just wanted to share what I hoped he would want to convey through it. … I just hope God can be glorified in it all.”
Although the night was a reminder of the passing of the beloved Purdue fan, it was a night where Trent was remembered for much more than his cancer story, and he was honored for the way he lived his life to the very end.
Trent still shone his light and optimism on the room: even as they carried out his casket, the whole room sang “You Are My Sunshine,” a family tradition that brightened the room in the very end.
As people left the service, each guest was handed a yellow board game piece engraved with the T-squared sign, as a reminder of the love that Trent had for board games and for fun in general.
“I absolutely always want to be impacting and providing hope, being the steward of those opportunities,” Trent said in the videos.
“I just want to leave a legacy of what the Lord can do when you allow him to work.”