Candlelight vigil for MU student Tyler Romaker held Monday at Traditions Plaza

Hunter Stoll: “This was a man that you either liked or you loved.”
Memorial created for Tyler Romaker's vigil at Traditions Plaza on Monday, Sept. 12.

Family, friends and strangers alike showed their support for the family of Tyler Romaker on Monday at Traditions Plaza. As people arrived, they were silently handed a candle. The only greetings exchanged were hugs.

Romaker, 22, died in a motorcycle crash on Sept. 2.

Romaker was a member of ROTC, Marching Mizzou and the Delta Chi fraternity. Traditions Plaza was filled, with many having to stand due to lack of space. Romaker’s fellow ROTC members sat on one side of the plaza, and his fraternity brothers sat on the other.

The vigil began with introductions by Romaker’s Delta Chi pledge father Cole Lawson and the Romaker family’s priest. Lawson then offered up the microphone to those who wanted to share memories of Romaker.

Romaker’s friends spoke of his big ears, big smile and love of country singer Toby Keith. Romaker was remembered as selfless and always willing to help others out.

“He was a light to everyone,” Ahren Bohanen, a friend of Romaker’s, said. “He was everyone’s best friend. If you knew Tyler, you were his friend.”

Hunter Stoll, a fellow ROTC member and friend, said Romaker helped spark his interest in the ROTC program. He remembered seeing Romaker in his uniform during a class they had together.

“Tyler made no enemies,” Stoll said. “This was a man that you either liked or you loved.”

Lawson read a Facebook post he had shared after he heard the news of Romaker’s death.

“‘I don’t always express how grateful I am to my friends, but I hope you knew how much you meant to me,’” Lawson said, quoting his post.

As the vigil came to a close, a final roll call was conducted by Senior Military Instructor Justin Hardy. Hardy called Romaker’s name three times.

After the third time, a cadet replied, “Cadet Romaker is no longer with us, Master Sergeant.”

Edited by Kyra Haas |

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