LIMA -- More than 1,000 people came out to pay their respects to Tyler Williams, one of four Bluffton University baseball players killed in a bus crash one week ago in Atlanta, Georgia.
Funeral services were held Thursday at the Phillipian Missionary Baptist Church in Lima. It was standing room only -- some relatives keened and friends wept while all honored this young man.
Tyler's cleats and baseball glove sat among flowers at the church. Red roses adorned his casket.
Relatives and friends remembered Tyler as a very driven and committed young man.
Jeff McClelland, Tyler's high school baseball coach, said, "Tyler had an inner fire that drove him. When Tyler made up his mind to do something, he did not stop until he had made it."
Tyler's brother said Tyler had a "very dynamic spirit."
Tyler had been a sophomore at Bluffton University, where he was majoring in business. He was a member of the varsity baseball team and served as the business manager of the university newspaper. He was also a member of New Greater Grace Baptist Church.
He graduated in 2005 from Lima Senior High School, where he was an honor student and played drums in the marching band. He had also played varsity football and baseball, was on the all-star bowling team and was on the soccer team.
He was a member of the African-American Student Organization and DECA, where he was a state award winner for his marketing project. He had played on an ACME summer baseball league team, bowled on a team at 20th Century Lanes, played Little League baseball and soccer and had been a Junior NBA basketball referee. He played on an all-star baseball team representing the United States in the Netherlands. He was an avid drum player and created his own record label, Gimmick Records.
Among his survivors are eight brothers and six sisters.
Bluffton University will hold a memorial service when the student body returns from spring break on Monday.