Coburn remembered as caring, competitive


Tyler Lee Coburn Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Tyler skipped a year ahead in high school math classes. But Tiffany struggled with math. As a freshman in high school, Tyler ended up in his sister’s geometry class when she was a junior.

One day after school, Tyler went home and tattled on his sister to his parents. The reason she was struggling, he said, is because she talked through the class and didn’t pay attention.

“He knew, to me, that it was very confusing,” she said. “And when I would talk, he would look at me (in class) like, ‘Quiet.’”

He spent his evenings guiding Tiffany through their homework, reviewing problems until she got them right.

“That was the kind of person that he was,” she said. “He was always very competitive and very eager to please. He would always push others. He would call you out on it and be like, ‘I know you can do better.’”

Tyler was killed in a car crash in the early hours of Feb. 24 in Goshen, Ind. He was home for the weekend to celebrate his birthday with his Goshen friends. He would have turned 22 March 1.

Tyler played intramural basketball at IU and was such an avid Minnesota Vikings fan that he named his childhood hamster after the team’s former quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

His original plan included studying accounting at IU. But one semester in high school of interning at a bank made him change course. Instead, he channeled his love of fitness and pushing people to succeed into studying kinesiology with a health fitness specialist concentration.

Tyler used his major to help his sister get back in shape. He gave Tiffany, a new mom to a 7-month-old boy, running shoes and a workout plan for Christmas.

He was taking a class this semester on nutrition counseling. He was supposed to design an exercise and diet plan for an overweight child. But Tyler ended up working with one of the children’s mothers instead.

“He was just excited about improving people’s health,” she said. “He’d get excited every time I lost a few pounds because he was helping me, and he’d feel the same way about her.”

His friends at IU said Tyler was a high-achieving student who had no patience for free time. His roommate, Gabriel Medvinsky, said Tyler developed six separate business plans last semester for fitness-related companies.

Medvinsky described him as “freakishly organized.” He said Tyler gained comfort from being a creature of habit and maintaining a balance between a regular daily workout, studying and being the life of the party.

When friends cleaned out his room last week, they found yet another indicator of Tyler’s competitive, overachieving personality. He and his friends played a game in which they would try to steal a wooden mallard duck from each others’ residences.

The duck had to be left out in the open, and the thief had to make a clean break. Keeping the duck for as long as possible became fierce competition.

They found the duck in Tyler’s room, held down by duct tape and fenced in by wires.
“He had it booby trapped,” Tiffany said. “That was very Tyler.”

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