Although usually quiet and reserved, his friends describe Tyler Jacob Wessel as charismatic and kind. He would talk to people he didn’t necessarily know who may have been new to a class or a team. He would find some connection with them and would make them feel included.
“If your body language was signaling that you were feeling left out, he was really good at finding some weird or unique way to connect with you,” Hunter King, a childhood friend of Wessel’s, said.
Wessel died at 19. He is survived by his parents Ralf and Cindy, and his older brother Andrew. Wessel was a passionate and dedicated student athlete. He played varsity basketball for the Parkway Central High School Colts in Chesterfield, Missouri, as well as soccer, flag football, tennis and track during his high school career.
“But basketball is really the only sport that he was so tedious at,” Hugh Hodson, childhood friend and college roommate, said.
According to his high school basketball coach, Aaron Mueller, Wessel was consistently the best shooter in the gym. Mueller would regularly hold practices before 6 a.m. Wessel rarely missed. His friends and teammates can attest to his dedication to the sport.
“He was a really good player, but he was an even better person and teammate,” Mueller said.
Mueller said Wessel was a hard worker in the classroom and involved in many clubs and activities at IU. Wessel was also pursuing a degree in operations management and a minor in business analytics at the Kelley School of Business.
He was a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and was involved in the Supply Chain and Operations Management Association, Tee Off at Kelley club and the Business World of Sports club through Kelley. Prior to attending IU, Wessel also was involved in Parkway Central’s student council for four years and was in the National Honors society for two years.
Wessel had also spent much of his time volunteering. He volunteered with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, where he trained other volunteers and priced items to help raise money for the local community.
Additionally Wessel spent over a year as a youth tennis instructor at Sunset Country club, both teaching and establishing relationships with the kids and their families. From the age of 13, Wessel refereed youth soccer games for Catholic Youth Council Sports.
Coach Mueller appreciates how friendly Wessel was with kids as well, reflecting on instances where Wessel had spent time bonding with his sons.
“He always took them under his wing and was so friendly to them, and that means a lot to me,” Mueller said.
Additionally, Alpha Sigma Phi has started a GoFundMe, with a goal of raising $10,000. In honor of Wessel, this money will be donated to CHADS’ Coalition for Mental Health.
If you or someone you know needs support, counseling is available through IU Counseling and Psychological Services. The CAPS crisis line at 812-855-5711 is available 24/7.