(Feb. 15, 2019) Friends and family last week mourned the passing of Stephen Decatur High School graduate Tyler William Birch, 19, who was killed in a single-vehicle crash last Tuesday morning near the GlenRiddle community.
For 20-year-old Dakota Maycrantz, hearing of his former classmate’s death inspired him to write a song.
“I just wanted to pay tribute to him and to his life and to his family, of course, because they’re mourning and grieving,” Maycrantz said.
Maykrantz, who studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, fondly recalls he and Birch drawing together in middle school. The two drifted apart in high school, but still shared mutual friends. They both graduated in 2017.
“He was just always a really nice kid,” Maykrantz said. “I have a lot of respect for him.”
Maycrantz said Birch was the first person he knew who died. He wrote the lyrics to the song as a way to gain perspective on “how fragile life is and how fast things can be taken away.”
When it came time to record the song, he said he focused on the raw emotion of what happened.
“I was surprised it was such a positive reaction because, when I wrote it, I intended it to be really blunt and really dark,” Maycrantz said, adding the song was meant to “kind of reflect the bluntness and darkness of death itself.”
Since posting the song on Facebook, the video has received many reactions, shares and comments, including one from Birch’s sister, Kelsey.
“Thank you [Dakota]. It really touched my heart,” Kelsey said in the post. “He thought very highly of you, and only said kind things. I appreciate this very much. He would have loved it.”
A memorial service for Birch was held last Sunday afternoon at the Community Church of Ocean Pines. In lieu of flowers, a donation in his name may be sent to the Worcester County Humane Society at P.O. Box 48, Berlin, MD 21811.
Several of Birch’s friends also created a GoFundMe page to benefit his family.
According to the page, “We want them to be able to mourn with the least amount of stress added on top. So whether you share a fond memory from years ago with him, or you talked to him just the other day, hold his memory dearly. If you have any amount you can donate, it’ll go to a good cause.”
For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/tyler-william-birch-memorial-fund.