By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The locals of the city of Bostwick are grieving the loss of one of their beloved community members, Tommy Tyson, who passed away at the age of 60 on March 24. Bostwick United Methodist Fellowship Hall is hosting a memorial for Tyson on Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. “We will be having a celebration of Tommy’s life,” said Shirley Cooley, Tyson’s cousin and legal guardian since 1998. “He loved people. He loved to entertain. He loved music and singing! He never said a bad word about anybody. He loved everyone.”
Tyson was born on April 14, 1953 in Atlanta with serious health issues that prompted doctors to believe Tyson would not live past the age of 12. During birth, the umbilical cord became entangled around Tyson’s neck, causing a loss of oxygen to his brain. He was born with hydrocephalus and scoliosis. But Tyson was a fighter, living far longer than anyone could have anticipated. Both of Tyson’s parents died in 1971, when Tyson was 18 years old, leaving him in the care of his brother, Danny Tyson, and sister-in-law, Shelia Tyson of Bostwick. When Cooley took over his care, Tyson would live with her for months at a time. “He really began to bloom when he moved to Bostwick. The whole town embraced him.
He was active during the day with Unlimited Services in Monroe and he was active with the church and choir a lot,” recalled Cooley. Although Tyson struggled with a mental handicap, he became rather self-sufficient and a caregiver himself. Shelia Tyson taught Tyson how to ride the bus and overcome his fear of escalators. Tyson created a special bond with Cooley’s mother and helped her through her own health issues. “My mother lost her vision to Macula degeneration, so Tommy became her eyes. He walked his little buggy to take out the trash several times a week… Mother treated Tommy as if he was her child. They truly loved and complimented each other,” said Cooley. Cooley recalled how Tyson was most joyous when around music and singing. It was his passion, said Cooley. Cooley hopes people will remember Tyson for his unrelenting kindness and caring child-like spirit.
“Tommy came to earth, most people believe, to teach us how to really love each other. Everyone loved Tommy and he loved everybody,” said Cooley. “If you have a favorite memory, or would like to share a story, I’m sure that we would all enjoy it!” Cooley asked that in lieu of flowers, Tyson would have preferred donation to help Bostwick United Methodist Church.