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Hundreds Mourn at De Martini Funeral

An estimated 400 people crowded into El Cerrito's Sunset View Mortuary for Tyler De Martini's funeral on Tuesday. The 18-year-old died last week after a car hit him as he skateboarded on Marin Avenue near Albany.

It was standing room only, with many friends and loved ones spilling into hallways and an overflow room at Sunset View Mortuary on Tuesday to remember Tyler De Martini

The 18-year-old Berkeley resident, and former El Cerrito High School student, died last week after a along Marin Avenue near the Albany border.

De Martini's funeral took place in El Cerrito on Tuesday morning, with an estimated 400-plus attendees. Afterward, he was buried in a private ceremony for family at St. Joseph Cemetery in San Pablo.

Best friend Jordan Riker, in his eulogy, reflected on meeting De Martini in sixth grade at baseball try-outs at Castro Park. He described Tyler as a "short and stocky kid with a buzz cut and the biggest attitude." 

Riker recalled an early practice together, where Tyler gave Riker the nickname "Crazy Legs" because of Riker's running style. That day, Tyler, who was four or five inches shorter than Riker, swooped Riker up and carried him around the field.

Afterward, waiting for practice to begin, the two boys sat talking, "and I just felt like I'd known this kid all my life. He had the best ears. He always wanted to hear what I had to say."

Riker said, in one game, as Tyler slid into second base, a member of the other team hurled a ball toward the baseman to get an out. The ball struck Tyler square in the jaw: "There was blood gushing everywhere." The coach told Tyler to leave the game, but "Tyler just stood up and said, 'No, coach. We gotta win.'"

Riker continued: "He was always thinking of others first: family first, friends first."

Tyler played baseball through ninth grade at El Cerrito High, said Riker, then, to everyone's surprise, stopped abruptly. 

Riker said he remembers Tyler's explanation: "I quit baseball because I'm in love with skateboarding. I just can't keep my feet away from the skateboard."

De Martini's cousin, Mimi Cammack, choked back her tears as she spoke in her eulogy about her cousin's "fearlessness, persistence and athleticism," among other qualities.

"He was loyal," she said. "He brought smiles and laughter to the happiest of occasions and also the most difficult ones."

Cammack described Tyler as "a hero to my son," and urged those in attendance to follow Tyler's example and "Laugh often, love passionately and live fearlessly."

Godfather Chris Clark noted, in his remarks, Tyler's unconventional approach to life.

"Tyler didn't live his life in a textbook," he said. "He didn't care much for the classroom.... I want to be as fearless as Tyler was, though I'll probably never jump off of 10 stairs on a skateboard. At that moment, there was nothing that held Tyler back, when he had his skateboard under his feet."

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for updates about pedestrian traffic safety issues, and other updates about Tyler De Martini. 

Read more about Tyler here on Patch.

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email at albany@patch.com.

Jamie B February 09, 2012 at 11:34 PM
@ Deirdre. the other day when I said he was throwing up drug sign(THZZ) and known to smoke pot, you said he looks like a 'normal' teenager. I hope this video helps you understand what kind of teenager he was. I have worked with delinquent children, the number one red flag for me reading about him is how many school he jump around and then he was independent studies. I never treated him but from what a gather he very well may have ADHD and need a outlet but with all the stuff on his facebook account he seem to be a user. I would like to know what the toxicology report finding were. Was he high/drunk that day? The poor driver has to live with. Tyler was in the wrong and now the driver life will be change forever. I hope his death will save someone but as far as I can see I have not seen any changes in the use of helmets. So sad. Just maybe if he was force to wear a helmet when he was younger he would have gotten use to it but now.
ECHS February 10, 2012 at 01:06 AM
A young man lost his life. Yet, you find it in yourself to still try to "diagnose" and criticize him from what you saw? And at the same time feel sympathetic for JUST the driver? It saddens me how unthoughtful your comment is. Your point could have been proven in a more sensitive light.
John Doh! February 10, 2012 at 02:04 AM
I also feel that Jamie's comment is inappropriate, too soon, and too much conjecture. My thoughts are with everone who is in mourning.
Amanda Azevedo February 10, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Honestly: how many of us have never smoked pot or drank alcohol. Really. Does it make it a great thing for a kid? No, but the point is, he seems to have been a normal teenager. And based on the outpouring of support and overall serious mourning through our community, it is clear and obvious that he was a well loved and kind person. I've read SO many comments addressing his kindness and warm heart. More than once, I have read tributes from not-so-popular kids about how Tyler was always kind and respectful to them, and what a positive, upbeat person he was. In my book, his parents should be proud of the mark he left in people's lives. And undoubtedly, my heart goes out to the driver, who obviously is forever changed as well. Absolutely. There is no good that can come of criticizing a life gone too soon. I hope we are simply misunderstanding your intention, Jamie.
Emilie Raguso February 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Folks -- Just wanted to remind everyone to do their best to stay respectful and civil, especially on stories like this that strike an emotional chord. Comments that are disrespectful, or that include personal attacks, will be deleted. I think there's room for everyone to voice their opinions in a respectful manner.
Nick February 11, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I am saddened by Tyler's loss. One must only look at the YouTube video to see Tyler chugging vodka and smoking dope. While he was a great guy, his use of drugs and alcohol may have affected his judgement that day, in a way that has affected hundreds of others. Just something to think about. Don't normalize it, please.
Ivan G Ackley February 16, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Being one of his closest friends, I know what kind of person he was. He was a smart, kind, loyal and talented person. He was the type of person that would offer his condolences to anybody who had lost someone, and never ever leave hurtful, disrespectful and inflammatory comments on an article about their funeral. Your comments say much less about what kind of person he was, and much more about the kinds of person you are. PS. That "thizz" sign you mentioned earlier, yes it did begin as a reference to ecstacy...in about 2002. It has since taken on much greater meaning, and represents a musical genre, an entire culture, and the bay area as a whole. I know those kids. They are all just regular skaters, not gang member in the least. Those were not gang signs they were throwing up, those are our generation's version of a thumbs-up, or peace sign. Learn a bit about popular culture.
lmj December 31, 2013 at 03:11 PM
I did not know Mr. De Martini but i would like to offer my condolences alone with a hope from the bible at Revelation 21:4 - If you would like to learn more about the hope given to us in the bible please feel free to contact me via email at lyds1186@gmail.com

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