COMBERMERE – Tucked in the back of St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery in Combermere stands a black and grey monument, honouring a young man by the name of Tyrell Lee Piovesan.
Decorated with a new bouquet of flowers, the tribute clearly shows he was loved by his family. The engraving on the stone also confirms he was taken away from his loved ones too soon.
To a passer-by, the circumstances behind Tyrell’s death will remain a mystery.
But his mother, Glenna Young, is hoping to change that. Two years after his passing, she is using her son’s tragic death as a way to hopefully save the lives of others.
Young was born in Toronto, and was raised in Scarborough, Burlington and Brantford, where she lives today. Every summer, she and her family would visit the cottage in Combermere.
“I always say, that’s been my true home; it’s the one that I have always known,” she said. “When people ask me where I am from, I say I am from Combermere, I just commute from the city to work.”
She eventually had four children: Rebecca, Tyrell, Cordell (Cory) and Brodell (Brody.) Continuing with tradition, she would bring her kids up to the cottage in Combermere for summers full of fun.
As the kids reached their teenage years, they were employed by the Village of Barry’s Bay. Rebecca held the title of head lifeguard for several years, Tyrell worked for the works department – doing everything from cutting grass to picking up garbage – and Brody started out working at the tennis court down at the lakeshore.
Tyrell, who was born August 1, 1984, was your typical boy growing up.
“He was very mischievous,” Young recalled. “He loved animals, especially dogs.”
He was a very big boy for his age, his mother explained. While he was 21 months younger than his sister, by the time she was four and he was two years old, Tyrell was already towering over Rebecca.
As a young adult, he got involved in many sports. Standing around six feet, four inches in height, he was active in many football, rugby and hockey leagues.
“They said he was the only kid on the hockey team who never got into a fight,” Young said with a chuckle. “That’s only because he held them at arm’s length.”
He was a peacemaker and was known by his friends and family as a ‘gentle giant.’
When he finished high school, he managed to save enough money to make a down payment on a home in Brantford by the time he was only 21 years old.
He worked hard as a laser welder, a job that he took pride in doing.
“The biggest thing about Ty is that he enjoyed everything, he appreciated everything, he lived life to its fullest,” she said. “It was the simplest things in life that made him happy.”
No one would expect life would come to an abrupt end for Tyrell on June 17, 2011.
That weekend, Young and her husband had made their way up to Combermere, with the hopes of embarking on a trip to the East Coast with her mom and dad.
Meanwhile, Tyrell and Cory stayed behind in Brantford. On that warm Saturday afternoon, the two, along with a friend named Paul Watson, headed down to Grand River for a lazy afternoon tubing..
“As they passed by the swimming pool and underneath the bridge, they heard a rumble of thunder, so they decided they better get out,” Young said, piecing together information given to her by witnesses and police officials. “As soon as they heard the first thunder, they headed to shore.”
Three feet away from the shoreline, the three boys were knocked unconscious instantaneously. Although there was no thunderstorm overhead, they had been hit by a bolt of lightning.
Story continues in the June 27 issue of The Valley Gazette.