LIMA, Ohio - The cleats and baseball glove of a Bluffton University baseball player killed in a bus crash sat among flowers at the church where his funeral was held yesterday.
A memorial outside the sanctuary at Philippian Missionary Baptist Church, where hundreds gathered to remember 19-year-old Tyler Williams, included pictures from throughout his life - many with him in the uniforms of his high school and college teams.
Mourners also gathered in Lewisburg, Ohio, to say good-bye to Mr. Williams' teammate, 19-year-old Cody Holp. The two were among six people killed March 2 when their bus plunged off an overpass in Atlanta, injuring the coach and other teammates.
Investigators say the driver apparently mistook an exit ramp for a highway lane, continuing along it without stopping at a "T" intersection at the top of the ramp. The crash also killed the bus driver and his wife, Jerome and Jean Niemeyer, and players David Betts of Bryan and Scott Harmon of Lima.
At Mr. Williams' funeral yesterday, Bluffton University President James Harder described the outfielder as a purposeful man who always wanted to get things done.
"Tyler was already making a difference in this world," he said. "A difference that will now be missing."
Mr. Williams graduated from Lima Senior High School in 2005. The school's baseball team plans to wear wrist bands featuring his jersey number, 2, this season. One of the bands was buried with him.
Mr. Williams' brother, Aaron, said his younger brother demanded respect when he joined him at Bluffton, even from some of the older students other freshmen avoided.
"I learned a lot about living from this guy just because he let it hang out at any time," Aaron Williams said.
"A week of his life was like a month of someone else's," he said.