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TYLER Mitchell BLAKSLEE, Born July 24, 1977, age 44, was sadly and tragically taken from us on the stormy night of July 23, 2022, in Grand Rapids.  For those who wonder what happened, very concisely, he was celebrating his next day birthday at a GR popular outdoor bar.  He was standing at an open doored shipping container bar when a huge gust of wind suddenly came up from the passing storm and slammed the heavy steel door of the container, trapping Tyler between the door and the bar which crushed him and broke his ribs.  His heart was pierced by a broken rib and he internally bled to his death.  Now that the reason why he was suddenly taken from us is out of the way, we can focus on Tyler’s life and the many layers that made him who he was.

Tyler, (TMB) was born in Lansing, 44 years ago to Jerry and Karan Blakslee.  His older sister is Stephanie (Sunny) Han who lives in Bethany, Oregon with her 13 year old amazing daughter, Olivia, who is also Tyler’s only niece. He has an uncle, Stephen Blakslee, an aunt, Suzanne Leven and several cousins.

Tyler attended Lansing schools and graduated from Lansing Sexton, received his BA degree from Michigan State University and his Master’s degree from Oakland University in Detroit.  He first became a teacher at Lansing Eastern High School after he graduated from MSU and attended Olivet College and Oakland University while teaching at Lansing Eastern.

Tyler, as you know by now, became an amazing teacher at Eastern.  He taught English and Literature within the International Baccalaureate program at Eastern and was awarded “Teacher of the Year” during his teaching years.

Tyler was a teacher who became many things to all of his students.  To some he was a mentor, to others a counselor, to others a guiding friend and to some he was all of these. He was very unique in his teaching skills and methods and demanded the best from those he taught and he taught them how to become their best.  He became an influence in their lives that would carry so many students thru hard times in their lives and gave others the courage to keep in school and even further to attend college.  Tyler was a Master Teacher who became such an important figure in many of his student’s lives.

Tyler, throughout his life, had grown a passion for reading and writing and became an expert and scholar in those endeavors which guided him to become the person he was. Books, literature, poetry and writing became a big part of his life and it reflected how he taught and how he lived.

With his God given talent in prose and writing, he became ordained and certified as a marriage Officiant and as word and witness of his amazing and unique ceremonies spread, he became a much sought after Officiant and has married many of his friends, their friends and others.

Tyler had many levels to him and another level which became a huge part of his life was his love for music. It influenced the way he taught and how he lived.  He joined his first band when he was 14 years old and was a member of many bands, throughout his life.  He sang and wrote many of the band’s songs and recorded a number of CD’s that many of those reading this obituary and who followed his music, currently own.

While teaching at Eastern, Tyler’s love and passion for the classic horror movie scene naturally guided him to start a horror movie club for him and his students as an after school exercise. The “Teenage Werewolves Horror Film Fiend Club” as it was called, became very popular as it went online with members numbering in the thousands.  Until his passing, Tyler also held film screening sessions at the Historic Howell Theater, in Howell, Mi.  which many attended to watch a selected horror film then dissect and discuss the film after its viewing.

Tyler’s love for the outdoors, led him to many friendships with fellow backpackers and he and his friends visited numerous National Parks throughout his many travels.  He would often go off on his own to camp and decompress.  He loved to lie in his hammock tied between two trees, listen to the quietness and sounds of nature and read one of many of his favorite novels.  He also enjoyed birding while being in the outdoors.

Tyler’s nightlife activities included visiting many bars with his friends and he became a bartender many years ago, well known for his humor and professional gravitas and worked at many drinking establishments in the East Lansing area.

Tyler left the teaching profession just before the Covid outbreak and moved to Grand Rapids to join his many friends that had moved there throughout the years, and to start a new profession at Northpointe Bank as a Senior Instructional Designer.  He has been appreciated there as he was tasked with rewriting the companies many training manuals and informational documents. Naturally, Tyler also acquired a bartending job at Stella’s, a very popular nightlife destination in Grand Rapids and again reunited with his old friends and in the process, made many new ones.  One of Tyler’s new co-workers at Stella’s became much more than just a co-worker she became his soulmate.  Heather Sekerak became the most important person in Tyler’s life, and he in hers’. They had dedicated their lives and souls to each other and were planning a life’s journey together.

Tyler had an amazing but very short life, and while he was with us he made his mark and lasting impression on many, many people.  His passing is so sad and tragic on so many levels. He will be missed by all of us and has left a missing piece never to be replaced.  He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a soulmate, a friend, a teacher, a mentor, a writer, a scholar, a musician, an outdoorsman, a bartender…He was all of those and more.  While we all will miss him so very much, he will be with us forever. Rest In Peace TMB..we love you!!.. and we will see you again, on the other side.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, August 7, 2022, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Lansing Brewing Company, 518 E. Shiawassee Street, Lansing, MI 48912, in the Stockhouse event room.  Another celebration of life will also be held Sunday, August 14, 2022, from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at St. Adalbert’s 5th Street Hall, 701 5th Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49504. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Audubon Society.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Tyler’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, 616-452-3006.



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13 Condolences

  1. Heidi Schneider on July 29, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    Tyler, I am writing this as if you are still here, because I have not yet accepted your departure. Not even the morning after, when a baby sparrow was sunning himself (eyes closed) on the back of my deck chair, and allowed me to stroke his chest and talk to him…not even when Siouxsie and the Banshees blared through my radio the afternoon after…you were and still are my spirit twin…I adored you. I wish you knew how much you were loved, appreciated and thought of… A true LEGEND in his own time. I’ve known you since you were a baby. Beautiful. You were my baby….I loved taking care of you. As an adult, you …damn, kid…you blew me away! I remember when you got your first tattoo…I remember the love you and my Dad (Uncle Kim) shared you two could go for hours talking about Books or Booze…or anything in-between….YOU…made him remember things that brought a smile to his face…I loved you for that! You had so many PRECIOUS gifts. Thank you so much for sharing them with me and with all the people who adored you. There is a hole in my heart, Ty. I know you would say, love …you will be okay, and.. you know why? Cuz you are one kick ass chick. Which always made me laugh…. from my heart to you, Tyler…I will love you forever. Keep everyone entertained until I see you again. All my love, Heidi…

  2. Jason Blahnik on July 30, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    I knew Tyler for just under a year, introduced to him by Heather Sekerak. In that brief time I grew to love, respect, and admire him. Like Tyler I went to school to be a teacher (though I never actually taught professionally), found happiness in books and film, and enjoyed deep, meaningful conversation about the art that we loved. We immediately bonded over music, and often haunted each other’s bars of employment.
    This won’t stop hurting for a long time. Everyone that knew Tyler loved him dearly, and never tired of the stories he told. It felt like he lived multiple lives in his years on this mortal coil, as evidenced by his endless stories.
    Rest in Peace, Tyler. You may be gone from this earth. But you’ll never be gone from our hearts.

  3. Sally and Larry Gardnet on July 31, 2022 at 10:01 pm

    Remember Tyler with great friends on an outing at Lake Cumberland. Jerry getting of the houseboat catching Turtles for all the children aboard…Tyler and my two boys where thrilled to have pets during our Lake stay…Tyler joined Sally and I with his Mother and Father at a few MSU tailgates…Life is full of mistories, this is a very, very sad one…tears for the family and many friends from Sally, Larry, Dustin and Patrick Gardner. Love you!

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