May 31, 1987 - May 13, 2011
Ty Lorenzi was a NASA engineer, a poet, a mentor, a world traveler, a ski bum, a marathon runner, a sailor, a backpacker, and the most unique person we have ever met. Tyler was known to make good friends with a stranger on an airplane or to bring a homeless man home for dinner. He had an effect on people—an organic, genuine way of living positively that excited anyone he interacted with. Wherever he went, he always said it was "a great place to meet someone."
Tyler (Ty) Lorenzi grew up in the Bay Area, in Mill Valley, California. As the son of Kurt Lorenzi and Robin Wein, and the big brother to Lauren (Loo) Lorenzi, Ty lived a full, adventurous and loving life. As a curious little kid, Ty was equally interested in how the playground was built as he was in with playing with the other kids. This desire to understand how things work stayed with Ty through his engineering degree at Northwestern University and professional career at NASA. Ty spent his happy childhood and high school years surfing, playing on his high school varsity soccer team, snowboarding and constructing Lego masterpieces (this lasted far beyond childhood!). Ty had an innate respect and admiration of nature, manifested in his dedication to environmental causes as well as love for the outdoors. You could always find Ty outside, whether mountain climbing, backpacking, skiing, or simply reflecting at his favorite spot on top of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County.
In the fall of 2005, Tyler left his West Coast life and family in California to attend Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. Despite the freezing winters, flat topography and tiny Lake Michigan waves, Northwestern was a perfect fit for Ty. During his time at NU, Ty was an active and enthusiastic member of the Sailing Team, a smiling counselor in the Project Wildcat backpacking orientation group, an accomplished Engineering major with internships at Sharpie and NASA, and a brother of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. With all of these activities, Ty still somehow found time to regularly volunteer at a Chicago soup kitchen and take part in countless adventures with his expansive pool of friends.
After graduation in 2010, Ty traveled to South America to visit his sister, Loo, in Chile and Argentina. After visiting the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador, and the British Virgin Islands, Ty returned to Chicago to pick up his car and the remainder of his belongings and drive home to California. Halfway there, Ty received a call from his former colleagues at NASA Langley Research Center. They wanted him to return to Hampton, Virginia, where he’d previously interned to work as a full−time research engineer−and they wanted him to start in a week. So, in classic Ty form, he turned the car around and began the trip back to the East Coast.
Upon arriving in Virginia, Ty decided that any place was “a great place to meet someone,” and he soon found a wide range of friends, including students at NASA, co-workers, kickball enthusiasts, roommates and neighbors. With an unlimited supply of energy, he conducted materials research, which included a study on the effect of bug splatter on airplane wings, participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, and always found time to lend a hand to those around him. Ty’s easy-going smile, fun−loving attitude and comic wit are the center of many cherished memories for his friends in Virginia.
On May 13th, 2011, a few weeks before his 24th birthday, our friend Ty died in a boating accident on the James River. In an effort to keep his benevolent spirit alive, Ty’s friends joined together to make Ty's List and CommuniTyler, a community service organization that exists to inspire friendships and encourage volunteering. Through the documentary and CommuniTyler, Ty’s spirit lives on.