Tyler David Greene
February 7, 1990-November 10, 2021
WATERLOO-Tyler David Greene, 31, of Waterloo, Iowa died November 10, 2021, at the Surgical ICU of University of Iowa Hospitals after being struck by a car while out in his wheelchair.
He survived a traumatic birth on February 7, 1990, after which he spent his first six weeks of life receiving wonderful care at the Neonatal ICU of the same hospital. Tyler fully accepted, even embraced, his cerebral palsy and other disabilities. It was simply who he was. Despite being told what he would NOT be able to do, Tyler spent a lifetime of Doing. Tyler started advocating for people with disabilities when he was eight years old speaking to classes at the University of Northern Iowa with his mother, Gina.
He graduated from West Waterloo High School in 2008. He earned his Associates Degree at Hawkeye Community College and continued his education at the University of Northern Iowa earning a bachelor's degree in Sociology.
Tyler was involved in life in every way. His Eagle Scout project was creating a short, educational DVD about Ability Awareness. The DVD "I'm Tyler … don't be surprised" was distributed to all school districts in Iowa for training of educators and administrators. It is still offered for free will donation on his website www.ImTyler.org. Over 13,000 DVDs have been requested from all 50 states and 29 countries to-date. By the most conservative estimates, well over a million people around the world have learned about Ability Awareness through Tyler. And it continues yet today. Tyler was asked to provide keynote presentations at dozens of local, regional, and national conferences across the country. Audiences from 100 to 1,800 were inspired by Tyler's message of Ability Awareness. "Ability Awareness is simply the skill of recognizing that what someone CAN do is much more important than what they can't do." Those audiences included the Joint Commission of the Navy-Air Force in Dallas, Kids Included Together (KIT) in San Diego, the National Synod of the UCC in Hartford, the Dept of Defense and FDA in Chicago and so many others. In 2008 the US Congress held a reception in Tyler's honor, and to celebrate the eighteenth birthday of the Americans with Disabilities Act, where he was asked to speak on Ability Awareness. Tyler was selected to participate in a collaboration of teenagers in Washington DC who created the national "I Am Norm" campaign. "I Am Norm" promoted the concept that we are all "normal" … we are who we are. Tyler also served on a national committee, Kids As Self Advocates (KASA), who discussed issues and created supporting documents concerning people with disabilities.
Tyler was a member of several other local and state committees and councils. Because of his tenure on the State of Iowa Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP), he was asked to review and offer edits for the State of Iowa manual for paraeducators. Tyler received many awards for his efforts and for simply being "Tyler". Among them were the United Church of Christ "National Disabilities Ministries" award and the "Yes, I Can" award for advocacy bestowed by the National Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). The Iowa CEC Chapter started awarding an annual "Tyler Achievement Scholarship" the same year. Tyler was the inclusion coordinator for Together We Play, a part of the Inclusion Connection in the Cedar Valley. In that role he partnered with organizations in Iowa to help them create more inclusive programming and activities. Tyler was an active member of First Congregational UCC of Waterloo and Threehouse Collaborative Campus Ministries at UNI. Tyler was full of love and compassion for others, especially those often marginalized by our world. He would want you to Be Kind and Love Others ... please do.
Tyler is survived by his mother & father, Gina & Paul Greene; his sister Molly (Brian) Bishop; his brother Lucas Greene (Dora Jacobsen); his nephews and niece (who he loved so dearly) Wesley & Zachary & Ellison Bishop; his grandfather, David Greene; grandmother, Eddie Swaim; and so many aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends he considered family. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Marian Greene and William Swaim.
Tyler loved his whole family deeply. His dream was to change the world. He has.
An open memorial service will be held in the Kersenbrock Auditorium of West Waterloo High School, 425 E Ridgeway Ave, Waterloo, IA at Saturday, November 20, 2021, at 10:30 am with a light lunch and time to visit the family immediately following the service in the West High Commons. Masks encouraged. Memorials may be made to Tyler Greene Scholarship, c/o Waterloo Community Foundation, (PO Box 1253, 426 Cedar Street Suite 320, Waterloo, Iowa 50704) or Inclusion Connection (3510 Kimball Avenue, Waterloo, 50701). Condolences may be left at www.LockeFuneralHome.com.