TWO LOST CARDINALS: ‘He could’ve done something great one day’


Photos contributed by the Hall family and Aaliyah McCool

Despite his frequent struggles with school, Tyler Hall was determined to graduate this year.

“If I don’t do nothing else in this life, I’m gonna graduate,” he would say, according to his girlfriend, sophomore Aaliyah McCool.

Come May, Tyler will graduate– but his attendance at the ceremony won’t be possible.

“His dad is walking across the stage for him to get that diploma…,” McCool said. “It’s going to mean a lot to me because he actually got to do it. He graduated. He made it.”

On Oct. 1, Tyler passed away in his home due to an overdose. He is survived by his parents, Edward and Stephanie Hall, his sister Laci Hall, his girlfriend Aaliyah McCool and his niece, nephew, uncle, grandparents and great-grandmother.

Many of Tyler’s family and friends will remember him laughing, smiling and cheering up others. McCool says that beneath his seemingly rough exterior, Tyler had a big heart and a degree of wisdom about him, shown by how he communicated with others.

“He was really young, but his dad taught him a lot of things he liked to share with people,” McCool said. “He had a lot of real things to say.”

Tyler’s former English teacher, Natasha Bynum of Southport Middle School, recalls him being the class clown and far more intelligent than he liked to let on. She says Tyler was a “people person” who “knew how to make authentic connections.” Academically, he had difficulties, but Bynum suspects this was due to him not wanting his peers to see how capable he really was. She had made a connection with Tyler, to the point where he could confide in her.

“He’d always say to me, ‘Don’t worry, Ms. B, I’m a good kid,’” Bynum said, clearing her throat. “And he was a very good kid.”

While working two jobs and attending school, Tyler also managed to find time to spend with his older sister, Laci Hall, and her children, Leyah and Anthony. Laci says in an email to The Journal that he brought joy to their family’s lives, and she will cherish each moment he spent with her children. She describes Tyler as her other half and feels “lost” without him.

In his free time, Laci says Tyler enjoyed fishing and camping. He also had a love for shoes, owning at least 50 pairs. Along with having many other memories of Tyler, Laci recalls long conversations with her brother and simply enjoying his company.

“He would always come over to eat all my food, and we would stay up laughing for hours,” Laci said. “He was someone I told everything to, and he understood me more than anyone.”

Senior Delaney Halcomb, a close friend of Tyler’s, describes him being like a brother. She says he acted like he was a hard person, but in reality, he was very sweet. For her, this was evident in how he could calm her down when she was upset.

Halcomb emphasizes how unexpected Tyler’s death was and how it never should have happened. She says that if he would have known how loved he was, he might not have been reckless with his life.

“He always would say that he was gonna die young, but I always thought he would get his stuff together and live up to his potential…,” Halcomb said. “He could’ve done something great one day.”