His life is measured in smiles


Hundreds attend memorial for Troy Byrd

By Justin Miller - jmiller@aimmediamidwest.com



Honoring Troy’s love of basketball, well-wishers entering the gymnasium signed a ball and his teammates signed a jersey to commemorate his life.

Honoring Troy’s love of basketball, well-wishers entering the gymnasium signed a ball and his teammates signed a jersey to commemorate his life.


Justin Miller | Urbana Daily Citizen

Hundreds of people passed through the Urbana Junior High School gymnasium during visitation hours and many stayed for the memorial service dedicated to Troy Byrd on Friday. Urbana City Schools cancelled classes so that classmates and friends had an opportunity to mourn.


Justin Miller | Urbana Daily Citizen

Troy Byrd’s teammates on the sixth grade travel team share memories of their time with Troy. Most of the recollections featured Troy’s enthusiasm and uplifting personality: Dancing in the locker room, cracking jokes and always beaming with a wide smile.


Justin Miller | Urbana Daily Citizen

Troy Byrd is pictured in this file photo from a happy day on the basketball court.


Pics by Panda

How do you measure the quality of a life? Is it the number of years survived?

No, it’s more likely the number of lives touched, the number of smiles plastered on faces of the people who meet you, the number of hearts grieving when you’ve left.

By those metrics, Troy Byrd lived a good life. Hundreds of people packed the Urbana Junior High School gymnasium on Friday to pay respect to Troy, his family and his memory. Urbana City Schools cancelled Friday classes so teachers could pay their respects and students could attend their classmate’s memorial services.

It was a celebration of sorts, albeit one with somber undertones.

Speakers encouraged those in attendance to remember Troy and his legacy with one of his trademarks: a smile.

“He set an example for each and every one of us: That we might love each other better, we might look beyond each other’s faults, we might come together as a unified community as we have for this occasion,” Rev. Carl Vactor said. “Not only for today, but Troy left you a message to do it every day. Every day until your last breath. To be an example of love, joy and happiness, even when you struggle in life.”

Troy Byrd died on Jan. 26 after suffering what was, according to Champaign County Coroner Dr. Joshua Richards, likely a sudden cardiac episode while playing basketball at the YMCA.

He was one day shy of his 12th birthday.

On Friday, his teammates took to the podium to share fond memories of Troy and to supply his family with mementos of their time together.

“When you think about family, it’s not always blood. It’s community. It’s the ones that ride or die for you. It’s the ones who love you and hold you up,” Coach Matt Vactor said. “It’s in times like these that we need each other. Troy was special to us because he always smiled. He let us know that through all things, you can smile. So if you think about Troy, make sure you smile.”

Honoring Troy’s love of basketball, well-wishers entering the gymnasium signed a ball and his teammates signed a jersey to commemorate his life.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2019/02/web1_IMG_20190201_124623-1.jpgHonoring Troy’s love of basketball, well-wishers entering the gymnasium signed a ball and his teammates signed a jersey to commemorate his life. Justin Miller | Urbana Daily Citizen

Hundreds of people passed through the Urbana Junior High School gymnasium during visitation hours and many stayed for the memorial service dedicated to Troy Byrd on Friday. Urbana City Schools cancelled classes so that classmates and friends had an opportunity to mourn.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2019/02/web1_PANO_20190201_130640.vr_-1.jpgHundreds of people passed through the Urbana Junior High School gymnasium during visitation hours and many stayed for the memorial service dedicated to Troy Byrd on Friday. Urbana City Schools cancelled classes so that classmates and friends had an opportunity to mourn. Justin Miller | Urbana Daily Citizen

Troy Byrd’s teammates on the sixth grade travel team share memories of their time with Troy. Most of the recollections featured Troy’s enthusiasm and uplifting personality: Dancing in the locker room, cracking jokes and always beaming with a wide smile.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2019/02/web1_DSC_2479-1.jpgTroy Byrd’s teammates on the sixth grade travel team share memories of their time with Troy. Most of the recollections featured Troy’s enthusiasm and uplifting personality: Dancing in the locker room, cracking jokes and always beaming with a wide smile. Justin Miller | Urbana Daily Citizen

Troy Byrd is pictured in this file photo from a happy day on the basketball court.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2019/02/web1_byrd-1.jpgTroy Byrd is pictured in this file photo from a happy day on the basketball court. Pics by Panda
Hundreds attend memorial for Troy Byrd

By Justin Miller

jmiller@aimmediamidwest.com