Tyler Greene

Nov 10, 2021
Green, Tyler web


An open memorial service will be held in the Kersenbrock Auditorium of West Waterloo High School, 425 E Ridgeway Ave, Waterloo, IA on 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).  


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 bachelors 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 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.

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  1. Sandy Tempel | Nov 20, 2021
    My sympathy to your entire family and friends.  My fondest memories of Tyler were the times I would see him making the rounds at Byrnes Park.  He drove his wheel chair like a sports car.  Tyler would always have a smile and hello for me when I met while I walked in the park. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.  Kim, Katie, and Kevin Tempel send their condolences and love to you all.  
  2. Jane Olesen Richardson | Nov 20, 2021
    Sending prayers for all of you! Tyler was a shining light and touched so many people! How blessed we are for knowing this beautiful guy! He was a true inspiration!❤
  3. Rodger Smith | Nov 17, 2021

    Paul & Gina and family,

    So sorry for your loss.  There are just no words to say that can fully express how I feel for you at this time. We will be praying for you for God's comfort, peace, and wisdom during this time of grief.

    Peace in Christ,

    Rodger and Melanie Smith

  4. Julie Sherburne | Nov 16, 2021

    Gina and Family,

    Thinking of you as you celebrate Tyler’s beautiful life.  He touched so many lives in the very best way.  I am grateful to have met him and know him through your shared stories.  Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs.  


  5. Ben Patterson | Nov 16, 2021
    When in college, Tyler served as a small group leader at CHAOS Junior High Ministry. He was a blessing to be around and a fantastic small group leader. It's amazing to read about the impact of his life! I am sorry for your loss.
  6. Hether Gustafson | Nov 16, 2021
    Gina and family, sending you so many prayers on the loss of Tyler. I am so saddened by your loss. May his legacy live on forever. 
  7. Audrey Kimball | Nov 15, 2021

    We are so very, very sorry for your loss. Nothing prepares you for the loss of a child, no matter their age.

    Dennis and Audrey Kimball

  8. Ben Snyder | Nov 14, 2021
    Rest in peace Tyler may your message live on forever 
  9. Lisa Lane | Nov 14, 2021
    I ran into Tyler in late summer/early fall in Barnes and Noble. I said hello and told him who I was and who my daughters are (Katie was in school with him from Kingsley on..). He was so upbeat and caring, asking all about Katie and her family. It was such a joy to talk to him. It was the bright spot in the day for sure that I couldn’t wait to relay my conversation to both my girls and we all recounted so many memories of him and how kind and remarkable he was. My younger daughter Megan called us Wednesday in tears to relay his passing to us. She had just seen and spoken to him Monday morning. We grieve for your family. What a life well lived. He will be missed. He leaves a lesson and a legacy for all who knew him. God’s grace to you all. Our hearts are broken along with you. Lisa (and Mark) Lane 
  10. Mark and Michelle Albert | Nov 14, 2021
    Tyler taught us about living life without limitations.  His face was always filled with joy as he played baseball, participated in Boy Scouts and school field trips, or zipped along in his wheelchair.   He did not let cerebral palsy keep him on the sidelines of life. I would be remiss if I did not add that Tyler's ability to experience life as fully as he did was due to his incredible loving family. I will always be thankful for the lessons he taught his classmates, including my children. He made our children kinder and more accepting people.
  11. Tricia and Clark Elmer | Nov 14, 2021

    What an impact Tyler had and continues to have in the community and across the country! He gave of himself to open the world to see the abilities and strengths that too often go unseen. Tyler said, 'I'm Tyler' from the day he was born!

    To Gina and Paul and family... Thank you for sharing Tyler with us. We are so sorry for your loss and wish you contiued strength as you move through the long days ahead.

    Love, Tricia and Clark


  12. Mark A. Babcock | Nov 13, 2021
    God’s peace to all who Tyler touched.  He was gift and inspiration to so many, such a beautiful soul.  May perpetual light shine on him.  
  13. Kellie (Chafin) Lopez | Nov 13, 2021

    Tyler was a beautiful soul. I met him at the I am Norm Campaign. He lit up the room wherever he goes. Tyler was so excited when he found out I was having a boy. My heart is heavy as my 11 year friend isn’t with us here physically  but watching over my family. 

  14. Jennifer Swaim Martin | Nov 13, 2021
    I am still in disbelief, but this I know—I am so lucky to have had Tyler in my life. In my boys’ lives.  He is an incredible soul.
  15. Rae & Jim Miller | Nov 12, 2021

    Our sincere sympathy to Gina, Paul, Lucas, Molly, and all! Tyler was a light for those who didn’t often have one. He blazed trails and shared his joy with being himself throughout his life. What a gift tomall of us! Bet he is having some interesting conversations in heaven and advocating up a storm. May you find comfort and peace in your memories.

  16. Vicki Cutsforth | Nov 12, 2021

    my heart is broken, i always enjoyed Tyler wheeling his way back into his grandparents neighborhood.  I just saw him a few weeks ago and i made a point to stop and visit.  I always enjoying visiting with him.


    he spread joy and blessings to all those that crossed his path.  His legacy will live on forever!  

    my prayers and sympathies to the whole Greene family.  

  17. Raechel Sittig-Esser | Nov 12, 2021
    Tyler was certainly a force for good in our community and the larger world. He took on challenges with joy, humor, and determination. I am blessed to have known him even a little - though I don’t think anyone would have been a stranger to Tyler. My thoughts, and prayers for comfort and peace to Tyler’s family and all those who knew him. 
  18. John Lesyshen | Nov 12, 2021
    I have fond and humorous memories of Tyler at Kingsley.  It was always a joy to see him. So very sorry!!!!! Please accept our sincere condolences. 
  19. Lynette Jordan | Nov 12, 2021


    My heart is broken for you both, Gina and Paul, and your lovely family. I spoke with Tyler often when he was out and about in the neighborhood. What a bright light he was in this world. He will be so missed, but the legacy he left will remain forever. Please know I will be keeping you close in my prayers and in my heart. My deepest sympathy to you and yours.  

    Yours truly, Lynette Jordan

  20. Jane Murphy | Nov 12, 2021

    Sharing in the loss of someone so dear. The love you share remains. Heartfelt sympathies to all of you.


  21. Steve and Pam Syhlman | Nov 12, 2021
    Our sympathies to your entire family.  What an inspiration Tyler was.  I remember when he was born and when he was in preschool with our granddaughter.  Our prayers are with all of you. 
  22. Beth McCrindle | Nov 12, 2021
    In absolutely every way Tyler was the personification of the life well lived. It was such a joy seeing him scooting around town-always with a smile and a warm greeting. His well-lived life now continues in Heaven where i know he’s already made an impact. This time CP free! Jars of Clay’s version of “I’ll Fly Away” offers such comfort! 
  23. Jean Draude | Nov 11, 2021

    My sincere condolences on the loss of Tyler. I worked with his father and grandfather at the Boy Scouts. When the film came out we were just in awe. Tyler was here for a very important journey and made the most of it all. 
    May God comfort you in this time.  

    Rest in peace Tyler.

  24. Joseph and Joan Meany | Nov 11, 2021
    We send our sincere prayers and heartfelt thoughts to each of Tyler’s family members as this difficult and sad time engulfs your being. May your Christian faith, love from family, support from friends and fond memories bring comfort to all of you.
  25. Steve and Carol Pierce | Nov 11, 2021

    Our sympathy to the family and friends of Tyler. He has left a legacy,  and will be remembered as an inspiration to many. We witnessed his courage as he made his travels through town. It was a sign of his determination to be part of a full  life. 

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