Funeral services for Tyler Lasker Hayes Hickerson, 19, of Zanoni, were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at Lilly Ridge General Baptist Church with Doug Collins officiating. Visitation was from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Clinkingbeard Funeral Home in Gainesville.
Tyler died Sept. 20 near Sycamore.
He was born June 26, 1997, in Mountain Home, Ark., the son of Rodger and Kim Hickerson of Zanoni. He attended Dora Schools from preschool until graduating in May 2016.
One of his preschool classmates was Shane Olmsted, who would become his lifelong best friend.
Another preschool classmate was Allie Smith, who became his wife on March 12, 2016.
From an early age, Tyler was an Ozarks boy, through and through. His preferred wardrobe was cut-off flannel shirts and blue jeans. He went barefoot, even in wintertime and even while welding.
Tyler’s older brother, Rodger, was a computer geek, but Tyler was all about the outdoors and building things. While other kids his age watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons, Tyler got hooked on Bob the Builder – and then Myth Busters and How Things Are Made. When his mom took him to the Bootheel a few years ago to meet the stars of Myth Busters, he was in heaven.
He built things – a catapult to launch pumpkins over the hillside, an air cannon that shot walnuts, a table with deer legs, a blacksmithing forge made from cement blocks and his mom’s hair dryer, and a pontoon boat made out of plywood and 55-gallon drums, with a weed-eater for a motor.
He taught himself how to blacksmith, and he was an accomplished welder.
He had worked for the Concrete Works in Souder since he was 16. Business owners Sean and Cleta Sweeney knew there was something special about Tyler from the first time he called to apply for the part-time job while he was still in high school. He told them, “I hear you have an opening, and I’m here to tell you, I can do the job.”
Cleta Sweeney said Tyler showed up for work each day with a smile and left work at the end of the day with a smile. “No matter how tough the job, he found joy in everything he did – and he found a way to make all of us smile,” she said.
Tyler and Allie were married a few weeks before their 2016 Dora High School graduation. They recently bought a cabin and moved it onto Allie’s family’s land at Vanzant. Tyler poured the concrete footers and made the steps for their new home.
While continuing to work, he attended welding classes at South Central Career Center in West Plains. He was driving to school when he was killed Tuesday in the car crash.
He is survived by his wife, Allie Smith Hickerson, of the home; his parents, Rodger and Kim Hickerson, of Zanoni; his grandmothers, LaRane Wright, of Zanoni, and Marlena Dee Hickerson, of Mountain Home, Ark.; great-grandmother Marie Crisp, of Gainesville, and uncle Gary Hibbs and wife, Teri, of Independence; special aunt, Peggy Williams, husband David and daughter Riley, of Gainesville; and his best friends, Shane Olmsted, Austin Peck and his cousin, Gary Hibbs Jr.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Rodger Neil Hickerson, who died in 2008; grandfathers Russell Wright and great-grandmothers Edith Hickerson and Bessie Simpson; and great-grandfathers George Hickerson, Jewel Simpson, Hayes Crisp and Oris Thompson.
Burial was in Smith Chapel Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to an online account that’s been set up by friends to help Allie with house payments and to help the family with funeral and other expenses. Go to http://gofundme.com/.