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At Tyson Bailey’s funeral, a family’s grief laid bare

Mourners weep at the funeral for 15-year old Tyson Bailey in Toronto on Thursday. The teen at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Bentworth Ave. in Toronto on Jan. 31, 2013. Bailey was shot to death last week in the stairwell of an apartment building in Regent Park. (Peter Power/ The Globe and Mail)

Peter Power/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Tyson Kevaun Bailey's death was marked with football jerseys, track suits and the long wails of a family that isn't ready to accept his absence.

Actions spoke more of the family's inner grief than eulogies: A sister leaned in to the open casket and looked like she would never re-emerge, a grandmother collapsed to the ground, a mother refused to sit even after the lid closed on her 15-year-old son.

He was gunned down on Jan. 18 in a Regent Park stairway, devasting a family, a community and a school. Police are still probing the death.

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In eulogies, friends and family outlined the life of a hard-working young man who cared about his marks and his family. He played running back for the Central Technical School football team, a gifted player whose athletic prowess had turned around the team's fortunes, according to his coach, Norm Davis, who added that he had no idea how much Tyson was "in my heart" until the tragedy.

Others recalled a pudgy kid who had grown into a lean, handsome teen, his popularity clear in the 500 people who packed the church. Many wore buttons bearing his likeness as well as jerseys and black Adidas tracksuits, the same style as the one Tyson would be buried in.

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About the Author
National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More

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