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Destin mourns the loss of 9-year old Tucker Reese, a young baseball star and community inspiration

Born on January 19, 2015, Tucker was described as “a ray of sunshine” from the moment he entered the world. His infectious laughter and boundless energy touched the lives of many, leaving an unforgettable mark on his family, friends, and the entire Destin community.
Contributed photos of Tucker Reese

The Destin community is grieving the loss of 9-year old Tucker Reese, who passed away on March 18, 2024, following a tragic ATV accident. 

  • On Thursday, March 21, 2024, crowds gathered at Threadgill Park, where Tucker had played countless games, to celebrate his life and the indelible impact he had on all who knew him.

Born on January 19, 2015, Tucker was described as “a ray of sunshine” from the moment he entered the world. His infectious laughter and boundless energy touched the lives of many, leaving an unforgettable mark on his family, friends, and the entire Destin community.

Tucker’s passion for sports, particularly baseball, was evident from a young age. He possessed an extraordinary talent that earned him the admiration of coaches, teammates, and spectators alike. His dedication, skill, and love for the game shone through with every swing of the bat and every catch he made on the field.

(Back left) Kevin Schmidt, Travis Reese, Harrison Schmidt, and Tucker Reese (Front right)

During the memorial ceremony, coaches and community members shared heartfelt memories of Tucker’s life, highlighting his athletic prowess and the way he inspired those around him.

  • “We’re just honored to have known him for the short time we did,” said Coach Kevin Schmidt. “He was an amazing kid. He’s here with us tonight. He’s gonna be with us here the rest of our lives, and we’re all gonna see him one day when we go up in heaven. We know him and many others are up there right now watching us.”

Matt Dahlman, another of Tucker’s coaches, echoed these sentiments. “I stand up here tonight as one of the many coaches who were honored and blessed to have been able to coach Tucker Reese. We stand in this absolutely perfect place to honor and remember Tucker. This ballpark will always be his home. This is the place he spent countless hours. This is a place that inevitably he probably met the 90 to 100 percent of the people who are here tonight.”

Tucker Reese (left) and friend Harrison Schmidt (right)

Dahlman emphasized Tucker’s role as a teammate and friend, saying, “This is a place where he became a teammate, and he became a friend. This is a place that he loved to be, and this is a place where his memory and his legacy will live on forever.”

  • Describing Tucker’s incredible talent, Dahlman shared, “First and foremost, we would say that he was a bona fide stud. That word gets thrown around so much, especially in youth and professional sports. But Tucker sure enough was. It was fitting and it was the truth.”

Beyond his athletic abilities, Tucker was seen as a role model for his peers. Dahlman noted that as he was reading through many of the recent social media posts about Tucker, one of the things that stuck out to him was how everyone who had a child that played with Tucker simply loved him. 

  • “They spoke about his talents, they spoke about how they loved playing with him and they spoke about how all their kids always wanted to be on his team and they wanted to be like him,” he said.”

Tucker’s work ethic was another aspect of his character that stood out to those who knew him. Dahlman recalled, “I feel like sometimes I live at this ballpark, and there’s very few times over the last number of years that I can ever remember being up here and not seeing Tucker.”

As his family and community grapple with this loss, they find solace in the memories of Tucker’s kindness, compassion, and unwavering spirit. He had a natural ability to make friends wherever he went, and his infectious enthusiasm brought joy to all who crossed his path.

  • Tucker is survived by his loving parents, Travis Reese and Edyta Jaworska, his grandmother Babcia Ewa, his brother Tanner, and a host of friends who considered him family. A funeral service was held on March 24, 2024, at Emerald Coast Funeral Home in Fort Walton Beach.

As the memorial ceremony drew to a close, the crowd held candles and each other, united in their grief and love for Tucker, as his favorite song, “Beautiful Things” by Benson Boone, played over the speakers.

Though Tucker may no longer be physically present, his spirit and legacy will endure in the hearts of all who knew and loved him. The Destin community will forever remember the little boy with the big smile who left an indelible mark on their lives, and they will carry his memory with them as they navigate the road ahead.

  • “We hoped we could see him for many more years dominating this baseball diamond,” added Coach Schmidt. “I know he’s dominating the streets of gold right now.”

A meal train has been setup for Tucker’s family, that also allows donations. See here

2 Responses

  1. Although I never had the honor of knowing this young man, I see the beauty in his smile and his joy is evident. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends in such a tragic loss.

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