Family and friends remember VCU music professor

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Commonwealth University sent out a message to faculty, staff and students about the passing of Rebecca Tyree, an assistant professor in the music department, on Friday. 

Tyree’s family told 8News that she died after she bumped something while biking through Bryan Park on Thursday morning and was knocked unconscious immediately. 

“She died doing something she loved. On a bike ride with the man she loved, on a beautiful day. I can’t think of a better way to go,” said Steve Owen, Tyree’s son.

She was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident, according to Tyree’s family. 

Her family told 8News that Tyree was rushed to VCU Medical Center and that doctors tried everything they could. 

In the statement, VCU shared Tyree’s profound impact on the university’s students and care she had for the VCUarts community. 

“Becky was a vital and beloved part of our VCUarts community. As assistant professor of choral music education and choral ensembles, she inspired the next generation of choral educators and believed in the transformative power of choral singing.” 

Jacob Devol, a VCU alum, remembers Tyree’s life.

“She was just a pure light,” Devol said.

Devol told 8News that because of Tyree he is now a high school choral director. 

“She just saw the best in everybody and found the teachable things to develop the best qualities in every student,” Devol told 8News. 

Tyree worked on projects within the community such as SPARC’s Live Art and RVA Street Singers. 

In SPARC’s Live Art, Tyree helped train children to sing, act and dance. 

8News covered SPARC’s performance with Jason Mraz in front of lawmakers in the nation’s capital. 

Tyree also helped by serving people affected by homelessness in the Richmond community with RVA Street Singers.

James Wiznerowicz, Interim Chair of VCU’s Department of Music, shared his memories of Tyree.

“She was a great person who spent an enormous amount of time investing herself in their lives.” 

Owen shared his emotion during such a terrible loss but remembered his mother’s lessons to her students.

“Take whatever she taught you, whatever she instilled upon you, and take it to the next level. That’s what she would want.” 

Find 8News on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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