LEOMINSTER — Francis B. Crowley, IV, fondly known as “Tyke”, by all accounts lived a remarkable life. In his 43 years of life he touched the lives of many, he loved his family and friends deeply, and left a legacy of purposefulness.
Tyke Crowley was born on May 29, 1972, in Leominster, and that is the day his story began.
He was a family man, he loved animals, was a college graduate with a bachelors, two masters and a law degree, and he was a philanthropist. He enjoyed New England sports, was an accomplished wildlife painter, loved to hike, kayak, fish, and hunt, while appreciating the beauty of nature that surrounded him.
But that is not what made him extraordinary.
In January 2008, Jen Delorme met Tyke Crowley, at an Appalachian Mountain Club meeting, and their love story began.
“Tyke was an incredible man whose smile touched my heart like no one else,” she said. “He was my soulmate, best friend, cheerleader, and the person I’ve learned the most from in life so far.”
He lived an amazing life, she said, and against incredible odds, he overcame Cystic Fibrosis and two double lung transplants.
Cystic fibrosis shaped Tyke Crowley’s life, but he was never defined by it. However, as if living with CF wasn’t enough, he was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2014.
Well before his cancer diagnosis he decided to tell his story of growing up with CF, his transplant experiences, how his family supported him, and how he took those experiences and learned to “make each day count” — his life motto.
“In his 43 years, he loved deeply — his family and his lifelong friends — and he employed all he’d learned through his struggles to help others, Jen Crowley said. “Tyke’s mission in his last years was helping others become their best, most authentic selves through his personal coaching business.”
Jen Crowley says that many people who met him after his transplants didn’t know he had cystic fibrosis.
“He wasn’t one to share his story often, but after hearing ‘you should write a book’ many times, he realized the potential benefits of sharing his story with others,” she said.
So, in 2012, Tyke Crowley sat down to write his story.
“He saw his book as a way to show some of his credibility as a life coach,” Jen Crowley said. “After he died, however, his book took on a different purpose.”
He built his legacy one day at a time with a relentless focus on his mind, body, and mission. He had simple advice for all those seeking his counsel. “Be healthy, discover your passion, and recognize that we are all part of a bigger picture in which we have the power to affect others in a positive way every day,” she said.
Tyke Crowley died on Dec. 7, 2015.
It’s now seven years later, “and the book is now a reality,” she said. “It was meant to happen in this time frame. Seven was an important number to me and Tyke.”
“Hungry for Air” a memoir by Tyke Crowley, was published on Dec. 7, and includes a forward and epilogue by Jen Crowley.
“This was an act of love for me to put his story into the world at this time,” she said. “But there isn’t an end to loving someone. This project will end, yes, but there isn’t an end to our love. I believe Tyke’s story is inspirational. It reminds me that there is an incredible amount of strength inside each of us to overcome the obstacles in our lives. It’s not a matter of if they will come, but when. Hopefully, his story will resonate with you as well, if not in its entirety, at least in part.”
Jen Crowley says the most common statement people made when they talked about Tyke Crowley after he died “was that he always made you feel like you were the most important person in the room.”
“Tyke was the most inspirational person I’ve ever known,” she said. “His will to live fully, even with great adversity, is something I believe readers will also find inspirational. My hope is the book will remind readers that tomorrow is not a promise and as Tyke often said, help them make each day count. After reading it I think they’ll be thankful for getting to know Tyke a little and inspired to live a full, healthy, and productive life.”
Jen Crowley says she believes that human connection is something that has been challenging the past few years for all of us.
“My hope is that people will share Tyke’s book as a way of connecting with each other,” she said. “After reading it take a moment to write a personal note and send a copy to someone to let them know you thought of them. It would make me and Tyke so happy if people did this.”
For Tyke Crowley’s family and friends, there is nothing more important than remembering him today and always, and the lessons he learned and shared in his life.
“I now relish the mundane — walking in the summer rain, brushing my teeth, drinking a cold glass of water, and kissing my wife goodnight. I see opportunity’s true form as if it’s a perfect snowflake in my hand that, if not explored, will melt before my eyes. I enjoy a heightened gratitude, especially for the time I have to spend with my family. While second chances may come, I believe I have one dance, and with each step, I revel in every movement—some awkward, some humorous, some painful, and some perfect. I breathe in the marvels of life itself and make each day count.” -—Tyke Crowley
Copies of “Hungry for Air” a memoir by Tyke Crowley can be found on amazon.com.