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Tyler Curry, who died in People’s Park, remembered that he was a physicist and teacher

Tyler Curry, who died in People’s Park, remembered that he was a physicist and teacher

Tyler Curry, a 31-year-old man who died in People’s Park in Southside Berkeley, had a Ph.D. A student at the University of California at Davis and loved by his family and colleagues.

Carrie was found in a tent on Friday afternoon and pronounced dead the same day. Coroner’s Alameda County office said the cause of death was not yet available, but police said no fault was suspected.

Tyler Curry, 31, died in Berkeley on November 4, 2022. Credit: Social Media

Tyler had a Ph.D. Student at UC Davis studying physics. Born in New Jersey, he graduated from Marlborough High School in New York and lived in Davis and Santa Cruz before coming to Berkeley. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic University and a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of California, Davis.

In an online obituary, his family said he is a fun-loving guy who enjoys vacationing on Long Beach Island with his family, watching standing up, running barefoot and in Vibram toe shoes and engaging in good conversation.

The family said the past few years have been difficult for Carrie as he struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues. “Tyler’s warm smile and easy laugh will remain in our hearts forever.”

He is survived by his parents, his two brothers by a father and mother, “several aunts and uncles and fourteen loving cousins.” The family accepts donations on Curry’s behalf to the New Bridge Foundation, an addiction treatment center in Northside Berkeley.

A family friend remarked in the obituary comment section that Carrie was like a “mother of a hen to his younger siblings.”

“I will always remember Tyler as the sweet, savvy little boy,” Beth wrote. “Whether it’s building complex structures using cubes or creating scenarios for him and his siblings to reenact during playtime.”

Tyler Curry (top left) on a walk with his Ph.D. cohort. Credit: Wenjian Hu

“Tyler was an amazing student – hardworking, creative and fun,” said Richard Scalitar, a professor at the University of California, Davis. “I remember he always came to our morning basketball group wearing these funny shoes he bought that looked like thick socks with separate toes.”

Scalitar met Curry in the summer of 2011 when Curry came to Davis to participate in the National Science Foundation’s Undergraduate Research Experiment Program. Carey co-authored a paper with Scalettar from just one summer work titled “Destruction of superconductivity by turbulence: a study of spin-dependent hopping perturbation in the Hubbard charismatic model.”

Carey returned to Davis years later to pursue his Ph.D. His work included a modeling paper of a group of one-dimensional magnets intersecting each other, also with Scalettar.

His congregation soon learned of his death, and his former classmates from Davis, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing and beyond called up their illustrious classmate. They said it was positive, warm and welcoming.

Wenjian Hu said that although he did not have a deep connection with Carrey due to the language barrier, he said that Carrey made him feel welcome in the United States.

“After the group meeting, we usually go out to lunch together,” Hu wrote in a group email chain. He said Carrie knows where the good bars are. “It is so nice to have him accompany us to enjoy American culture.”

Carrie (top left) and his colleagues sit on the grass to watch the solar eclipse. Credit: Richard Scaltar

Another stated that Curry played the saxophone in a band. His interests ranged from physics (specifically Wang Landau’s use in quantum Monte Carlo simulations, which he wrote about) to art and cinema.

“Tyler was a very good friend, student, and scholar,” Nathaniel Costa wrote in an email. “While staying at Davis, I met wonderful people, and Tyler was one of them. He was such a great human being: polite, kind, funny, supportive, etc. It is a great loss.”

Curry also helped introduce young people to science, accompanying elementary school students between labs when the university hosted visits.

“The students absolutely loved it,” Scalitar said. “We received thank you notes after the visits, many of which were about Tyler and the impression he made on young minds.”

He did not complete his Ph.D. She first moved to Santa Cruz before coming to Berkeley a few years ago.

“He has been attending group meetings increasingly sporadically. I tried to communicate with him on
Few walks. Scalitar said of Carrie’s later years at Davis, when he tried to encourage him to complete his studies, he told me about interesting books he was reading that sounded fairly good. “But there was something strange going on that I couldn’t understand. In the end I just lost contact.”

Curry lived in multiple locations including the park and the Rodeway Inn, for a brief period, according to Nicholas Alexander, a resident and activist of People’s Park. He said Carrey could always be found with a great book on an esoteric topic and would engage people in conversation.

“We were all relieved, in a sense, when Tyler showed up at Berkeley because at least we knew where he was, and he was relatively close to me geographically,” Scalitar said, explaining that Berkeley police would occasionally help keep an eye on Carrie, and he maintains he is fine. “I’ve been to Berkeley a few times, and maybe on half the occasions I might find Tyler and have lunch or talk.”

Scalitar maintained that Carrey was very likable and that his family and others made repeated “heroic” efforts to get out of New York for weeks to intervene when he was living on the streets and bring him home.

Community members in People Park were worried about Carrie and were crushed to hear of his death.

“We will miss him. We will really miss him,” Alexander said.


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