On some days, Tyler Guttry seemed to be just as much a fixture of Frederick’s Black Sun Games as the shop’s chairs and tables.
Those who loved Guttry remember the 2015 Boonsboro High School graduate as a gregarious, kind-hearted young man — the designated driver, shoulder-to-lean-on who relished torturing his friends with complex strategy in his favorite game, “Magic: The Gathering,” but never failed to be there when they needed him.
Guttry died in September at the age of 24. Through the weekend, Black Sun Games will be celebrating his life by hosting “Magic” games and holding a silent auction, the proceeds from which will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The game shop will also be accepting donations to this organization, which educates communities on mental health and suicide prevention and offers support to suicide loss survivors, throughout the event.
Guttry’s friends began talking about organizing some kind of memorial for him about a month after his death. They wanted to do something to remember their friend, said Andrew Reed — a friend of Guttry who helps Black Sun Games with events and promotional activities — while also reminding the people he played games with that they still have a support system.
“That’s what we really want to focus on in this event,” Reed said. “Raising funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and just letting everybody in our community know that we’re all here for each other.”
Before Guttry discovered “Magic,” he had spent ages dabbling in a wide variety of games, his older brother, Brandon Guttry, remembers. He liked chess a lot and even joined a small checkers tournament for a while — something Brandon found hilarious.
But when he started reading up on “Magic” to help a buddy understand its rules, he “glued to it,” Brandon said.
A big reason why Tyler loved “Magic” so much was because of the way it eased conversation between his friends, his big brother recalled.
Tyler was sort of like a therapist for a lot of his friends, Brandon said, and he found they often had an easier time talking about the hard things happening in their lives when they were playing games like “Magic.”
That’s just the kind of person Tyler was, Brandon said. And he’d always been like that — Brandon remembers watching him comfort a stranger while they were on vacation in the Caribbean when they were kids. At 8 years old, Tyler walked up to an older man sitting alone on a bench, offered him some beads and asked him how his day was going.
“It just kind of snowballed its way into the present day, where he was always just running out, trying to help people,” Brandon said. “He would always drive over to a friend’s as soon as their text messages would get a little off. And he would just make sure that they were doing OK.”
When someone dies, you realize after a while that time just keeps moving, Brandon said. And that’s when “it gets really weird.”
So, he appreciates that Black Sun Games and Tyler’s friends are still trying to remember him. Their parents do, too. Brandon shared a statement they wrote for The Frederick News-Post:
“The family of Tyler Guttry is very thankful for Black Sun Games and for the Magic community — not only for the remembering of Tyler, but for participating and donating to such a worthy cause as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We are glad that Tyler’s friends can celebrate and honor his life by doing something that brought him such joy.”
Tyler tried getting him into “Magic” before he died, Brandon said, but he quickly learned it was a losing battle. Brandon was never one for card games. He preferred being outside, doing things like fishing and being with animals.
Sometimes, he’d try playing “Magic,” but his brain would “immediately overheat or melt.”
Since Tyler’s death, though, Brandon has been trying to learn to play the game. He wanted to keep a hold on all his brother’s friends and see a part of his life that he never got to experience himself.
He’ll sit in Black Sun Games with Tyler’s friends — who are now his own — and try to follow along. With more than 20,000 unique cards, he finds the game challenging. But he’s sticking with it.