TRIBUTE

So many letters, so many cards, so many posts and so many texts…let’s share the positive energy of them all! So many reached out to family, friends, and Baldwin Wallace University (BW) to share their stories, condolences, or just to contribute to the scholarships at BW, Fiorella H. LaGuardia, and P.S. 276, The Louis Marshall School.  Thank you!

If you would like to share a story or just your words, Contact Us.  Type “Tribute” in the Subject Line.

We will review and post it.

Much love and gratitude,

The Kyle Jean-Baptiste Foundation Inc.

“To Kyle, you’ve always been one of the most rad, funkadelic ppl I know. Lettin’ your freak flag fly.  I’ve had so much fun flyin’ with you and you have continued to inspire and uplift and empower me all the years I’ve known you.  I’m so grateful I got to meet you at your audition day at BW, you goofy, fun Canarsie Brooklyn guy.”

-Alyssa Easterly

 

“God has gained a beautiful angel.  My heart goes out to those who were fortunate enough to have known and loved this special guy.”

-Jessie Christopher

 

“May your soul be elevated through the tiers of heaven and may your memory shin on forever.”

-David Ben-Arie

 

“Kyle you had a presence that made others smile and you will continue to inspire all of us everyday.  Your light will go on forever and you will not be forgotten.  All our love.”

-The Kotzen Family

 

“Kyle remains a treasured part of the New London Barn Family.   KJB – I’ll carry your enthusiasm, passion, and generosity with me forever.”

-Eleanor Seaman

 

“The impact you have had on the world is astounding.  You made history, kid.   You are greatly, greatly missed.  Thank you.”

-Kaleigh Knights

 

 

 

 

Ms. Jean-Baptiste,

I thought I would introduce myself to you. My name is Bree Patterson.  I'm 20 years old, and I'm from Kansas City, MO. I have been following Kyle's story ever since his death and it has crushed me. It crushed me because such a youthful soul is gone. It crushed me because I looked up to him from afar, and it crushed me knowing what he was leaving behind. I will never, *ever* feel an inkling of the pain that you feel as a parent, but I just want you to know that Kyle has touched me in ways that nobody ever has before.

I am a theatre performance major at Northwest Missouri State University and every day I am reminded of what I can't do because of my color, every day I am reminded of what I can't do because someone doesn't like the way I look. Well, your son taught me to push past all of it and strive to be the best that I can be. I wish I would have known Kyle personally.  From what I've seen, I could tell that his energy was contagious. I will admit that I cried the day I found out that he died, and it was weird because I didn't know him at all. I looked at it as another opportunity taken away from someone who deserved it the most.

I was crying because I was angry, I kept asking "Why him? Why him?" But then it hit me; in his death, comes life. People are starting to do what they love because they saw how relentless Kyle was. I'm starting to have confidence in myself as a black actor and it's because in him, people have found strength to carry on. He was a beacon of hope for young black performers and still is. He made a milestone that will forever be remembered in Broadway history. It's amazing.

I constantly pray for you and your children, and your family as a whole. Your son has been a guardian angel to me (which, again, is weird to say because I've never met him, haha).  In many ways, I thank him for that. May God continue to bless you and your family.  Know that you have support all the way in Missouri. I apologize if this letter has surprised you in anyway, I just thought you would want to know that Kyle's spirit is still very much alive and is being instilled within a lot of people. ❤️

Love and blessings,
Bree

 

“I saw Kyle in Les Mis at the New London Barn.  I was in awe of his amazing talent and commented then that we were watching a future Broadway star.”

-Donna-Lee Anderson

 

 

 

 

Hi Sonia,

I'm Sophie, and I am a former classmate of Kyle's from BW. I'm not sure if you remember me, or if we ever met.

You were, so much, in my thoughts today, and I just wanted you to know that. From Ohio to Brooklyn, I send you energy often. Just, love and light.

I kept my distance, at the service honoring Kyle, because I don't think I had any words, and I'm altogether socially anxious. Today, I think I found the words. I just wanted to share with you, my experience of getting to know and love your son, because I am so grateful for you, bringing him into this earth.

Kyle and I were in the same studio, together. Having the pleasure of watching him grow, from a Freshman and beyond, is a one-of-a-kind gift I will cherish forever. I saw him like a little brother-- at first. Always razzing him for leaving his music in his dorm, or, my favorite was when Doc said to me, "Go get Kyle, and tell him to get his ass to studio". So, I went and got him, and he came running, all out of breath with the fear of Doc (and sweat) in his eyes. Nonetheless, he slid in the door- cool as a cucumber, and apologized to everyone. Then, he got up and sang, and knocked our friggin’ socks off. He became a master of improvement, and he did improve, every single time I heard him sing, or perform. I was so proud to watch him evolve in his craft. After a while, he was not a little brother figure anymore, but a stand-up man, and fantastic friend.

Aside from his talents as a musician and performer, Kyle was an A++ human being. I remember thinking, who raised such an amazing kid?? I was, and still am just fascinated by him. His values, personal truths, willingness to listen and to really learn, ability to laugh at himself, are just a few, on a very long list of things I love about him.

One thing, particularly striking to me, is that I never once, heard Kyle speak ill of anyone, for any reason, ever. I honestly, can't say that about many other people I've met, if any. He made a friend out of everyone he came in contact with. To me, Kyle represents a lack of prejudice and judgement; something that I learned from him and will never let go of. I don't want to go on and on, but I certainly could.

What I want to say is, thank you. Thank you for the gift you gave to my life, which was having Kyle in it. You gave me so much hope, and solace at Kyle's service. Your words were strong, and so wise. The love felt in that church, may have been the most love I've ever felt. Before that day, I had never been to a funeral service, full of such true celebration.

Although, I don't know you personally, I feel connected with you, through Kyle. And I just think that's so cool. 😃

Peace and love, to you, Sonia.

Sophie

 

 

 

“Giving to support a scholarship in Kyle’s memory, spirit and in recognition of his amazing talent.  This gift is also is also in honor of all the 2015 Musical Theatre grads across the country.  Follow your dreams.”

-Mary Beth McIntyre

 

 

“A devastating loss.  Sending strength to the Jean-Baptiste Family, Kyle's, fellow performers, and the students of Baldwin Wallace.”

-Carolyn Kirsch

 

 

“The last thing you said to me was ‘Love you brother’.  I love you too, Kyle.  You will be dearly missed.”

-Matthew Lynn

 

“In 1988, Les Miz changed how I looked at theater.  I would have loved to see this beautiful person perform in the role of Jean Val Jean.  His loss is devastating and unimaginable.”

-Rhonda Medina

 

“In sweet loving memory of Kyle Jean-Baptiste.”

-Anne Mayhew

 

“Thank you for inspiring us with your magnificent gifts and incredible light.”

-Douglas Cohen

 

“The New York community is so sad.  What a loss!”

-Susan Drury

 

“In honor of a beautiful young man and a beautiful talent.”

-Dana Ivey

 

“I wish I had a chance to know you.  Your star will always shine.”

-Cath Gulick

 

 

“RIP Kyle.  I attended you 2015 actor showcase and knew you would be a star! Glad to have witnessed your amazing talent.”

-Chinyere Anyanwu

 

“I mourn the loss of my former student. (Sophomore-year American Literature.)”

-Garret Sokoloff

 

“I am so proud of what you are doing to honor our friend.”

-Matthew Arthur

 

“Missing you, my friend.”

-Sean Kaufman

 

“You will always be a star.  May your memory be a blessing to your family and all who knew you.”

-Zachary Landes

 

“Let Kyle’s light, passion and courage live on as a gift to others.”

-Juliana Martinez

 

“Good chat on the porch, big guy.  You will be missed.”

-Jeffrey Hawkins

 

“Thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved Kyle.  RIP.”

-Lexi Kellison

 

“I can speak of his blazing talent, but what I feel most in my heart is that, for his parents, his family, and his friends.  Kyle’s enormous loving presence on this earth should never be forgotten.  All are in my heart.”

-(Rev.) Mary Lou W. Anderson

 

“In honor of our daughter, Hannah Jo and her classmates for making their goal in memory of Kyle.  May his memory be a blessing to all.”

-Love The Weisberg Family

 

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

-Rae Rosenbayger

 

 

“Please hug Danny McNie for me and sing with him and the Angels in heaven.  I am so sorry for this loss.”

-Andrea Rivette

 

“In honor of this gifted young actor’s mentor & teacher at Baldwin Wallace, Vicky Bussert.  My condolences to Kyle’s family, colleagues, friends, classmates, & teachers.”

-Gerald Freedman

 

“For those who will follow in Kyle’s profound footsteps.”

-Tom Briggs

 

“RIP Kyle Jean-Baptiste.”

-Liza Getzinger

 

“Wonderful for his friends in BWMT15 to find a way for Kyle’s bright light to keep shining in this world.”

-John and Courtney Murrah

 

“He was a phenomenal actor and person. Rest in peace.”

-Paige Zilba

 

“Much love for you big guy.  Let us continue to create, love and live with your passion and vigor.”

-Zachary Adkins

 

“Kyle made every room he entered a little bit brighter.  Thanks to BWMT15 for organizing this scholarship in his name!  Sending love to all of his friends and family.”

-Jamie Farkas

“Empty chairs and empty tables, indeed.  Your Great Lakes Theater friends will miss you!”

-Great Lakes Theater

 

“In memory of an extraordinary young man.  Let’s DO this!”

-Alicia Fogal

 

 

“In loving memory from Cousin Nettie Fowler.  May the Starkeeper have you in his care!”

-Lissy Gulick

 

“May your legacy continue to inspire the heart of BW.  You are incredibly missed.”

-Angela Arcangelini

 

“Those you’ve known and lost still walk behind you.”

-Pat Miller

“His legacy lives in the hearts that he touched.  Prayers and deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

-Martin Céspedes

 

“Kyle, you were an inspiration, role model and a friend.  My deepest condolences to your family and to all the people’s lives you’ve touched in some way.”

-Colin Wheeler

 

“Will never forget hearing you sing Glory and telling everyone you were my favorite and I never met you.”

-Elise Allen

“’To love another person is to see the face of God.’  Rest in peace, Kyle.”

-Daniel Tucker

 

“A beautiful and talented young man taken too soon.  That big smile is unforgettable.  Prayers and love to friends, family, and the BW community.”

-Mallory Yankush DeMaiolo

 

“I wish that I could be with my BW family tonight and throughout this tragedy.  Kyle was a bright light and an amazing human.  I am going to miss him so much.  Love to BWMT15.”

-Briana Bergen

 

“May your dream live on.  God Bless you and your family.”

-Sara Mattocks

 

“There are a lot of not important things in this world.  But this is really, really important.”

-Devon Cox

 

“In honor of the heart that was big as that smile.”

-Kaela West

 

“Forever in memory of Kyle and in honor of the amazing class of BWMT15.”

-East Texas BWMT Friends

 

“This is a beautiful way to honor his life.  I’m sure he would feel blessed to know that his name can help young talent aspire and succeed.”

-Taylor Vaughan

 

 

“I only met Kyle a few times in Boise when he was here performing at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  He was always gracious and kind and just phenomenally talented.  In the few time we spoke, he made a great impression on me.”

-Jen Potcher

 

“’Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!’ With fond memories of your summer in Boise from your friends at ISF.”

-Idaho Shakespeare Festival

 

 

“A friend and caring spirit to so many.  I’m sure he’d love the idea of helping others realize their dreams and potential as he did at BW University.”

-Caitlin Kramer

 

“What an incredible person and incredible shining talent.  I can’t stop thinking about how young he was.  I am so glad that this scholarship is being created.”

-Sigrid Pinsky

 

“Kyle’s passing has hit me hard.  He was older than me by just a day, but his passion and sheer talent made such an impact to so many.  I truly hope that this scholarship does come into existence and helps future stars shine as bright as Kyle should have.  He made history in such a short time, so let’s see what others can do when given this opportunity.”

-Kirsty McArthur

"I didn't know him but when I heard his voice I thought of what a gift of talent.  I want that gift to continue through others who may be inspired by what he had accomplished at such a young age."

-Anonymous

"Kyle you're a Shooting Star.  Sing on!"

-Paul and Margie Tompros

"It was an honor and privilege to see him perform and to know him even for a short time.  His unique talent and engaging personality were evident immediately.  He touched so many in his short time."

-Mr. and Mrs. Theodore G. Barto

"We sang Flying Without Wings together in elementary school.  Your first solo you were so scared!!!  And now look! You are AMAZING!!  Now you are truly Flying Without Wings.  You are a true angel. xoxo"

-Naomi Chery

"Kyle, many are called, few are chosen.  You were chosen to shine brilliantly and you did!  Light up heaven as usual..."

-Ms. Rawle

"Kyle was such a sweet person.  We were glad for our time with him at Les Mis."

-Samantha Wiener

"Kyle was fantastic young man, who brought joy to everyone around him.  We will greatly miss him."

-Dr. Rakhman

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The board members receive no income from The KJBF and have no financial interest in The KJBF, beyond sustaining awards and grants.

kylejeanbaptistefoundation@gmail.com

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