Teen Died Doing What He Loved
By Dave Olson and Jeff Zent
Friday, January 17, 2003
Things won’t be the same this spring for Fargo North’s baseball team.
Missing will be Tyler Eicholtz – pitcher, third baseman and, according to coach Jeff Fiechtner, an all-around good guy to have on your team.
Family and friends spent a grief-stricken Thursday watching emergency workers search for the 18-year-old high school senior who broke through ice on the Red River four miles south of Fargo while snowmobiling with two friends Wednesday night.
“He (Tyler) was a gutsy kid who had a lot of fun doing things,” Fiechtner said, adding Eicholtz will be missed both for his contributions on the baseball field and the team spirit he whipped up when he wasn’t playing.
“We’re going to miss that so much,” he said.
“I can picture his face very vividly and I can remember many times he’s on the bench cheering and having fun, keeping kids positive.’’
Fiechtner graduated from Fargo North in 1976, one year behind Tyler’s parents, Steve and Lisa.
“We go back all the way to high school, so in that aspect it’s really tough.” Fiechtner said. “Steve and Lisa have done many, many things for the baseball program. They’ve done a lot of things for Tyler and his friends.”
Dozens of those friends gathered at the Eicholtz home in north Fargo Wednesday night to comfort his family and each other.
“When I was over there, there had to be 30 or 40 students there at his home,” said Andy Dahlen, principal of Fargo North High School.
“Tyler was really well liked by his classmates and his underclassmen, along with students who have graduated from North High School,” he said.
Dahlen said Eicholtz was involved in a number of school activities, including baseball and hockey.
Eicholtz’s younger sister is a sophomore at Fargo North. “So, it affects more than just our senior class,” Dahlen said.
Counselors, including members of the clergy from Fargo’s Hope Lutheran Church and First Lutheran Church, were at the high school Thursday to talk to students.
Dahlen said some of Eicholtz’s closest friends spent Thursday at home with family or friends. “I think right now it’s just really difficult for the ones who were closest to him,” Dahlen said.
He said Steve and Lisa Eicholtz were at Fargo North early Thursday for a gathering of the senior class, at which time information about the accident was shared with students and staff.
“We consoled them, along with them consoling us, really,” Dahlen said of the parents’ visit.
Later Thursday, Eicholtz’s parents and other relatives stood near the scene of the accident, watching as divers conducted a systematic search of the frigid river.
John Oxton described his nephew as a good-natured and fun-loving teen who enjoyed being outdoors. He said hunting and snowmobiling were among his nephew’s favorite things to do.
Readers can reach
Moorhead Bureau Chief Dave Olson
at (701) 241-5555