Visual Kent


Ryan Bitsko (middle), the father of deceased Jason Bitsko, laughs with friends at the memorial service held in his honor on September 10, 2014. Bitsko drove three and a half hours to come for the hour long service from his home town of Huber Heights.

Jacob Byk

I’ve covered only a few funerals of people who were near my age when they died. Memorial services though, like the one pictured here, are usually what upset me the most. By the time a service comes around, usually the immediate shock has at least somewhat begun to wind down, and a deep introspective sadness follows. It’s almost more depressing because of its solemness.

This wasn’t the case with Jason Bitsko, though. Everyone who came to his service was honoring his memory by telling stories and reminding the community why he was so missed. Jason Bitsko’s death had a profound affect on the Kent community, like anyone’s death would. The difference with Bitsko was that he had a strong circle of friends and fans, people who appreciated him for not only his companionship but his skill. I believe this has the ability to cut people deeper, because, like me photographing his memory, it reminds people that everyone is mortal. 

I am currently working on a long-term multimedia story about Bitsko and those who loved him. That will be available with the launch of the Burr Magazine in November.

Contact Jacob Byk at [email protected].