THE REAL TRAVIS BY HIS FRIENDS
I guess I would say, a lot of people would describe Travis as a motivational speaker. I think that`s probably accurate. If you can imagine having, like, a motivational speaker as part of your intimate group of friends, close people that you speak with, that would be a characteristic portrayal of my relationship with Travis. He was an inspiring person. He motivated me to become my best self. I think, like the incoming tide, I would say Travis helped rise the boats. I would describe him as a motivational friend.
And I think motivational speakers get to where they do in life by overcoming trials and striving to become better people, and I think that`s a good indication of who Travis was. He helped inspire me to be a better person. And I miss him, and I think the world misses his presence. I think Travis and I were in similar circumstances at the time that he and I were friends during that time when -- in Arizona. We -- we were -- we spoke a lot about trying to improve in different facets of our lives. And I think I don`t get the impression that Travis ever told me that he was a perfect person, but he had big goals and he wanted to achieve things. And he wanted to improve in lots of areas of his life. And I had the impression that he was in the process of doing that.
I guess I would say the times when I met -- that I spent with Travis, for example, he would spend time trying to make the world around him better. There is an example, for one instance, where I invited Travis out to a restaurant with some friends, and Travis showed up not knowing everybody. He excused himself, and went to the rest room. I watched him as he didn`t go to the restroom, and went and found the waiter and pulled out his wallet. And the waiter came up later and said, you guys are free to go. Everyone didn`t know what happened. And I later thanked Travis for picking up the tab for all these people he didn`t know. And he said he was disappointed that I even noticed because he was such an anonymous giver and he said, pay it forward. You know, he wanted the world to be a better place by his influence.
And -- and I guess that`s the Travis Alexander that I know and the character of the person who I intend to protect. And he motivated me to be a better person in that regard.
Do you remember where you were when 9/11 happened? Or when Princess Diana died? This tragic event will be burned into my memory just like these other two events in history. On Monday, June 9, 2008, at about 3 a.m. I got a text from my good friend Aaron Mortensen. I heard the text, rolled over and went back to sleep. About an hour later I woke up and remembered I had gotten a text. I rolled out of bed and picked up my phone and the text read, "Hey, call me when you get a chance. Its important." I thought, "What if Aaron and Diana got engaged over the weekend?!" I was kind of hoping that he was texting me to tell me the good news since I now live in Provo and haven't had a lot of contact with friends back home. But then I thought, "He probably wouldn't put important for an engagement. He would put exciting news or something like that."
I figured if it was important I could call him at 4 a.m., Arizona time. I picked up the phone and Aaron picked up. His voice was calm and serious. I don't remember the conversation but he told me that Travis was gone. I was frozen still. I almost didn't believe. The T-Dogg was gone? How did it happen? When did it happen? Was is suicide? What is homicide? Where did they find him? I had so many questions running through my head but I was too busy trying to hold back my tears to ask questions. Then I couldn't hold them back anymore. Finally, after a few seconds I started asking questions. Aaron said that the authorities didn't know very much at this point in time. They suspected it could be suicide. "What?! Travis committing suicide? NO WAY!" This is the man who has overcome so many trials in his life, and came out strong and successful. I can't remember how many times I vented to him about my bad day and then he would remind me that others always have it worse. That we are blessed and Heavenly Father loves us no matter what happens.
I felt so sick inside. Not one week before we were chatting about how good he was feeling about life. He felt like things were going to way they were supposed too. He was trying to figure some things out, but he was happy with the way everything was playing out. Did something happen in one week that I didn't know about? Did he have a breakdown? I was so worried. If he was having a hard time why didn't he tell me? We talked about life and trials all of the time. Was he hiding something that nobody knew? Was he truly depressed? I didn't know and I was so worried. As the day and details played out it was ruled that Travis did not commit suicide but that his death was a homicide... Not much better, but I was relieved it wasn't self inflicted, yet I was still uneasy that someone would harm him.
Travis was one of a kind. He often wore a power blue suit that made the 70's suit loving Mark Brummett envious! He was kind, compassionate and a totally awesome person. He loved everything and everyone (except for roaches... he HATED roaches). He wasn't afraid to help anyone in anyway. Whether is was the monthly UFC parties with 16 boxes of pizza or the Birthday Palooza he threw for Michelle Lowery and I. Which he nailed the rope of a unicorn pinata he bought for us into his family room ceiling! He loved everyone and was determined to help them in any way, shape or form. He was such an amazing person. He was an example to all of us and he will be missed. I hope that we can all take the time to remember him and his example.
We will miss you T-Dogg.
ONLY tell this story because so many have been calling many of us wanting to know the details. I just can't tell it one more time. It is so hard. So here it is for the last time.
We were supposed to go to Cancun Mexico together. Pre-Paid Legal picked up the tab to send it's top 400 leaders south of the border. Travis and I were on that list. We planned the trip for weeks. My wife and I went in a few days early and were eagerly awaiting his arrival. I found a great LDS Tour of Chichen Itza and Tulum, as well as an opportunity to swim with wale sharks, and kept calling Travis to see if he wanted to come with us. He never answered. I called several times only to have to leave a voice mail. I sent several texts, but never heard back from him. The deadline was swiftly approaching. If he was going to tour the ruins with us, I needed to hear from him pronto. So I called him again. This time, his voice mail was full. Now looking back, something deep inside me was crying out in that moment, but I wouldn't hear it. I did however tell my wife that something was wrong. I told her his voice mail was full. I wanted to call the cops, but she suggested that we call a friend to go check on him. I didn't know any of his current room mates, but I knew the name of a couple of his former roommates, so I texted Dave Hall, a mutual friend, to see if he could get me the number of one of Travis's old room mates. This was the text I sent: "Do you have any of the guys numbers who used to live with T-dawg (Travis)? His voice mail is full. He hasn't returned any of our urgent phone calls, voice mails or texts???"
I sent that text June 9 at 10:53 pm Central Time. Five hours later, about 4 am, our hotel phone rang. My wife answered. I could only hear her side of the conversation: Hello? He's asleep.
Ok. Chris it's Dave Hall calling about Travis.
Dave: Chris it's Dave Hall. I hate to tell you this Chris. Chris, Travis is dead.
I went numb. My soul cried out NOOOOOOOOO!
AZCentral.com said "He had trauma to his body and police are investigating it as a homicide."
I can't believe it. I just can't believe it. My friend, my brother, my homie, my business partner is gone. Our friend, Travis Alexander has left this life, and we are left to mourn his tragic death. That's the bad news. The good news is, he is with his Savior Jesus Christ. The pain of this life has ended for him. He has been wrapped in the robes of his Redeemer.
There never was, and there never will be another quite like him. He IS the most unique person I have ever known. I love you Travis.
My dear friend Travis Alexander passed away a couple days ago. This is my post dedicated to an amazing man who I will never forget. Oh Travis - I love you. I told you that all the time, because I really do. There isn't ANYONE out in the world like you. That's probably why I was sucked into your exciting world soon after I moved into the ward. You gave me the sweetest and most sincere Christmas present ever. I had absolutely no money for Christmas, so I always planned on writing you a letter telling you how much I love and admire you. You were always a "Words of Affirmation" kind of guy. How I wish I had given you that letter. I would randomely remember all through these months and promise myself I would do that for you the next Sunday, or Saturday morning. All of my time is gone to tell you exactly what I think of you, so this will have to suffice until I see you again.
I remember the first time I really talked to you was bowling after FHE. You kind of intimidated me because you were hilarious, good-looking, knew everyone, and was liked by everyone. I mean, the coolness that you were oozing all over the place was enough to make me intimidated! But you approached me and we began a very "Travis" conversation about life, and how each person has the ability to be whoever they want to be. I'd like to say that at that moment, some of my best life lessons were learned. Man you like to talk. I knew that if I ever started talking to you, we would end up talking for hours. It was very dangerous, but I love talking with you. I would always talk about how we needed to write a book based strictly on your life experiences since they were always so crazy and hilarious. For someone who craved compliments and kind words, you always had something nice to say to me. You boosted my confidence ten-fold, and made me feel like I was the coolest person in the world. Probably because I was friends with one of the coolest people ever.
I will never forget sitting upstairs on your love sacs and watching you do yoga in your PJ's. It was seriously outrageous. I remember trying not to laugh, but then I would let out a giggle, since the whole idea of this grown man doing yoga in front of me was just hilarious. I will admit, your flexibility surprised me, but you looked seriously goofy. :) Oh Travis, I miss you. We had the best time ever on our roadtrip to Utah for General Conference. It really says something about a person when, after being with them continually for 4 days straight, you like then even more. I found out you are one of those rare people who are always enjoyable to be around. I craved your friendship, wisdom, and stories after that trip. On this trip I found out you could make the best wolf face I have ever seen. I mean, when you started snarling at that restaurant I almost died laughing. My obnoxious laughter might have almost brought the building down, but you looked exactly like a snarling wolf. I'm picturing those wolves off of Beauty and the Beast. That's probably where you got your practice anyway :) I think the funniest part about your wolf impersonation is that you did it in the middle of a nice restaurant during dinner. You are so fun and spontaneous. Seriously, I never had a dull moment with you. You would always do outrageous things that would embaress everyone but yourself. Oh man, remember that time you commented on the guy's picture in Jack-in-the-Box because he looked like a child molestor? And then we found out the guy had passed away and the plaque was in memory of him. Foot in mouth moment Travis. You had tons of those.
You are the most generous person I know. So many cookie nights at your house where you spent hours baking and we only ate a 1/6 of what you had made. Whatever did you do with all of those cookies? And then your brunches inbetween conference sessions. Those were amazing, and of course you supplied all of the ingredients and most of the work. UFC will always be special to me now. You introduced me to the world of tight shorts on strong men with rippling butt muscles. I will never be the same. And I still can't get over you laughing at me when I watched the first one and was frozen in horror and anticipation. Ugh, I don't like Napolean. Thankfully, we had an open relationship about that. You would monitor the dog around me, but nonetheless, I always left your house with dog slobber all over me and a missing shoe. Who is going to take care of Napolean?
I am so sorry I chastised you about being late. I tend to be a woman sometimes and I like to nag. It was so impressive to see you on-time and even early to church after that. You are always up for a challenge. Maybe that's why you aren't here anymore. I know you are having the adventure of a life-time right now. Thank you so much for being passionate with me. We both love Joe vs. the Volcano. Oh dang, you quoting the "flibberty-gibbet" Meg Ryan was outta control. And Atlas Shrugged. Oh, we loooove love love that book. I still remember when I found out you loved Ayn Rand. Actually, you kinda found out first. We were driving in the car and you grabbed my book to see what I was reading. When you saw that it was Atlas Shrugged you interrogated me to see if I was reading it for school assignment. Once you were sure I was sincere about my love of Ayn Rand and her philosophies, we had a bonding experience unlike any other. We talked about that book and her Capitalist ideas forever. I still remember your plan to have a huge statue of a man shrugging an atlas off of his shoulders in the entrance of your dream home.
You saved my life so many times by taking me out to eat. You were just so generous and I never had any money. I wish so badly I could pay you back. And that time on our road trip when you paid for everyone's dinner at that nice restaurant. So generous. And you really really don't expect anything in return. I have been so excited about helping you write this book, "Raising You". The title is ingenious and your philosophies are amazing. I still have your hand-written draft of the introduction in my file. I don't know why you worried so much about it. You are an amazing writer all on your own. Dude, you dress well. I loved complimenting you. The way you would receive them made me feel so good about myself. Thank you so much for having the courage to be yourself. This allowed me to be completely open around you, which is how you met the real Katie Barnes. No Travis, not rated R. "If I stay here..." Oh how I wish you would.
You are one amazing interior designer. I was planning on having you be my personal consultant once I owned my first house. I probably would have insisted that you talk with a little lisp, and you would have been so happy to oblige. And then would stop because it would start freaking you out after awhile. I will never forget when you read your Affirmation to me. The Enya music was so intense and you have the perfect speaking voice. Seriously, you should have done commercials or advertisements or something. But you instilled in me a desire to create my own and do what you do. That is, make myself a better person every day. You see, you made me realize that in order to truly work on being a better person, I needed to consistently monitor my progress and have goals. I admire your self-discipline and strict daily schedule of productivity. Pray, read scriptures, exercise, learn spanish, read ensign article, write in journal, work on book, listen to self-motivation tape, work, paint the baseboards, read scriptures, shave my entire body, be a good friend. Yes, you are amazing. And I'm sorry, but I can't bring myself to shave every inch of my body. It's just not natural!! :)
You would always talk about the Greats. Abraham Lincoln, Alexander the Great, etc. You would tell me, Katie, if you want to be great, you can do it. You have that same power that Ol' Abe did. You are great. You are amazing. Now do live up to your potential. Travis. You are one of the Greats. I would like to say, the greatest. Who is honest Abe anyhow? Did he know Yoga? I don't think so. You strived to be the best you could be, to be that son of God who had divine potential. Travis, you are a legacy. You will always be remembered. You have touched so many lives, and the things that you taught them will be passed to so many others. You will live on and will be a Hero in thousands of lives. Travis - you are Great. I will never forget you. Not ever.
Til We Meet Again Love Katie
an article was posted in the East Valley Tribune concerning Travis and
his tragic death. That article released information that portrayed
Travis in a compromising light. At first I was shocked and hurt after
reading the article. It made me call into question the Travis I know and
love. And then, then I immediately felt sick and not only because of
the gruesome detail that went into the article, but because it
frustrated me that an article by someone who didn't know him and
couldn't care less about him, could make me doubt the character of
someone I knew personally as a great friend and confidant. Let me
describe the Travis I know. The REAL Travis.I
first came to know Travis through the singles ward. I thought of him as
a bit stuck up and a sucker for attention. He had a manner about him
that made me feel like he knew he ruled the space he occupied, and
Travis was not a small guy :). It didn't take much to figure out who
Travis was even though I had never been formally introduced to him. (The
dude with the cool suits! duh!) The first time we spoke was at a
bowling alley after FHE one night. He walked, or rather sauntered up to
me with the intention of introducing himself and before he could get his
name out I sputtered, "I know who you are; you're Travis Alexander." I
had no idea at that time that Travis had been secretly hoping to be my
friend and that by knowing exactly who he was and telling him so, that
had tickled his fancy just perfectly.
Later that October I ended up going on a trip to Utah to watch general conference. The group consisted of myself, Katie (Barnes) Lorsch, Mark the man Brummett and our very own Travis Alexander. During that four day trip I learned that Travis was an inherently bad driver, a hilarious story teller, a procrastinator, a great listener, a generous and gracious person, a walking musical, and an invaluable friend. We spent endless hours laughing on that trip. We felt and shared spiritual experiences and endured the wet and cold together while moronically eating Häagen-Dazs ice cream :).
Later in my life Travis would continue to prove a priceless asset to me and my group of friends. I have him to thank for salvaging my friendship with my long-time best friend after a nasty bout of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Indeed it was Travis who would stay up far past 12 consoling me in my frustration. I knew the Lord had placed Travis in my life for a reason because Travis knew exactly what it meant to be a true friend.
I still can recall a time when I was completely stressed with homework and studying for finals. Things were intense and crazy at my house and I was this close (imagine me pinching my thumb and index finger ridiculously close together haha) to having a panic attack. Travis as the dependable and endlessly generous friend he was immediately offered his home to me saying that not only could I study there, but he would sit with me and help me study. I could have cried I was so grateful. I think I might have. When I got to his house with all my books and notes he met me with a big bear hug and a plate of cookies with my name on it. True to his word he sat with me and listened as I cheerily ranted on about phonetics and language/speech disorders. I didn’t even care that he fell asleep an hour and a half into my studying.
Now, Travis wasn’t perfect by any means. I’ve seen Travis though great times, and extremely low times, but he was always constant. He truly lived a Christ centered life. Ha, this is the kid who stressed endlessly about being able to get his tithing in on time so he would be worthy of entering the temple! Travis had a strong testimony of the gospel and was unwavering in his faith. Those who knew Travis knew him as a goal setter, and a goal attainer. His goal was to return to his Father in Heaven. I think that’s exactly what he did.
I don’t know what happened. Frankly there are things that I really don’t want to know. I do know this though; Travis, regardless of what people say or think, I love you and I know that the atonement is indeed real. You were a grand example and a blessing in my life. Thank you for sharing precious hours of your earthly life with me. Till we meet again, I love you.
Travis Alexander may in fact be one of the most amazing people that I have ever met in my short 29 years. Seriously hands down this guy was truly remarkable. Travis had this thing about him that distinguished him from most people in this world. He was witty and full of adventure but with that he was "tight with Jesus." This guy not only believed in Christ and his Gospel but he had a relationship with Christ and God. He was never afraid to tell people about Christ, hence, his title. This is what he had called himself on his mission; The Mighty Mighty Mormon Missionary. He loved and embraced every moment of it, although when his mission was all said and done he never let go of teaching the Gospel and inspiring others to make the most of their journey in this life. This guy literally inspired every living Soul on this earth he had come in contact with. He never stopped motivating or teaching. It was his passion and he loved Christ so much that he could not stop, we have him on a old video tape literally singing to the Savior, he had the camera and came across a picture of Christ and busted out a song to him, not as a joke and not as a geek but someone who was witty and had this connection with the Savior. After recently seeing him sing this song to the Savior on that video tape, I realized that Travis got it. He got what life was about and we were only sixteen years old at that time. I believe in Christ and I believe in the plan but there is so much more to it then belief, I want what Travis had, to know the Savior, truly know him and remember him every moment of my days on this earth; as Travis did! On June 4, my dear friend moved on to the next life. In a short 30 years he has accomplished what most will never come close to. Although, Travis had been murdered and taken from this life, I know that it was his time to go. Anyone who has ever met him will testify that he comes close to perfection, an individual who completed the Journey of Life. I am so blessed to have known such an individual. Guaranteed this guy is right next to God and our Savior. Travis served part of his Mission in Colorado, where I have some relatives. I told him before he left to teach them and baptize them for me. Apparently they were playing "hard to get." Although, I am certain that he is up there right and this very moment teaching every single one of my relatives that have passed on. Travis don't worry I will do my part with them...You are as real as a they get, a true friend, hands down one of the most remarkable people I know that has walked upon this earth. I know the veil is thin I feel you all around, in the wind, as I look at the big bright moon. I love you Travis Alexander. I can't wait to see you on the other side!
Pictures above were taken back in 2006 for a get together in Huntington Beach, and then 1999. He and I had a broken heart. One day we were feeling down and out, so we decided to hit Big Bear and go Hiking. It started to rain and we apparently got a little rugged with all the mud. And though we were broken hearted we seemed to chuck those sad depressing, hating life feelings to the side for a moment and in that day we learned that life is beautiful and though we may have felt that life could not be more cruel and sad we knew that we would continue our journey in this life. Because we believed in the PLAN. We love the PLAN. And in the end happiness only lies...
"I believe Travis had a gift of knowing what someone may need; a kind word, encouragement, his testimony. I loved it when he'd IM me and tell me I was too old to be on FB. hehe. He called me girly even though I'm old enough to be his Mom. . . almost."
D'Ann Christensen DaBell
"Looking forward to the future I remember one time in priesthood when Travis sat down next to me as I was saying something about working two jobs (Target & Best Buy). He was so confused and asked me why? I told him that I was doing it for extra money and he was still so confused. He said to me, with your talents you could be working half the hours and making WAY more money! You need to achieve your potential brother! After Priesthood he went home and texted me a poem by Jessie B. Rittenhouse:
“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;
For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.”
Here's to asking life for anything and everything and encouraging those we meet along the way to do the same!
"Dumbfounded. Disappointed. Meanwhile... Travis would be telling us all "Hey, just chill out. It's all good. The right thing will happen in good time. Don't stress." ♥ Tara Paustenbach
"Travis was the life of every party, the happiest most uplifting person I have ever known. He made life so much fun. I love & miss him." Clancy Talbot
"That was Travis. He gave and gave of himself, didn't make promises he didn't keep -a good, kind, smart, man of his word." JoAnn Conner
"I have never known a more levelheaded, calm, mature man". Jensen Clifford
"Dear Travis, Its already been five years?? Thanks for wanting to take me to dinner every year for my birthday...even though it only ended up being two years in a row! Haha! You brought my BF a lot of happiness through the years-thanks for that too! I'm sorry you had to die such a horrible death. No one deserves that. I know that you are safe with your loved ones in the spirit world which is a comfort and a blessing! It won't be long until we are all together again!" Heart, TLGB
Tracy Lee green Burnham
"Travis was a mentor of mine in the business and we became really good friends. He was the most genuine person that I`ve met in a long time and had a heart of gold. We even trained on stage in front of hundreds of other people together here in Arizona. And you know, he was the comedian. He was funny. Gentle. Very, you know, honest. Danny Jones
"In my experience, knowing Travis, Travis was loving life. Travis was an amazing being."
"The first time I met Travis I serving as a missionary in the family ward that covered his house. His roommate was someone that had expressed interest. It never worked out but fast forward a year I had moved back and was in the same singles ward. I needed a place to stay so I asked if he had a room I could rent. His words to me were "for you, anything" I had only met him a few times but he made me feel welcome right away. I wish I would have had more time to get to know him more, but I'm extremely grateful that I did know him." Zachery Billings
"Five years ago a great man was taken from this planet way before his time. The good news that his legacy will live on within all the people who loved and respected him. His words and wisdom will live forever in all of us. I miss you T-Dogg. You would always answer when I called and always give good advice when I needed it. I miss you tremendously. Be at peace and know that we all love you." Amanda Gail Eiland