For an old group of friends, spending last Friday night at the Malibu Boys and Girls Club seemed like old times—almost.
The group reunited for a reason none of them could fathom: the death of 24-year-old Tyler Robinson, the son of Malibu’s Boys and Girls Club founder, Scott Robinson. Tyler took his own life on Jan. 28.
“It’s really horrible for the people who grew up in Malibu to only come together when something like this happens,” said Ashley, one of Robinson’s friends. Ashley was one of dozens who shared memories of Robinson Friday.
His unexpected death came as a wake-up call to those who gathered in his honor.
“He had a darkness he didn’t show us,” one woman said. “He couldn’t ask for help, but we can.”
News of his death came just days after 25-year-old Malibu High alum Jay Ogawa, also a close friend of Robinson’s, died in a car accident near Bakersfield. Ogawa was a passenger in a Toyota on Jan. 21 that rolled over after its driver, 34-year-old Eunice Lee, attempted to change lanes in the path of another vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol. Lee suffered minor injuries.
After graduating from Malibu High in 2005, Jay went on to study at UC San Diego and UC Davis. Last December he earned certification as an accountant from UCLA, according to his obituary.
A service for Jay was held last Saturday at Malibu Presbyterian Church. He is survived by mother Michiko, father Kazumi and brother Ken Ogawa.
On a Facebook page honoring Jay, friends shared photos, videos and stories about Jay. One of the videos showed Jay belting out a karaoke song, while other photos showed Jay socializing, bowling and visiting with friends.
Five days before his death, Tyler Robinson memorialized Jay on the page on Jan. 23.
“I remember being a lost little kid going through literally the most uncomfortable/painful time in my life to date. I had heard rumors as a young teen about ‘Jay’s House’ but it was only still a myth to me,” Tyler wrote. “One night I received the invite to go to Jay’s, I was greeted warmly and treated like a human, showered with affection, unheard of bromance and respect… there was no falseness with Jay, he had an equal love and respect for everyone unless you were unkind to others… Jay was good like that.”
Growing up in Malibu, Tyler, nicknamed “T-Y,” was a staple at the local Boys and Girls Club. It’s how many came to know and love him, including his friend Alessandro.
“He had this magnificent power to get you in a good mood,” Alessandro said Friday.
His friend Gemma remembered riding in a car with Tyler and getting pulled over by the police years ago for playing Britney Spears music too loud.
“He just didn’t care,” Gemma said.
Tyler’s sister Noelle Robinson said her brother would have been blown away to see 75 of his old friends in place, like they were at the informal memorial held for him at “The Club” last Friday. “He would love this,” Noelle said in an interview with The Malibu Times. “He would be talking to you and [jokingly] say, ‘Oh, you’re doing an article? Let’s talk some more about me.’”
The Robinsons lived in Malibu until Tyler’s sophomore year at Malibu High School, after which they moved to Cathedral City where Scott Robinson became the head of that city’s Boys and Girls Club.
Tyler graduated from La Quinta High School and went on to attend College of the Desert. At the time of his death, Tyler was working at a resort in Indian Wells as a bartender, according to friends. But he never strayed far from his Malibu connections, many said. He frequented Santa Monica and would drop in on both the Santa Monica and Malibu Boys and Girls clubs well after he lived away from Malibu.
The Cathedral City Boys and Girls Club has set up a fund to honor Tyler’s memory and the Malibu Club plans on connecting donations to go directly to the fund.
Tyler is survived by his mother Kimberly Robinson, father Scott Robinson, stepmother Kara Robinson, sister Noelle, three grandparents, 13 aunts and uncles, nine cousins and two nieces and nephews, according to an obituary published in The Desert Sun.