By John Toole
---- — LONDONDERRY — The Londonderry High School community is mourning the loss of one of its graduates, the son of a staff member.
Army Cpl. Tyler J. Pimpis, 22, died from injuries suffered in a motorcyle accident last week in Texas, where he was stationed at Fort Hood.
“I remember Tyler’s smiles,” principal Jason Parent said Tuesday. “He was always friendly, a very good kid. He very much wanted to serve his country.”
Pimpis did just that, serving his nation in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012.
Parent recalled Pimpis working hard to get his diploma to fulfill his dream of serving in the Army.
“He really plugged away,” the principal said.
But it was the smile everyone at Londonderry remembers.
“Tyler was a really nice, polite kid,” teacher Steve Juster said. “He was reserved overall in school, but he had a quick smile that put people at ease, a real trustworthy type.”
Pimpis, a Derry native, is the son of Stephen Pimpis and Laurie Dawkins, who works at the school as a member of the special education staff.
Parent acknowledged Pimpis’s death is particularly hard because his mother is a member of the Londonderry High staff.
Many faculty members also knew both Pimpis, a member of the Class of 2009, and his sister, Kaila, a member of the Class of 2011, the principal said.
Tyler Pimpis’s surprise visit for Kaila’s graduation two years ago was a special moment for the family and the school.
“I can’t believe it,” Kaila said at the time. “Everyone wants all these expensive gifts, but that’s all I wanted was him at my graduation.”
Family mattered to Pimpis.
“When he was stationed in Germany, he arranged some time off and had his family come over to see the country with him,” Juster said. “He valued his family very much.”
Pimpis played on the varsity lacrosse and football teams while at Londonderry and excelled in art, in both woodworking and metal craft.
“He was a really good art student,” Parent said.
He cared about his alma mater, too. That time he visited his graduating sister? He stuck around to answer questions from other Londonderry students about serving in the military.
“He answered most every question he could, very patiently explaining certain terms and insignias they would ask about,” Juster said. “He did the Army proud.”
Pimpis was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division.
His military decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Driver and Mechanic Badge.
“He made Londonderry High School proud by his service,” Juster said.
Londonderry High School has lost four young soldiers in recent years, Parent said.
Calling hours for Pimpis are 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium, 290 Mammoth Road.
A funeral service with military honors is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.