• Ryan Nathaniel Beye

  • Ryan Nathaniel Beye of Kansas City, Mo., died suddenly in his sleep on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012.

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  • Ryan Nathaniel Beye of Kansas City, Mo., died suddenly in his sleep on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012.
    Ryan was born on November 11, 1981, in Independence, Mo., the second child of Dawn and Kirk Beye. He grew up in Independence with his older brother, Travis. Ryan graduated from Truman High School in 2000 and studied studio art and graphic design at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He left college early to run his own small business, which he grew from a single button press in his parents’ basement to Bandwagon Merchandise, a growing and thriving company that now employs 11 people and prints over 250,000 shirts each year.
    Ryan showed a strong creative and entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, producing and printing his own zine, C4. He was heavily involved in Kansas City’s underground music scene and grew to become one of its most influential members. In junior high, Ryan began playing in garage bands with friends. He wrote songs, played bass and guitar, and performed lead and backup vocals. Ryan was a founding member of several rock, punk, metal, and hardcore bands, including Paradigm, The Underdog Conspiracy, Forever Has Fallen, Eyes of the Betrayer (EOTB), Dead Set, and The Fountain City Ramblers, a bluegrass punk band. Ryan was known for his passionate playing and sense of humor on stage. He often booked shows, designed band artwork and posters, and served as an unofficial business manager for his bands.
    In 2000, Ryan founded an independent record label, Recorse Records, which signed and produced albums for over a dozen bands, including Saved by Grace, The Tokyo Smash and EOTB. Ryan started a small screen printing business in 2003 out of a garage and began printing merchandise, primarily for bands. Over time it became Bandwagon Merchandise and moved operations to a large warehouse space on Cherry Street in Kansas City. Ryan emphasized quality work, exceptional care for his customers and employees, and re-investment in his business. Bandwagon grew consistently, printing merchandise for a wider range of clients, including Boulevard Brewing Co. and Urban Outfitters.
    Ryan’s mind for business and love of music was overshadowed only by his heart for people. If he learned of someone in need, he did what he could to help, even if it was someone he had just met. Ryan inspired and encouraged countless others to follow his example and do what they loved. When he wasn’t found pressing shirts after hours in his shop, Ryan loved to host “drive-in” movies and barbecues in his backyard and hold long, late-night conversations with friends on the front porch of his house, the “Monster Mansion.” Ryan strove to excel in everything he did and was known for grilling the perfect burger. He was an avid reader and Redditor and he enthusiastically led teams at two weekly trivia competitions. Ryan valued the simple joys of time with friends and family and eliciting laughter with his unexpected, hilarious and self-effacing brand of humor. He loved sharing life and his passion for music, learning, art, pop culture, games and screen printing with his girlfriend and soul mate Abby Dimalanta.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ryan is survived by his father, Kirk; his girlfriend Abby; his brother Travis and wife, Colleen; niece, Aria; uncle, Steve Bozich, and Sadie Bear (see also: The best dog in the whole wide world). Ryan was preceded in death by his mother, Dawn Weldon Beye; his grandparents, Clair and Jesse Weldon and Bill and Claramae Beye; and his aunts, Kim Weldon Bozich and Sue-Zan Beye.
    Ryan’s memorial celebration will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., Kansas City. Ryan’s family will host an informal visitation from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at Walnut Gardens Community of Christ Congregation, 19201 East R.D. Mize Road, Independence.
    In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Ryan Beye Foundation, created to honor Ryan’s legacy by supporting local artists, entrepreneurs, and persons in need. Contributions can be mailed to 4333 South Avon Drive, Independence, MO 64055.
    Online condolences and memories may be left for the family at www.speakschapel.com.
    Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel, 816-373-3600.
    Click here to send flowers.

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