Rylan Alexander Bledsoe, age 27, died on July 6 at his home in North Knoxville. Rylan was the beloved father of Walter Bledsoe, son of Wayne Bledsoe and the late Ruth Bledsoe, and brother of Lauren Bledsoe and the late Andrew Bledsoe.
Rylan was a well-known Knoxville multi-instrumentalist musician best known for his work as a drummer/singer/songwriter with the band Yak Strangler and former drummer of the band The Crumbsnatchers. He was also known to perform solo or in various configurations in clubs and public spaces around downtown Knoxville. He was also an accomplished cook and took pride in his jobs at Pop's Donuts, Tupelo Honey, Bistro at the Bijou, the Oliver Royale, as well as making meals for family and friends. Many of his best friends were made while working at Chick-Fil-A in West Town.
Rylan earned a bachelor of science degree in materials engineering from the University of Tennessee and had planned to return to the university to earn his Master's degree in the fall. He was also a red belt in taekwondo and had been an instructor at the Fierce Tiger Martial Arts Academy.
Rylan was born and grew up in Knoxville and attended Powell Elementary, Middle and High School before attending the University of Tennessee. He was a music student, at various times, of Jeff Bills, Keith Brown, Larry Long, Donald Brown and Bill Mize.
In addition to his son, father and sister, Rylan leaves grandmother Gaye Vandergriff, aunts and uncles, Carolyn Stevens, Mary and David Cobb, Kathryn and Mike LaMance, Walter's mother Lauren Bishop, many cousins, including Adam and Robin Crawford, Amy Batson, Matthew LaMance, Rachel LaMance, David, Catherine and Meredith Buckner, and so many, many wonderful close friends.
In addition to his mother and brother, he is preceded in death by grandparents Nancy Stevens, Dick Stevens, H.C. Vandergriff and great-grandparent Margaret Lucille Nicely.
The family will hold a very small private memorial in the near future and will hold an outdoor, pandemic-conscious public memorial service sometime thereafter. Details of the public service will be posted on Facebook and at www.waynestock.org when they are complete.
Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Bledsoe family and invites you to view and sign the online registry.
Wayne, my sincere condolences to you and your family. I pray for peace for you all and am so very sorry.
Marie, Wayne , Lauren and sweet Walter and complete family , my thoughts and prayers are with you.
It breaks my heart reading the posts on Rylan's passing. I've also known him since we were in Elementary school. Many people remember him because he was kind, humble, creative, intelligent, and overall just a great person. We kept in touch while I was away in college too and we touched base again when I finished. We hung out a few times at his house to play some music together and catch up. I am thankful for those times because we were able to have conversations about people, music, and just life in person again. We talked about performing together, but he became a father and I became a teacher. Big changes were happening for both of us. I remember him telling me he was going to be a dad and that he was anxious about it. I told him he was going to be a great father! No doubt! He loved his son more than anything. I'll miss him and our conversations.
I grew up with Rylan from 1st grade on. My first memory of him was in first grade when he came down with the chicken pox which I subsequently did as well. I liked to tease him about me missing our first grade field trip due to the fact he gave me chicken pox. He always brightened my day and made me enjoy my classes as I was able to sit so close to him due to our last names being close. I have vivid memories of our conversations in Algebra 2, English, and many more.He was such a joy to be around and I will never forget his presence and our many conversations. Rest easy, Rylan
Wayne, I know there aren't any words, but you and Lauren and Walter are in my thoughts.
Every interaction I had with Rylan was one of compassion, brilliance, talent, and curiosity. He never made anyone feel dumb or weird. He always had such a cool perspective to bring to whatever situation we were in or thing we were talking about. Truly a unique soul. He didn't seem to fear the big things in life.
I am deeply saddened over the world's loss. I pray that Walter, Lauren, and Wayne are constantly surrounded by love and peace.
One time, one of our roommates went through a bad break up. Rylan came up with the idea of buying a bunch of fruit at the Fellini Kroger so that we could play “Fruit Ninja” in the back yard. That game involved slicing fruit that had been softly tossed your way with a ninja sword. Rylan was right. It did cheer our friend up. It also looked like a tropical storm had just blown through our alley. It was one of the most fun days of my life. He is so intertwined into some of the most important memories of my life. The hurt and pain felt by myself and all of his loved ones, is a testament to how much he was loved. You will be forever missed and never forgotten. Rest easy, my friend.
I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear this news. I have so many great memories of discussing music and drums with Rylan, watching him play the drums, and even eating Fig Newtons with him. His drumming abilities inspired me practice and enjoy drumming on a higher level.
In addition, working with him on radio promotions was a complete pleasure. I really appreciated his honesty and passion as well.
My sincere condolences to the entire Bledsoe family.
Rylan was a good friend to me growing up, especially in high-school. My first memory of him was of an over night school event in the 5th grade where he had this skateboard that he rode down the halls and I'm pretty sure he rode it on stage that night for a talent show or something. Later in our schooling, we had many classes together and shared a home room since our last names are so close in the alphabet. We also shared the same middle name which was awesome! He was so unique, interesting, and lighthearted. He was definitely the friend I could connect most with on an intellectual level at Powell. No one else could compete in that regard. We went to parties together and performed live music together on several occasions. He was always introducing me to new things. One day he made me try some of his kimchi that I'm pretty sure he made himself. I didn't even know what kimchi was at the time. I ate it anyway and I have him to thank for me loving kimchi to this day. I was actually bit jealous of him, because he was so effortlessly cool with girls. His level of self acceptance and self confidence in his own skin was astounding. We both went into engineering school at UTK, but eventually we parted ways. Its really sad to hear about his passing. Perhaps the information that composed Rylan's soul is out there in the universe, reverberating amongst the solar plasma just waiting for a piece of advanced technology to reconstruct it. At least Simulation Theory hints at such a possibility. Duscussion of such a possibility would have been a conversation you could have had with Rylan.
Bless you, Rylan. You are as such a courageous, kind, brilliant, and precious person. I am deeply struck that you are gone, now. I just wanted to thank you for the kindness that you showed me. I wanted to thank you for your willingness to stand independent from the status quo. God bless your family. God bless your little Walter. May profound peace bless you always.
I knew Rylan through a mutual musical friend Cornbred. I opened up for them at a show around Christmas 🎄 time in a tiny little honky tonk called “Toots” a few years ago. Well I stayed yo watch them perform and Rylan was playing drums. I was just in awe!!! No words. Just pure magic music 🎶 something very special happened that night. It was a masterpiece of a live musical performance that I will never forget!! It was perfect! I then remained friends with Rylan. He always posted the most interesting articles and information on fb. When others merely posted attention seeking things or political garbage. Rylan wanted people to think 🤔 and learn about physics and science. I always enjoyed it and admired him for doing that. I will post the little bit of that magical night at Toots Little Honky Tonk. I really believe God was in that little bar that night! Everyone in that bar knew it too! Everyone was just like this is so amazing and incredible! The music was perfect!! Everyone played perfectly! Each allowing just enough room for other musicians to shine! The feeling and energy in that room was just heavenly. I wanted to share this story with the family and friends of Rylan. That night will always be one of the best music 🎶 memories I have!! That night was one of the best nights of my life!! I remember coming home and not being able to sleep just hearing the music in my head over and over. Even told my lady about it the next morning. I just could not get over how good it was!! I do hope that this may bring you some solace and comfort in this difficult time. I sincerely give you my best condolences.
I send condolences and love to you, Wayne and Lauren.
So very sad to lose this beautiful fellow. My deepest feelings go to all the Bledsoe family.
Wayne, my deepest sympathy for your family. You all are always in my prayers.
So sad. My heart goes out to Wayne and Lauren
Mom was so worried about you, Wayne, when tragedy struck before and I am sure she is standing beside your wife and Andrew now making him feel welcome in heaven for you. Prayers for the remaining family left behind.
Bless you, Wayne and Lauren. Yell when the tunes are ready.
Wayne, you and all your family have my deepest sympathy. -Sonja Spell
Wayne, I am so sorry about Rylan’s passing. Rylan, you, and your family are in my prayers.
Rylan will be sadly missed. We love you all.
The West Family
Ms.Gaye, so so sorry for your loss, sending prayers to the whole family.
I love you Rylan. Thank you for being my one of my best friends. I will remember our times together forever.
So sorry for your loss I considered Rylan a friend, one of the most caring and genuinely kind people I have had the honor of meeting, my heart goes out to the family as well as Lauren Copeland and their son Walter. You guys will remain in prayers.
Healing thoughts for your family...
We are so sorry to hear about Rylan's passing. Please know that all of you, especially his son are in our prayers and thoughts.. We love all of you so much!!!!
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