Tyran Patterson and Dyanla “Dede” Rainey met while he was working at Footlocker in April 2019 and quickly bonded over their love of sneakers and basketball.
The two fell in love, created a Youtube channel together and spent time living together with the rest of the Rainey family.
But Rainey, 22, a former star high school basketball player, was fatally shot in Maywood on Sunday, according to police.
Family and friends gathered Monday night for a vigil, where teal and white balloons were released in Rainey’s honor. According to Patterson, blue was her favorite color.
“Dede had the sweetest personality,” she said. “(She) was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met, so determined, so caring, (so) understanding… I can’t express it enough: she was the perfect person.”
While in high school, Dede Rainey and her twin sister, Miyanda Rainey, led the Marshall Metropolitan High School girls basketball team to the Class 2A state championship in 2018.
[ Marshall, Montini girls rebound for third-place state finishes ]
“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Dyanla Rainey,” said David Rosengard, executive director of athletic administration for Chicago Public Schools. “Dyanla was an integral part of the Marshall community and her incredible legacy as a state champion in women’s basketball and her impact as a member of the Marshall family and CPS will always be remembered and honored. Our thoughts are with the Rainey family and the greater Marshall and CPS community at this time.”
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While Dede was still playing basketball in college, the pandemic changed the course of her life, pushing her to focus on building a home daycare business with her sister, according to Patterson. She remembered her choosing the house they recently bought in Maywood with the children’s happiness as a priority.
Patterson said the children gravitated toward her.
“A couple of mornings I went with her to pick up the kids, and when she came out with them, they had the biggest smiles on their faces,” he said. “All the kids loved Dede.”
He called the shooting “really random,” because Dede Rainey was coming home from cleaning his car like he did every Sunday. The two were looking forward to a trip to Houston together for her birthday in October. Now, he spends time with the Rainey family on her front porch, reminiscing about her life and wondering what’s next for him.
“I always had Dede. I always had Dede. When she had nothing, she had Dede. And now that Dede is gone, I feel like I have nothing,” Patterson said through tears. “And I miss her so much”.
The family is hosting a wake Sunday from 4-7 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Greater Christian Love MB Church and a celebration of life Monday from 10 a.m. at the Miracle Revival Center.
Maywood detectives continue to investigate the incident, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Maywood Police Department Investigations Unit at (708) 450-4471, ext. 4307.