Montez McCrary was an avid fan of video games, architecture, and YouTube. No matter what his interest was, he wanted to share his joy with others.
He shared his life through his YouTube channel, The PractioNERD. After passing away at 35, he shared his tissue and corneas with patients who needed them by being a registered organ, eye, and tissue donor.
“He just cared about other people. I know that he would have done anything to help,” said Montez’s mother Renee.
Montez passed away from thrombo-pulmonary embolism in December 2020, just three weeks before his wedding date. He was set to marry his fiancé and middle school crush, Minh Pham.
“Never would I have guessed that I would fall in love with this quirky nerd,” said Minh. “Losing him was like losing my best friend. He will always be my first true love, my fairy tale prince, and my hero.”
Now, Montez’s family remembers the man he was through reminiscing about all his favorite things. He had a black belt in karate, loved learning computer languages, and was a huge fan of wrestling.
“He always represented himself as a proud nerd,” Renee said. “I just thought he was brilliant. He was also loving and nurturing. You know, he had a big, big, big heart.”
Some of his friends held a virtual 10 bell salute in honor of Montez after he died, and as a nod to his passion for wrestling.
Watching her older brother proudly describe himself as a nerd helped sister Maiya build her own confidence, she said.
“He is the reason that I’ve grown to love video games, computer languages, and proud to be a nerd,” Maiya said. “I’m blessed to be his little baby sister, and I don’t mind being his ‘little shadow’.”
One way his family keeps his legacy alive is by “talking about the things that he would do–the nerdy things especially,” said his father, Michael.
They also remember the difference he made in so many patients’ lives through being a donor with South Texas Blood & Tissue. His cornea donation went on to restore sight to two people and his tissue donation could go on to impact up to 75 different patients.
“You know, we have had so many people to tell us what a difference that he made in their lives,” Renee said.