1973-2014

Dominic Engels-Tereshka — the charismatic shit-talker and BMX lifer known to many simply as DBZ — died on December 22, 2014. He struggled with depression, mental health issues, and drug abuse all his life. It was not his first suicide attempt.


Dominic was a punk-rock idealist who believed in nothing but truth. His cynicism fueled a sense of humor and a cackling laugh that were somehow life-affirming in their profanity. He was educated, articulate, and brilliantly perceptive, but his favorite target of mockery was himself. He was generous even though he was penniless. He watched BMX videos, kept his bike tuned like a Swiss watch, and updated parts constantly, even though he hadn’t really ridden in 15 years. He was a tattooed goth, but his mysterious British accent could charm the pants off your grandmother. His cross-dressing alter ego was named Dorothy.

The film “E.T.” sparked Dominic's lifelong passion for BMX, and through street riding, he was able to make sense of the chaotic urban landscape that he found so oppressive.

He left his native England for the U.S. in 1997 and criss-crossed the country, living with friends or in punk houses in Bethlehem, PA; New York City; Ashland, NC; Austin, TX, and Long Beach, CA. He came to regard Portland, OR, as home, and was a fixture in the local BMX community.

He co-organized a weekly BMX movie night at a Portland bar during the summer of 2009. In summer 2010, he spearheaded a weekly nighttime street ride. He revived the tradition in 2014, culminating in a “handrail jam” with sponsorship from Cult. It was always his greatest pleasure to see young riders involved. He defended the integrity of BMX with every ounce of his being.

Dominic was a trained graphic designer, and he poured enormous energy into creating flyers for these events, as well as T-shirts, patches, stickers, buttons and zines for his own creative satisfaction. He produced graphics for the brands Fremont and Stranger and for friends' bands, although the professional pressure always burned him out.

Even after overcoming an addiction to crack cocaine in the early 2000s, Dominic still partied harder than anyone, and occasional “recreational” drug use inevitably led to long bouts with hard drugs. His legal status eventually made it difficult to find work, and the threat of deportation weighed on him. His married life was a source of great hope and of equal pain.

Dominic is survived by his wife Alex. They loved each other madly.


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Feel free to leave your remembrances below. Donations can be made here. There will be memorials for close friends and for the Portland BMX community. Details to follow.

26 comments:

  1. Thanks for this beautiful obituary. My thoughts go out to everyone close to Dominic. I'll post more reminiscences later when I have more of a chance to collect my thoughts.

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  2. During the fall of '09 I met Dominic a few times when I was with Dan, Drew and Walter, certainly not enough time to get to know him on a personal level. Far more frequently that year I was arriving in his chaotic wake. I spent a lot of time hearing people tell me what I missed, what I could have experienced if I had been present minutes, hours or months earlier. He'll always be the legendary character from the Board to me, I'm grateful for the times when I was there. I imagine those of you who bonded with him have experienced a loss that I'm not able to relate to, I feel for you as you grieve. Rest in Peace DBZ.

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    1. "Funny, I don't remember drinking blood at Cici's Pizza."

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  3. thank you for writing this obituary. dom was by my side through some of my darkest hours.
    here is a beautiful and touching lettter he wrote me during those days.

    "10/8/10

    Hey.

    I love you.
    It's so strange to feel like I'm thinking rationally and dealing with my emotions, when the physical need to cry and scream wells up out of me without warning or reason.
    I've had friends die on me before, but never anybody who meant as much to me--and it doesn't make it any easier. I kind of know what to expect and how long it will drag on for (forever), but it isn't anything you get used to.
    (redacted) You WILL ask yourself forever, "What else could I have done?" but it won't make any difference. I will, too, and it won't make any difference. It won't ever become any easier to accept, but it will become something that has happened in your life, just like the places you've visited before and will never see again, or whatever you ate for breakfast a week ago.

    I will be here for you. Whatever you need, I will help. It's as much for me as it is for you, so don't think I'm being selfless and "a great guy" or whatever--I need to help you get through the next couple of months or weeks or years, just as much as you'll need that help. Without that, all I have is introspection and torturing myself.
    Please don't shut me out.

    (redacted)

    I'll be here for you, darling. Whatever you need, I've got the time and energy and ability to do it.
    I wish I was with you now. It is so hard to be alone and think of you hurting like this.
    I'm occupying myself by, well, drinking like a fucking fish, and organizing ****. Hopefully we can get that done soon and pay your rent for a month, to give you some breathing room. As well as that, the weekend after next we'll be having a balls-out, out-of-control, scream-at-the-moon all-night freak-out at ***** the weekend after next. We'll play all his favorite music (that fucker had great taste in music!) and just cutting loose. Fuck hanging out in a bar; I need to get high as a kite, puking drunk, piss my pants and lose my mind. I'm not alone.
    I'm more than grateful for the times I had with him, but I'm so fucking resentful that I won't have any more.

    I want to put a book together of all the ridiculous stories of him…

    I'll be in touch soon, sweetheart. I'm trying to give you some space right now, and *** said she's looking after you, but I'm looking after you.
    I love you."

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    1. I have stories and pics I'd like to contribute if you would like! 😁

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    2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter--it means so much to see these words...

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  4. Cantelowes misses you punk!
    X

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    1. All pictures, stories, impressions, memorabilia, etc. are welcome and much appreciated. Recognizing him in the experiences of others has been an incredible way to continue to feel connected to him... He still surprises me sometimes.

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  5. Dom was my little big brother from about 1988. What a wonderful being. Gutted to lose him. Tim Goldie

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  6. Hey Dom,
    Worked with you only for a short time at a shitty job, you were a good guy to have for a co-worker though. Showed me some ropes about bike mechanics, and kept it pretty real. Sorry you're gone man.
    -KW

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  8. Alex T pls can you get in touch on FB - this is Will in UK, old friend

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  9. or somehow get the fuck in touch I knew Dom from the teacher sitting us together because our second names were together in the alphabet. Will Day, Brighton.

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  10. Open letter to my soul brother (departed)
    Dear Buzzard,
    I only found out last night that you've gone. I wanted to find you again.. I wanted to invite you to my 50th birthday party! I was thinking back to when we met; do you remember? I was 23 and you were 16 ( you used to tell people that you were 15 and that I corrupted you; this IS NOT TRUE!) It was the long hot summer of 1989. I was driving by in my Mini 1275GT (with full fold back sunroof) and you were hitching home from school. You'd probably spent your bus money on typewriter ink or guitar strings. You jumped in the back and I said "Hi,what's your name?" and you said (real dead pan) "I'm The Hungry Buzzard from Hell" and I said, "I'll probably just call you Buzzard"...Then it stuck! We got talking in the car and I didn't drop you off, I took you home with me....and that's where it all began.
    We got a few raised eyebrows over the next few years (especially from your Dad). Not sure your school friends appreciated some random grown-up tagging along and my friends could not fathom my friendship with this scrawney, pimply Punk with PVC drainpipes held together with duck tape! But we were inseparable and we laughed and laughed and looked after each other through the highs (very high!) and the lows (pretty low!). I was so privilleged to have those years with you.

    Our relationship was one of just a tiny handful of times I have experienced TOTAL and MUTUAL UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Thank you.

    I remember all the beautiful little gifts you used to bring me; the compilation tapes you used to make me with painstaking and beautiful artwoork on the sleeves. I still have them even though I went on to live on the road and I haven't owned a cassette player for years!
    I remember the fanzines you used to write on your old fashioned typewriter and you had about 3 subscribers and you used to type 3 copies of everything and you used to dutifully send them out each month to your faithful followers - kinda analogue Twitter! You made me laugh until I cried with joy!
    Do you remember when they installed a "make your own stickers" machine in the Mall by Waitrose supermarket? You took it as a green card to stick stickers on all the meat in the supermarket. The one I remember that made me laugh - DANGER - FROZEN SPHINCTER - DO NOT EAT (on all the joints of meat in the frozen section!)

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  11. And then you so desperately wanted to leave Bath ( around 19) and you came round to mine with a pamphlet from a medical research laboratory , proudly announcing that you were gonna let them inject some SHIT into you and record how f****d up you got and pay you £800 to sign a legal disclaimer so you could buy a ticket to the U S of A to pursue your BMX dreams!!!!! Jesus f******g Christ........so I raided every piggy bank and raided the rent and scraped together £300 for you to make you promise you wouldn't go to the medical lab! And then I knew when you opened the envelope I would never see you again but at the time that's what I wanted. I wanted The Hungry Buzzard from Hell to spread his wings and find his own place in the world.
    And then there was the time when you came back to England and arranged to meet me and I DIDN'T COME. Buzzzard, my truck broke down and I couldn't ring you (no mobiles) and you must've stood there and I DIDN'T COME! And I'm soooooooo sorry. But the universe conspired to keep the legend in tact and not sully it with cheezy family get-togethers. x
    Sometimes, over these lean years away from you, I have felt you crying out across the cosmic airwaves and I have spent long days trying to find you online but all I've found under your real name is a coupla mugshots courtesy of the Oregon Police Dept. Yeah, you're so PUNK ROCK of course you don't use your real name online! Last year I was MAD looking for you; possessed.

    Buzzard, you were my best friend, sometimes my brother, sometimes my son, ALWAYS my teacher. Friends of mine would take me aside and ask me, " Are you and Buzzard lovers?", and I'd say to them, "Look, I'm a 23 year old woman and he's a teenage school boy.....WHAT DO YOU THINK?" And we'd laugh and we'd laugh and we'd laugh.
    Well...HBFH, you've won, you've OUTPUNKED me. I love and respect you for all you have given.
    You have my love today as always, Bekkki Love x

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  12. I wish we;d had mobile phones back then. Would've loved to have filmed you inhaling a condom and regurgitating it out of your mouth!

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  13. kinda like when my cat ate a skipping rope!!!!!

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  14. Alex, I can't wait to meet you. x

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  15. p.s. my 50th birthday party is 5th September in North Herefordshire. Wouldn't it be cool for all Buzzard's best mates to come. Call me x 07702181288 or 01568 615584

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    1. Will do. Thank you so much for sharing this--I remember him telling parts of this story, but it's interesting to hear from another perspective. I know you meant a lot to him, and I'd love to meet you one day, too. Talk to you soon. <3

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    2. yes please! If you can call me I'll call you straight back. xxxx

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    3. Tony just messaged me your email address so I'll email you my email address so you can email me your phone number! x

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    4. Becky Lovelock is it? wow. long time.

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  16. I remember Dom, at Llanarth Court Prep School, 83/86 Raglan Wales. We used to sit together in Art Class, he was very good at art then, he taught me to paint Vietnam models. I'm sure this is the Dom I know. Looks the same, he was such a rebel at school.

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  17. Dom, fitting that I should find out about your death years later; I still have your beautiful hand written letters of love; I always admired your talents; I remember visiting you in every IC unit in Portland as you were hell bent on ending it...but you made it a lot further since that time...and I am glad for it... thanks for heaven and thanks for hell, may the two come together and give you peace... with love your from your first wife, Hide... hope you are riding your bike searching for raccoon bears...somewhere...

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