Aaron Perez

Memorial Service

3:00 pm
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Jamestown Community College - Weeks Gallery
525 Falconer Street
Jamestown, New York, United States

Obituary of Aaron Perez

Aaron Perez, 38, passed away Sunday, October 29, 2023 at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. He was born March 5, 1985 and spent his youth in Orange County CA, the son of Anthony and Patty Perez and brother to Kristy Alex, Anthony Perez Jr., and Alissa Smith. Aaron attended Capistrano Valley High School where he played snare drum in the marching band's drumline. During high school, Aaron found fulfillment in music and was devoted to the band. He was not only an objectively skilled musician, but the comradery, discipline, and artistry required of him as a musician became formative in Aaron's life as an artist. Aaron remained a lover of music throughout his life, finding inspiration that took many shapes. Aaron also traveled to Europe for the first time while in high school, setting into motion his lifelong love of travel and adventure. He spent time in many countries, of which his favorite was Japan. Throughout his life Aaron encouraged and facilitated experiences of travel and adventure for those he loved. He opened many doors that may have otherwise remained shut. After high school, Aaron attended the photography program at Orange Coast College before moving to Northern California to attend San Francisco State University. While at SFSU, Aaron worked as a photographer for the college paper, The Golden Gate Xpress, and graduated with a degree in photojournalism. Aaron possessed the ability to tell thoughtful and complete stories through images. He was able to capture so much with so little, a testament to his instinct, and the insight he had into his subjects. In San Francisco Aaron made lifelong friends whom he treasured. After college Aaron moved to New York City to continue to grow his career as a photojournalist. While in New York, Aaron found his way into working at the famed Bowery Bar (bbar) and sister guest house Lafayette House, where he created a community of colleagues and clients who admired and respected his calm, collected, and professional disposition. It was in New York that Aaron met his wife, Emily. They shared 6 years of vibrant adventures, travel, and fun before marrying in 2021 and relocating to her native Jamestown. Aaron embraced Jamestown immediately and became an active member of the community - seeing all its possibilities. He began instructing students in digital media production at Jamestown Community College, while he worked on archival and documentary projects of his own. Aaron found an immediate passion for teaching, inspired by his student's work to create even more of his own. In July, Aaron was named as JCC's second Artist in Residence through CRNY's Artist Employment Program. Through this position Aaron had begun work on a short documentary exploring Jamestown's municipal elections. He planned to continue to produce two more short docs over the next year, one highlighting the vitality of Jamestown's artistic community, and another illuminating the challenges the community is facing regarding domestic violence. Aaron was full of life - a connector, teacher, and friend who never stopped moving. He was always working to make things more efficient, more inclusive, and more fun. Aaron's legacy will live on beyond his documentary work, through the lives that he touched, even for a short time. His students, his friends, and his family who love him beyond words. Along with his wife, Emily Drew, he is survived by his parents, Anthony and Patty Perez of Mission Viejo, CA; his siblings, Kristy, Anthony and Alissa; and his 10 nieces and nephews: Aubrey, Tatum, Rowyn, Arlow, Madelyn, Camryn, Robyn, Brendan, Caleb and Jonas. Also surviving are his in-laws, Dennis and Kerry Drew of Jamestown; brother-in-law, Dennis Drew IV; and his two pugs, Oliver and Florence. A memorial service will be held at 3 pm on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023 at Jamestown Community College's Weeks Gallery. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Aaron Perez Media Arts Scholarship Fund (crcfonline.org) or the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (bafound.org).
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