A deep passion for music resonated with computer science sophomore Aaron Wolf ever since he was young.
“I can remember driving him to school in the morning — 9th grade, 10th grade — before he got his driver’s license,” Marcia Gerg, Wolf’s mother, said. “And we’d have music quizzes. Because I needed to understand and know his music. He would quiz me, and I know he’d done it to (his girlfriend), too. Because that was his life. He loved it.”
It was part of what connected him to his friends and family. Part of what helped him bond and express himself.
On Monday, those who knew Wolf gathered in his honor, and were able to listen to him sing as a group one more time.
In the middle of the vigil, a friend of Wolf’s had pulled up an iPhone video he had saved. It wasn’t long, but it was Wolf — laughing and singing Twenty One Pilots’ “The Pantaloon” while his fingers tapped across piano keys.
Wolf, originally from Danville, had grown up with Gerg; his father, Mitchell Wolf; sister, Amanda Wolf; and grandfather, Robert Alexander.
But the packed conference room in the Julian A. McPhee University Union was there on Monday night to remember Wolf as they knew him: someone who was talented, smart, selfless and deeply loved and missed.
“He was a spectacular person who brought warmth and happiness to everybody who met him,” said materials engineering sophomore Kent Nakano, a friend and fraternity brother of Wolf’s in Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE). “If someone was having a hard time, he would be there for you.”
Many who spoke during the service recounted tales of Wolf reaching out to them whether they knew him at the time or not, saying that he felt like someone they could open up to.
“I think the two things I learned from him were to put people before yourself and really genuinely love people that you have in your life,” business administration junior CJ Estores, another TKE member, said after the vigil. “You never know what will happen, so never leave a conversation angry. Never leave your house angry at your roommates.”
One of Wolf’s friends had come to the podium with stories of Wolf helping them with homework, no matter how late or seemingly difficult the work.
Others added that, despite ditching class, Wolf was incredibly smart and generally knew answers that had stumped them.
“He used to say to me, ‘Mom, you told me when I got to college it was going to be hard,’ and then he goes, ‘I’m still waiting for it to get hard,’” Gerg said. “And then I find out that he only went to class half the time. And how would I know, because he made Dean’s List every time.”
Cal Poly had been Wolf’s dream school, according to Gerg. That he was doing well there, both academically and socially, was a point of pride.
“This was the only school that he wanted to go to,” she said. “And then he got in, and he loved it here. He was a Mustang.”