Miami University student Aaron Lakes died the morning of Monday, Sept. 15. Paramedics transported him from his home on South Vine to McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

According to his friend, senior Andrew Hoelscher, Aaron was found at his home Monday morning after a two-day absence drew the suspicions of fellow O’Pub employees.

“From what I have been told, Aaron was found on his couch with fluid in his lungs,” Hoelscher said. “He had had a flu for weeks and was constantly having to take off work.”

Lakes, from Germantown, Ohio, was a junior studying Kinesiology at Miami’s regional campuses. He spent a large part of his time working at O’Pub in Oxford, where friends would come specifically to be with him.

“I was always excited for any chance I had to see Aaron,” Hoelscher said. “I was with him almost every weekend and he would make up crazy drinks and serve them to you. He loved to be creative in his work.”

For many of his friends, Lakes’ work as a bartender led to some of the most memorable nights of their college experience.

“He wasn’t just a bartender. He was a huge part of the Oxford community and part of the best memories that I have of Miami.” Miami University alumna Katie Bray said. “When I think of Aaron I think of him teaching us the Cat Daddy dance craze and visiting him at Brick Street … to say he will be missed by many is an understatement.”

Lakes’ death came as a shock for his friends who knew him for having a goofy nature and being full of life.

“He lit up a room with his smile and huge heart,” Bray said. “He treasured his friends, helped them through rough times and made them feel like they were part of his family.”

Lakes’ devotion to others and passion for creativity was not limited to his work outside Miami, but encompassed everything he did.

“For my two other children, and most kids I know, they just want to go to school and go through each class, getting it out of the way,” Lakes’ mother Kelly Lakes said. “Not Aaron, though. He had a passion for his classes and he always took pride in participating and being able to learn.”

Director of University News and Communications Claire Wagner expressed the University’s condolences.

“Anytime a young person is lost, we as the campus feel it because you never know the potential that he or she had, and what they might have done.” Wagner said. 

Funeral services for Lakes were held Friday, September 19 at Arpp and Root Funeral Home and Lakes’ burial followed at Germantown Cemetery.

“What I would like people to remember about Aaron is that he truly wanted to help others, even to the sacrifice of his own time and resources,” Kelly Lakes said. “He was a friend to everyone. He didn’t know a stranger.”

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