Funeral Service Details
Monday, September 18, 2023
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
San Dimas Masonic Lodge No. 428
San Dimas, California
Monday, September 18, 2023
4:30 p.m - 6:30 p.m.
Bonita Center for the Arts
San Dimas, California
Aidan Thomas Kocalis (Peterson), “Bubba”, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 25, at home, in his sleep, early on the morning of Saturday, August 12, 2023. Aidan lived in Upland, CA, and was a friendly delivery driver for Domino’s Pizza in Rancho Cucamonga/Alta Loma, CA–easily recognizable in his yellow convertible Mustang, jamming to his heavy metal and punk tunes.
Aidan was born in Whittier, CA on May 8, 1998 to Kelly Ann Kocalis. He was the first Kocalis son and grandson, and took his job of being the eldest and most knowledgeable very seriously. Even as a little kid, he was a “Pied Piper”, of sorts, charming other kids (and even adults) into playing whatever entertained him. As Aidan grew up, he was joined by his brothers, Asher and Kellan Kocalis, and his cousins, Randy and Benjamin Stare; Gabriel Spradling; Lexi, Luke, and Zach Diedrick; Dakota Ruth; and Jamie, Izabel, Abel, and Jax Hawkins–all of whom looked up to him and loved him. He is survived by his mom, Kelly Kocalis; his Aunt Kory and Uncle Bob Stare; his Aunt Anna and Uncle Jeramy Hawkins; his Aunt Jill and Uncle Jarod Spradling; his Godmother, Martha Robbins; and his grandparents, Lil and Dennis Kocalis, and Tim Ruth.
Aidan graduated from San Dimas High School in 2016, where he participated in marching band, drumline, and drama. The highlight of his high school years, however, were the bonds he forged with his friends. This group of teenage boys grew up into men, meeting weekly on Mondays to play Dungeons & Dragons. They also enjoyed time at the shooting range, going on ski trips, playing airsoft, saving up to play Warhammer 40K, watching anime, and playing PC video games on Steam. Spending time with this group of young men was what Aidan looked forward to every week; he was very lucky to have them in his life.
Some of Aidan’s favorite places and activities were part of the family’s annual cross-country road trip. The penultimate part of each summer was the time he was able to spend at the family cabin in Merrifield, Minnesota, just outside of Brainerd. However, he also held a special place in his heart for Minneapolis, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and The Badlands of South Dakota. Although huge crowds were exhausting for Aidan, he never missed a year in going to the LA County Fair or the Renaissance Faire–traditions that began with family, which he ultimately shared with the boys. His favorite pastimes with his family were playing (and beating) escape rooms, strategic board games, cards, bowling, and Top Golf.
Aidan was well-known as being a walking encyclopedia of random information about which he was exceptionally passionate. He could twist any conversation back to his interests: politics, WWII, nautical science, military science, science fiction, D&D, The Titanic, Star Wars, and others. You only played trivia with him because you enjoyed his company, because the reality was that he just knew more than the rest of us and he was going to win. He loved touring military museums and retired warships, such as the Queen Mary, USS Alabama, and USS Iowa, because he already knew everything about them and relished in sharing his knowledge with anyone who would listen.
As a young man who was diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum at a young age, Aidan struggled early on with social cues and effective communication, but once he got his first phone, he perfected the art of communicating via memes. The photo album in his phone and computer was jammed full of thousands of memes that he saved and used wittily in silent conversations. If you sat across from him during a meal, he could carry on almost an entire conversation by passing his phone back-and-forth to you so you could read his memes. Now our entire family communicates this way. I don’t think that will end. Aidan was a square peg in this world of round holes, but that is part of what made him so special and so memorable. He marched to the beat of his own drummer, and was unapologetically himself. If only all of us could live that way.
We will be celebrating our memory of Aidan on September 18, 2023.
A viewing will take place between 12:30 and 2:30 PM at the San Dimas Masonic Temple, located at 220 N. Monte Vista Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773. Aidan will be escorted into the venue by Christian Erickson, Asher Kocalis, Paul Vincent Pignotti, Benjamin Stare, Randy Stare, and Robert Stare. He will be escorted out by Connor Cravens, Matthew “Moose” Jacobson, Ryan Mauawad, Antonio Rubio, Kaime Welsh, and Matthew Enriquez. Aidan’s tribute will begin at 4:30 PM at the Bonita Center for the Arts, 822 W. Covina Blvd., San Dimas, CA 91773. We would be honored if anyone who knew Aidan, or who would like to support his family, would join us to celebrate his life. We encourage all guests to be ready to share stories and memories about Aidan with all of us. Aidan was, after all, a master storyteller and sharer of all he knew with a wide circle of people whose lives he touched. We want to honor him with this moment where we are the ones sharing our memories and love of him. The tribute will be followed briefly by refreshments.
Hilgenfeld Mortuary in Anaheim, CA will be handling all of Aidan’s arrangements, including his delivery to both the viewing and the tribute, as well as his eventual cremation.
Finally, Aidan’s family is eternally grateful for all of the outreach from friends, family, and the community in this heartbreaking time. The GoFundMe has helped immensely in making sure that we are able to celebrate Aidan in a way that truly honors him and who he is. We could not have done this without you. We are also going to establish a foundation in his name at San Dimas High School that will support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our intent is to honor one graduating Saint each spring to help them pay for college or a trade school on their way to a career path of their choosing.