Jared Randolph Pierce, 39, died Friday, August 10, 2018 at his home in Portland, Oregon. Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on October 10, 1978, Jared was the eldest son of Evelyn Diane Schrantz and James Richard Pierce, III.
Jared was joyful, caring, and kind-hearted, with a passion for reading, traveling, and helping others. He excelled in school at every level, becoming the Valedictorian of his class in 1998 and earning the National Merit Scholarship for academic achievement. As a rising senior in high school, he was awarded a scholarship from the Congress-Bundestag exchange student program, providing him the exciting opportunity to spend a year abroad, attending school and experiencing life in the town of Höchstadt, Germany. After graduating, he also earned the Hays Memorial scholarship from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He later spent one semester away from Hendrix, studying in Austria and traveling around Europe.
While in college, Jared met his eventual husband, Dr. Erik Kilgore, who also shared his love for travel. Together they explored the world, including, among many other places, visits to Iceland, Japan, Africa, and Antarctica. On September 7, 2013, after 13 years together, Jared and Erik were married in Portland, surrounded by family, friends, and their dog, Max.
Jared had a kind smile, an engaging personality, and a boisterous laugh. He was energetic and playful; his imagination knew no bounds, even as an adult, and he embraced silliness in any form, which made him a favorite among his cousins, nieces, and nephews. The mere mention of a visit from “Uncle Jared” was enough to elicit big smiles (and even the occasional dance). He had a natural ability to bring joy to the lives of others.
From an early age, Jared also exhibited a tremendous talent for singing. Whether for the modest congregation of his church, the massive audiences of the Pine Bluff High School Choir Follies, or just his family as he bellowed from the shower, he happily shared this gift with anyone who would listen. He even joined several local choirs during his travels abroad, singing in German rather than his native English.
Throughout his life, Jared led by example. In high school, he tutored underachieving elementary school kids, in addition to some of his peers. At age 15, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of the local Troop 100 in his hometown of Pine Bluff. Later in life, he became an active volunteer for a local non-profit in Portland (CAP), and he fiercely advocated for the acceptance, equal treatment, and full citizenship of everyone in the LGBTQ community. It was all part of his “other-centered” mentality, as one of his high school counselors phrased it – focusing not on himself, but on the needs of those around him.
Jared will be dearly missed. In addition to his loving husband, Erik, of Portland, Jared is survived by his mother, Diane Schrantz of Little Rock, AR; his father, Rick (Kathy) of Rogers, AR; his brother, Jeff (Courtney), also of Little Rock; and step-brothers, Ben Fox (Ashley) of Bentonville, AR, Spencer Fox (Heather) of Rogers, AR, and Greg Fox (Mary-Margaret) of Fayetteville, AR. He will also be remembered with love by his 5 nieces and 5 nephews.
A celebration of Jared’s life will be held in Portland, Oregon on October 13. Services in Little Rock, Arkansas have been held.
Memorials may be made to the Oregon Humane Society, 1067 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97211 (www.oregonhumane.org) or AFS-USA, Inc., National Development Office, 120 Wall Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10005 (www.afsusa.org).
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