Jared Baez Leon
Our beloved son left us unexpectedly due to a traffic accident on August 27, 2020 to be with our Father in Heaven. Jared will be missed by family, friends, and all who came in contact with him. Jared had the most endearing smile, contagious laugh, and ability to brighten the darkest of days. Jared Baez Leon was born November 11th, 1989 in Tucson, Arizona. He was raised and spent most of his adult life in Tucson. He spent two years, living in Oakland, California while serving a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jared studied at Brigham Young University-Idaho, Pima College and the University of Arizona. He studied Anthropology and Biology. Jared had a love and care for all animals; dogs and exotic fish were among some of his favorites. Jared had a great passion for fine arts including piano and drawing. Jared spent much of his time teaching piano to many, including his siblings. Jared’s commitment to his family was lovingly eternal, and Jared tenderly demonstrated this daily as he treasured and loved spending time with his mom, Patricia Baez Leon and dad, Lupe Leon Jr.; brother, Luke Preston Leon; sisters, Ameryssa Baez Leon Tafoya, and Kiersten Alyse Leon; brother-in-law, Justin Tafoya; niece, Ryssa Jade Leon Tafoya. Jared had a special bond with his cousin, Derrick Leon Figueroa, whom he loved like a brother. His extended family includes many, and in Jared’s compassionate nature, he always found the opportunity to make every one feel special.
From the moment Jared entered our lives, things were forever changed. He knew how to make anyone and everyone happy. I would always ask him how do you do it? How are you able to make friends with such different typesof people? I can never do that. And he would tell me, making friends is easy, you just talk to them and then you can find a common ground with anyone and you just go from there. Jared had a way of making anyone smile, even if you didn’t want to smile. For example, when I was a little girl in elementary school kids would be mean to me, and I remember coming home one day and telling Jared how I felt. I wanted to be sad and cry, but my big brother would not let that happen. He instead told me, “you don’t need them its fine, you have your family and that’s all that matters.” He would give me a million compliments and I would feel like a queen. Then I remember him blasting our 90’s boombox and he just started jumping on the bed. Then he grabbed my hand and together we both started jumping on the bed, and all my worries completely faded. The love and care Jared had for me was endless. Our bond was something few will ever experience. As my parent’s recount, they could never recall a time when Jared and I would fight, he would watch over me like a hawk meeting all my needs especially whenour parents weren’t around. That is what is so special about Jared and the soul he has. I know that began long before hecame into our lives.
My parents have always told us that in the preexistence we knew each other, and we were excited for our mortal journey together. That excitement has continued through our earthly experiences. When my mom held Jared for the first time, she felt like her heart was going to burst. She turned to her mother feeling overcome with love for such a small little being, and asked, “mom, is this how much you love me?” “And my grandma said with love, “no, I love you more because I’ve had you longer.” As an infant my parents recount Jared was a cute and cuddly baby by day. But by night, he was an uncomfortable screaming colicky baby. But despite the challenges of being a new baby, my parents showered him with love. My mom would stay up all night feeding, cuddling, and soothing him. And the nights my dad was not working at the fire station, he would load Jared up in his Blazer in the middle of the night and drive him around the neighborhood for hours to soothe him.
Even as a toddler Jared showed an early desire to learn. He would frequently ask “what’s that?” Always wanting to learn more. He had such a love for books. His collection began from the Dr. Seuss books, to Michael Crichton, and everything in between. I don’t recall ever seeing him without a book. I would get so frustrated sometimes because we would be in such a hurry to leave and I’m trying to get him out the door, and he would be in his room staring at his book collection because he couldn’t decide which book he wanted to bring. My parents would buy us a bunch of medical books- made easy, and we would flip through every page of them. We would imagine what kind of doctors we would be when we grew up. He could hardly even pronounce infectious disease doctor, but from early on Jared set his ambitions high. Not only was Jared very ambitious but he also found a passion for art and creativity.
When Jared was a year old, my mom found him displaying his artistic ability on the walls, using his very limited resources. He was finger painting the crib, walls, and sheets, with the contents from his very dirty diaper. Fortunately for everyone, as he got older his art medium changed. Jared loved drawing and sketching people. He found such beauty in everything around him. He was especially drawn to people that would be easily overlooked, or not typically found as beautiful. From a lonely homeless woman to a tired old man, he always found a way to illustrate the beauty in those individuals. Anything Jared’s hands touched seem to be enriched. Jared began playing the piano at the age of seven. When his hands touched the piano, peace and beauty filled the room. It was very evident that he had a passion and dedication to master the piano. I remember him sitting at the piano for two, three hours at a time and I would always wonder don’t you get hungry or thirsty? Then it would come time for our piano recitals, and the award ceremony, and he would always receive well-earned awards. He later wanted to share his love of music to others, through teaching piano lessons.
Just as we knew every Tuesday was piano lessons, we also knew Saturdays were dedicated to soccer games. His passion for soccer was endless. He would watch soccer videos on YouTube, and make sure to perform his cool new tricks during the soccer game. Jared loved being physically fit and active. He started at the age of three and played on numerous leagues and clubs making countless friends along the way. Jared nurtured those friendships by keeping close contact with them and what they were doing in their lives.
In High school he served as a mentor and best friend to all. Jared would introduce many people as his best friend. We never understood why he wouldn’t single out one person.Now, I understand why he did that. I believe he was the best he could be, to that person and gave that friendship his all.He always knew how to get a laugh. Jared many times served as the court jester. While in his presence there was a very good chance you would leave with a smile on your face. This attribute carried with him throughout his life. My parents would often say “could we please have serious conversation.” His reply would be “of course” even though you could see his brain was turning, and a little grin was emerging as he thought of what he could say to make you laugh. He brought joy and laughter to the children he mentored at Casa de los ninos, which was a home for intervention, treatment, for children of child abuse. Jared continued serving in many other capacities. He earned his eagle scout by building a walkway at the Binghamtoncemetery, where our baby sister is buried, and graduated seminary while preparing to serve a full-time mission.Allthese things were accomplished before he graduated high school.
Jared captured the hearts of all he met. He made anyone feel special. It was something about the way he would look into your eyes and ask questions, because he was genuinely interested in your life. A new girl moved into the area, due to her mother passing away. She was greatly struggling with losing her mom, moving to an unfamiliar place and that soon changed when Jared entered her life. His beaming smile and contagious laugh could beam joy to even the most heartbroken and downtrodden. Jared invited her over to the house, to feel the love from family and had us quickly take her in. Jared always had a tender and loving heart. That big heart of his was a tool in the Lord’s hands, bringing many unto Christ.
While he served his full time 2-year mission, Jared learned to love the people in Oakland, California. With his strong desire to learn, he embraced the Polynesian culture and loved teaching in a new language. He believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and wanted others to know it as well. Hefound such joy in sharing the gospel. Whenever he had the opportunity to meet those who did not have the gospel in their life, Jared shared his testimony. Just days before Jared’s accident, he shared with me how much he loves the Book of Mormon, and he knows and feels of its truth. When a family in his mission area lost their father and husband, Jared and his companion were there to comfort them and remind them of our loving Heavenly Father and His plan of Salvation. Jared was one that fed the sheep within the fold and sought after those who were lost.
After returning from his mission Jared continued his education attending Pima, BYU and the U/A. From Biology Science, he continued his studies loving the field of anthropology. He recently started a business in aquatics and gems and minerals. His zest for life kept him hecticallybusy. But he always made time for his family, He lived by families are forever. There wasn’t anything that Jared would not do for you. He always made time for Mom, Dad, Luke, Kiersten and me. His generosity was so evident because he was always giving to those around him while serving himself last.In fact, everything he made, he gave away to those he loved and those in need.
I can think of many many times that he displayed his love and kindness to others without ever thinking about himself. I’ve witnessed our little brother Luke complement his watch and without a second thought he took it off and said “it’s yours”. When we moved to Utah for months we would get a phone call from Jared and the conversation would go kinda like this: hey are you guys home? Yes. Good! I ordered you guys dinner/dessert and it will be there in 15 mins. I’ve already paid for it all including the tip, so you don’t have to worry about anything! Or… the many times we would come to visit and on our last day visiting he would pull out his wallet and grab all the cash out of his wallet and give it to us, when we refused he would sneak it into our bag when we weren’t looking. He would always tell baby Ryssa that he was going to spoil her and he would. He would send us all kinda of toys and gifts for her. Now, after I’ve said all this… I’m sure you are thinking that he must have had a lot of money to always be giving so much…
On the contrary, he wasn’t rich or had lots of money to blow… he worked very hard for his money. That’s what’s so special about Jared. He gave and gave and gave and never thought about himself. On busy days he would come visit late at night for dinner, I heard him say “I work so hard because I love my family”. And he did love his family.
Jared knew how to light up a room with his smile. When he walked into a room everyone would light up… even if you didn’t want to light up, you would light up. It is just his personality. He lived to make others smile and enlighten them even if it was just for a moment. So as we mourn and miss his presence, he would want us all to find a reason to smile. So as hard as it is, I hope you can find a reason to smile for him.
Jared may have only been with us for a time, but I know we will always continue to love him. Although our mortal journey with Jared has ended, we know our relationship with him will continue into the eternities.