Obituary of Aaron James Gangi

Aaron James Gangi, beloved son of Mark Joseph Gangi of Florida and Joann Mary White-Kimpel of Pennsylvania, all originally of Woburn, passed away unexpectedly Monday, October 23, in Colorado. He was 30 years old.

Born in Winchester, he spent most of his life in Woburn, where he attended the Reeves Elementary, Joyce Middle, and Woburn High Schools. AJ grew up on Day Circle on the west-side of town, where he spent countless hours playing with his neighbors. He loved all types of games and sports, from hide-and-go-seek to street hockey. There wasn’t a summer day during his childhood that wasn’t full of fun with family and friends. He also treasured “family game nights” on sundry Saturdays, when he’d test his wit and prowess against the family during heated battles of Trivial Pursuit and Life. Summer trips were another very special part of his life. No matter whether the family were heading to the cousins’ cottage in Cape Cod, the Ski Mill in Vermont, or York Beach in Maine, Aaron both looked forward to and relished his time during those reprieves. Roughing it, tenting it, campfiring-and-doughboying it--he enjoyed it all.

Aaron’s times as a teen were equally memorable. During his later years in school, Aaron demonstrated a natural aptitude for academics, specifically American history. There were very few facts he couldn’t reel off about World War II if asked, and he learned much of this from his grandfather, Richard White, who fought overseas for the U.S. Beyond the classroom, he embraced multiple things. Adept at skateboarding and voracious for music, he dabbled in many pursuits. He always had a love for movies, especially those first viewed at an early age along with his many cousins. Holidays were always times during which AJ had fun. You’d constantly hear his raucous laughing while everyone would share toasts, stories, and, of course, random movie quotes. There were countless get-togethers and cookouts, all of which yielded memories he talked about well into his adulthood.

After high school, Aaron left Woburn and settled in Pennsylvania where he became an auto mechanic. He loved working on cars, partly because it allowed him to apply both his brain and brawn. He spent several years working in a shop and was constantly fixing machines of his own, too. He had real prowess in many areas of his life, both academic and otherwise; however, his true mettle went beyond all this.

There is no grading system that can really reflect AJ’s worth. Although he crushed classes during early years but struggled with juggling them thereafter, he always earned an A in caring for others. From an early age, he showed compassion towards any and all who entered his life, from animals in his backyard to people in his neighborhood. His neighborhood held many rites; in all he joined, Aaron immersed himself both in the “game at hand” and consideration for his fellow participants. He was forever a good person.

Aaron’s life ended early--of that, there’s no debate. One thing we can all take solace in is that he was always trying to find the gold in the lead. His never-ending battle against the monsters inside reminds us that we’re forced to play the same game: being human means feeling emotions. AJ went through the gamut of such, but his struggle and loss, while tragic, are not the sum total of his life. He’ll forever be missed, but also forever remembered.

Aaron James is survived by his parents, Mark J. Gangi and his wife, Rhonda, and Joann M. White-Kimpel and her husband, Jim; his siblings, Richard D., Matthew J. and his wife, Stephanie, Jamie L. Schmitt and her husband, John, and Nicole S.; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Calling hours at the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, will be Tuesday evening, October 31st, from 4 to 8 pm. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.