Joel Luther Pearson died May 29 at age 48. He was a Baltimore resident.
Pearson was born in St. Cloud, Minn., on Dec. 3, 1964. He graduated from Technical High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota.
Pearson worked as an architect for Ziger/Snead Architects. During his years in Baltimore, he also worked at Marks, Thomas Architects and Melville Thomas Architects. For 10 years, Joel acted as a Big Brother of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Maryland. He was also heavily involved in his neighborhood association, serving on its architectural committee.
He was actively involved in and supportive of Moveable Feast, Equality Maryland and AIDS Action Baltimore. Pearson is survived by his partner of 20 years, Jon Adler Kaplan; his parents Marvin and Ione Pearson; his siblings Brian, Karla, Adair and Erin; nephews and nieces Kelly, Brooke, Brady, Markeshia, Ryan, Matthew, Samantha and Sydney; great-niece Amya; and other friends and family members.
“Joel will always be remembered for his kind, unassuming spirit and bright smile,” said Blade editor Kevin Naff, a personal friend. “Jon and Joel played an integral role in the passage of Maryland’s marriage equality law and the entire community owes them a debt of gratitude.”
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to BMoreFit (bmorefit.net). A memorial service was held May 31 and featured tributes from Maryland Dels. Mary Washington and Keiffer Mitchell.