Obituary for Aaron Joerger - October, 2013.

Aaron Joerger  

1991 - 2013


Aaron Maxwell Joerger

March 8, 1991 - October 18, 2013

SALEM - Aaron was born in Salem, Oregon to Lissa and Mark Joerger. He died at home from an apparent embolism a few weeks following surgery for a broken ankle. Aaron embraced life and he was just getting started on his adult journey.

Aaron's middle name was chosen when he was born and his father saw that he was a very big baby! It also referred to the famous mathematician James Maxwell. He sometimes went by "Max," a name that suited him well. Appropriately, Aaron loved math, a gift he shared with his father.

At nine he and his father teamed up to build combat robots. Aaron and Mark entered "Robotica", a multi-day competition that aired internationally on the Discover TV networks, and won the first season Grand Championship. Their success earned them two trips to London to compete in the hit BBC show "Robot Wars", where Aaron was interviewed by reporters from nations across Europe, and was featured on the Nickelodeon and Spike networks. At thirteen he competed at the Robot Fighting League National Championships, placing third against tough adult competition. For the last ten years he worked with his Dad to answer more than 4500 technical questions about robots from enthusiasts and builders around the world on his "Ask Aaron" website.

Aaron graduated in the class of 2009 from South Salem High, where he was the student manager for the football and basketball programs. He went on to graduate with honors from Chemeketa Community College as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He had just begun his first weeks as a junior at Western Oregon University where he was enrolled as a Communications student with a minor in Sports Management. His career plan was to work in the business of sports and he had already secured a job at WOU as assistant to the equipment manager for the school's sports teams.

Aaron loved people. He liked nearly everyone he ever met and was very interested in learning all about them and remembered every detail. Writing poetry, listening to classic rock & roll and the blues as well as anything on NPR, reading science fiction and watching football, baseball, game shows and talk shows were some of his favorite activities. He enjoyed card games and online games that allowed him to interact socially with other players. Travel energized Aaron more than anything; he loved new places, people and experiences. Aaron was a happy, even exuberant child and young man.

When he was very young, he was diagnosed with Dyspraxia, a movement and sensory integration disorder that made everything he tried to do more difficult and time consuming. From moving his eyes along a line of print, to holding a pencil to write, to forming clear speech, Aaron had to work very, very hard - often to exhaustion. Tall and big enough to be a lineman or a basketball player, he did not have the athletic ability to play, although he delighted in supporting his teams and he did develop a mean game of Ping Pong.

Aaron faced his obstacles with perseverance, determination and hard work in therapies and at home, missing out on many normal activities of childhood. He never ever gave up, and by the time of his passing, he had overcome all but a few vestiges of his disability. He was a gentle, bright person; a loving, cheerful soul and our much-cherished only child.

He is survived by his loving parents and many friends.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to NPR, Marion County Food Bank, The Humane Society of the Willamette Valley or HOME youth center - organizations where Aaron volunteered or contributed.

Published in the StatesmanJournal on Oct. 23, 2013.


Wind flows like a river
from cloud mountains, whooshing
over landscapes of treetops,
through seas of air,

Mixing with the flood
of other brooks and streams,
torrents and eddies, unseen,
sweeping up leaves,

Shows its path, swirling, turning,
like athletes and dancers,
and lifting dust on waves and spray
colors sunset with bright liquid shades.

- Aaron Joerger
More of Aaron's Poems

Aaron's Minecraft High Dive Video

Aaron's World of Warcraft New Player Guide

December 17, 2020

A donation was made to Blue Ridge Area Food Bank In Honor of Aaron Joerger.

Lahiru Passela, Herndon, Virginia

July 25, 2020

I'm so sorry for your loss of Aaron. He seemed like a gentle soul, and a big fan of Combat Robots. I give my deepest condolences and respects.

PixelCrunch, Osterville, Massachusetts

April 12, 2014

R.I.P. Aaron we will all miss you
the worldwide robotic combat community

Tommy McCreight, Orlando, FL

October 28, 2013

Aaron was a good neighbor and friend.
He succeeded beyond expectations in school and life despite his disadvantages.
I can't believe he is no longer with us; we will miss his enthusiasm and friendliness.

Ian Harris, Salem, OR

October 26, 2013

The most excited and energetic competitor in all of competition robotics! A true sportsman! It was a privilege to share those times with him.

Tom Vaeretti, Birmingham, AL

October 26, 2013

My sisters and I attended the filming of the entire Robotica TV series. We were so impressed with Aaron's enthusiasm and ability to wow the crowd. He was only about 10 years old at the time but did very well competing with the adults.

You are in my thoughts.

Joanne Cunningham
(Mike Morrow's Mother)

October 24, 2013

Thoughts and prayers. He was an amazing man.

Kristy Oneill, Now- Chicago, IL

October 24, 2013

I got to know Aaron from him working with me at WOU. His smile, his wit and laughter will be missed. I only got to know him over the two weeks before he broke his ankle, but they were a great two weeks.

Kenneth Slough, Monmouth, OR

October 24, 2013

I never knew Aaron, but submited questions on his Ask Aaron Combat Robot website. I'm very sadneded to learn of his sudden passing. A Haiku in tribute of Aaron:

Spring, new buck - gone
The grass stunted to grow
Slowed by sadness

My condolences to his family.

October 23, 2013

Aaron was a great guy. He always could make me laugh and I will miss him. Fondest memories I have with him are all on online game playing...of which I got to know him and appreciate truly who he was. He always asked how you were, always made sure you were happy, and he never backed down from being who he was. He was courageous in his own way, and that in turn can change others around him. We will all miss you, the people whose lives you've touched along the way. I've prepared a poem I had written a long time ago in high school that's perfect for this situation.

A Drifters Melody

A time soon comes for parting
and our time is at an end
Your new life is starting,
and there's no time at all to spend.

You knew one day you'd have to go
but thought you'd have more time
We can't reverse times one-way flow,
but at least you'll have this rhyme.

You've had your shining moments
upon life's darkened stage,
and in my book of wonderments
you'll never be just another page.

Like the exploding of a star,
You've changed me in and out.
Your light will travel with me far
Past when all other lights go out.

Rest in Peace Aaron Joerger
I'll always think of you.

Megan Bokowski, Valrico, FL

October 23, 2013

I met Aaron in the fourth grade at Candalaria Elementary. He was the most popular kid at every school we went to, not because of his disability, but because of his glowing atitiude towards life and the people around him. He was there with the football and basketball team for every practice and game. He even wore my jersey to a JV game when none of the girls asked. He made the best of every situation.

Thank you so much for sharing these other parts of his life that I did not know. He will be forever missed and remembered.

Mark Mason, Salem, OR

October 23, 2013

It was an honor an a privilege to fight robots alongside and against you, Aaron. Never has a more formidable foe had a more gentle spirit. You will be missed.

-Mike Morrow
TEAM:JuggerBot 2000-2004

Mike Morrow, Salem, OR

October 22, 2013

I did not have the pleasure of knowing Aaron but this afternoon I received a phone call from my son who did know Aaron, he expressed emotionally how much his passing saddened him as Aaron was a "great kid" that really inspired him. Aaron worked with the WOU football team where my son spent time with him, he made an impression on his fellow sports lovers and will be missed by them! Blessings to his parents and friends!

Sally Plasker, OR

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