Thursday, November 23, 2023

Death Notice - Aaron Koelman Has Passed

Aaron, Tenkar, and David Baity

I've been doing death notification posts here at The Tavern for the better part of a decade. There's usually a bit of a disconnect when I do them because it is rare that I know the person in more than passing. I call it "falling into cop mode", with just enough distance to make the responsibility seem slightly less onerous. It's always worked in the past.

I've had to wipe my eyes a number of times simply typing the words above. I was blessed to have been given the opportunity to assist in the fundraising to support Aaron's son for just this moment in time. 

I met Aaron this past June for the first, and only time, at NTRPG Con. I beleive it was Sunday, around noon on the last day of the convention. There was this tall, thin guy, looking slightly lost and distracted, standing in front of the entrance to the dealer hall, across from the registration desk. Something prodded me to see if there was anything I could do to help...

Me: You look a bit awestruck :)

Aaron: I am. I'm actually here at North Texas. It's amazing!

Me: Yeah, I love this place. I never miss it.

Aaron: Noticing my con badge - You're Tenkar? I'm speaking with you!

Me: Confused - You are...

Aaron: Aaron Koelman. You helped with the fundraiser for my son...

At this point, it all gets muddled. We hugged, cried, laughed. Spoke of his upcoming wedding. Shared cancer stories. Cried some more, to the point a con volunteer approached us with a box of tissues. 

I'm a cancer survivor. I understood where Aaron was, and we both knew each day for him was going to be a fight.

The fight is over now, Aaron. 

Rest well.

Aaron peacefully passed away this morning at home, surrounded by family


  1. Thank you so much for this. Aaron was so glad that he decided to go to North Texas this year and was determined to attend next year. He told me about meeting you as well and how much your conversation meant to him. I love hearing all the stories about Aaron from gaming friends and am so grateful to the community for all the support and for welcoming me with open arms.

  2. Aaron was a funny and imaginative guy. I am honored to have had the chance to play along side him. My sincere condolences to his family. We are diminished by this untimely loss.


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