John Aaron Keith
LONGVIEW — John Aaron Keith, 34, of Longview, passed away peacefully on September 15, 2021 while surrounded by family. He was born May 28, 1987 in Longview, TX to Tom and Roni Keith. Since birth, Aaron endured more than anyone should: exponential hospital stays, countless surgeries, and untold pain. Yet, he always smiled and demonstrated love and kindness towards anyone who crossed his path. For example, if Aaron ever showed you his Elmo, or Spider-Man shirt, it meant you passed the test - you were welcome to enter his world. As his family, we always felt it was the highest of honors to witness Aaron interacting with folks like this - it was such a special gift (whether the person realized it or not). As a boy, Aaron loved being outside riding his bicycle, or cruising around in his “Power Wheels”- likely chasing after his big brother, Austin. However, Aaron’s great love was watching a collection of his favorite, VHS tapes. When Blockbuster was still in business, Aaron looked forward to each Friday when he could rent “Back to the Future II,” “Jingle All the Way,” and of course, “Home Alone.” Aaron became a favorite of store staff and they began holding the movies in reserve just for him. Once, a staff member commented that it was always inspiring to see Aaron happily walk around the store on Judson Rd. Despite having so many restrictions, Aaron’s excitement for fun and life were unmatched - nothing dragged his spirits down. For someone who wasn’t supposed to live past the age of 8, Aaron broke past any hurdles thanks to the love and care of his family, doctors and countless medical staff. Another constant in Aaron’s life was his best pal, Elmo. The “little red monster.” The night before a critical surgery, our mother found herself faced with the fear that he wouldn’t make it through another procedure. Wanting her baby to have something, she walked down to the gift shop to find a source of comfort. She grabbed a teddy bear and walked upstairs to present the gift. At the time, Aaron was only a couple months old, but showed zero interest in the bear. So, she walked back down to find something else and somehow stumbled upon a “little red monster.” She figured it was worth a shot and proceeded back upstairs. To her surprise, Aaron began to cling to this early Elmo doll with a vigor she never witnessed before. The next morning, Aaron beat the odds and made it through that surgery, and all the ones that followed. Maybe it was chance, but we always felt this was the turning point in Aaron’s early life. Elmo became a beloved addition to our family as he never left Aaron’s side. If you ever saw Aaron around town carrying his Elmo, that’s why - they were partners in crime and life. In the last few weeks, Aaron’s health declined rapidly. However, he began expressing himself in new ways, telling us he was “happy,” and “luuuuv you!” It filled our family with so much hope - he hadn’t said such things in years. One day, Aaron even spent the day giggling to himself due to an unknown source, but his smile and laugh was an amazing sight and a cherished memory for our mother. As we’ve said many times before, Aaron was too good for this world. We are forever grateful for the time we all had together and cherish our memories for the rest of our lives. Our family has faced so many struggles, but Aaron made us better - he gave us strength through the darkest of moments. Most of all, he was our greatest teacher as he never stopped fighting to survive and live a loving life. Love, kindness, and perseverance will forever be Aaron’s legacy. Even when the world wasn’t kind to him, he still made everything better for all who knew him. Sleep well, baby boy. We love and miss you more than words can describe - until we are together again. Aaron is preceded in death by his maternal grandmother, Rose Marie Brossette, and paternal grandparents Red and Barbara Keith. Aaron is survived by his parents, Tom and Roni Keith of Longview; brother Austin Keith of Seattle, WA; aunts Rhonda, Debbie, and Kim of Choctaw, OK; Dee of Wasilla, AK; aunt Shelly of Forney, TX; uncles Jay and Mike of Carthage, TX, and numerous cousins, friends, and loved ones. Services will be two p.m. Monday, September 20, 2021 at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church in Longview. Entombment will follow at the Rosewood Park Mausoleum. The family will receive friends at Rader Funeral Home on Sunday from 6 to 8 pm. As an additional option to flowers, our family requests donations be made in Aaron’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the staff of Longview Regional Hospital - we will always appreciate the love and care you provided Aaron over the years. We also know this isn’t easy for any of you either. We’d also like to thank Dr. Shen, Dr. Sugarman, and Dr. Donty for never giving up on Aaron. We know you loved our baby boy as much as we did - thank you all for making Aaron’s life happy and comfortable as much as possible. An online guestbook may be signed at www.raderfh.com. “The only scars in Heaven are on the hands that hold you now.”
 

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