Remembered for his relentless work ethic and generosity, Asa Graham was dedicated to spreading love to everyone he met.
Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Patricia and Brandon Graham on Oct. 16, 1998, Asa came into the world with the unique ability to incite joy in everyone he met. He was an active member of Paradigm: Forging Model Men of Aggieland, and excelled creatively as he pursued music.
His mother said Asa’s ability to spark joy in people started before he was born — nine months before to be exact.
“It was like lightning in my body and I thought, ‘What is going on?’” Patricia said. “Shortly thereafter, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. But the thing that came with the lightning strike was [that] I felt so much joy, absolutely so much joy. I laughed, and I just thought, ‘Wow.’ I cannot express how happy I was, and that happiness and that laughter that came out of me at that moment only grew every minute with Asa.”
As the Graham family moved around the United States, Asa became adept at connecting with new people. He developed a nurturing nature that pushed him to set aside his own needs in service of others.
“Asa could see somebody that is hurting or uncomfortable and know how to make them feel at ease and loved,” Patricia said. “There were a number of times, countless — I’m not exaggerating — that he would come home from soccer practice without any soccer shoes on and he’d go and find an old pair to wear. I would never say anything to him. A day or two later, I would see another kid wearing his soccer cleats because he knew they needed them more than he did. And that was every bit of who his character was; it was generous, loving, so fun and full of joy.”
Brandon said Asa was a humble leader that possessed a quiet strength. In academics, athletics and the creative arts, he excelled because of his dedication and passion.
“He never was trying to draw attention to himself or boast in his own way,” Brandon said. “He could be in a situation where he knew the exact answer to the certain issue we were facing, but would just hang out in the background. Then, somehow, it would finally come to light and he would be sitting there on top of the answer the whole time.”
When it came time for Asa to leave home, selecting a university proved difficult as a soccer scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines offered a huge opportunity. In the end, staying close to his family was deemed more important to him.
“Asa, of course, was like, ‘How can this even be a decision? I’ve been a soccer player my entire life. I’m going to the School of Mines,” Patricia said. “The absolute last night to accept his School of Mines [offer of admittance], and he had already had his A&M one as well, and literally minutes before midnight my husband looked at him and said, ‘Asa, I need you to stay close to home,’ and Asa looked at him and said, ‘Yes sir,’ and declined his acceptance to School of Mines and accepted his one to Texas A&M.”
This change of heart led to a deep love for the Aggie Spirit, Patricia said. Asa attended Fish Camp, Impact and the New Student Conference, which began his journey as a Fightin’ Texas Aggie.
“When he was done with all of that, he said, ‘I 100 percent get it and I am a proud Texas Aggie and will always be.’ We felt extremely grateful for that and it is why we had Asa buried [in the Aggie Field of Honor],” Patricia said. ”He fully embraced the traditions and he was through and through a Texas Aggie.”
In his life, Asa never lost his joyfulness, and his family plans to carry that same attitude into the future.
“Six months ago, [I] was just coming to this realization that the key to all of this was to find authentic joy,” Brandon said. “That’s how I would summarize his essence; he had an authentic joy about him.”
In celebration of his life, Asa’s mother said she hopes to continue to spread love to those most important to her, just as he did.
“I keep thinking about how passionate Asa is about everything he does and I would have to say that one takeaway or way I hope to honor Asa is to live with this in mind: go above and beyond for the people you love, you’ll never regret it,” Patricia said.