Midmorning on April 22, my phone rang and the caller ID indicated it was Aaron Wolf. I greeted him with our usual salutation, “Brother, how are you?” But instead of Aaron’s warm drawl, I heard his wife Lorrie’s grieving voice. She didn’t need to say another word; I somehow knew Aaron was gone. He had passed away suddenly the previous night, Easter Sunday.
Until the merger of The Charlemagne Institute and The Rockford Institute on Dec. 31, 2018, Aaron and I had only a few opportunities for conversation, though we did know each other through our respective writings and my occasional attendance of Rockford Institute events. Once we found ourselves as brothers-in-arms, we got to know each other quite well. While our time together was short, I felt that Aaron was a kindred spirit.
He and I had big plans for The Charlemagne Institute and its online publication, Intellectual Takeout, its Alcuin internship program, and Chronicles. Aaron was preparing to take over as editor of Chronicles and I couldn’t have been more excited for our united future. He was to be my right-hand man. We talked much of building an institution that would outlast ourselves, one that would exemplify a “happy warrior” ethos that focused on rebuilding Western, Christian culture. We even joked about dying in the saddle—but it wasn’t supposed to happen this soon.
I have yet to see or hear a negative word about Aaron Wolf as Christian, husband, father, friend, or editor. The word that probably best describes him is “beloved.” Such a word coming from so many disparate sources speaks volumes about his character.
With Aaron’s premature passing, our duty is to carry forward his legacy. Thankfully, I had the joy of many long conversations with Aaron, during which he imparted his vision for the magazine and our combined efforts.
We both understood the financial and emotional struggles of working America and cared deeply for the people of America. Furthermore, we agreed that the way forward wasn’t to be “flashier” or more “relevant,” but rather to calmly pursue and present the truth. We saw clearly that multiple generations of young Americans have been cut off from the past and have suffered terribly in broken homes within a relativistic society that offers no solace or guidance. We both saw a lost, lonely, and adrift generation, and believed that the combination of The Charlemagne Institute and Chronicles could play a tremendous role in helping young Americans find terra firma.
While we have lost our Stonewall Jackson in body, I assure you that we have not lost his spirit.
On the back cover of this issue you’ll see an advertisement for the newly established Wolf Family Trust. As it is our Christian duty to provide for the widows and the orphans, The Charlemagne Institute is working to ensure that Aaron’s widow, Lorrie, and her six children will be financially secure. If you would like to help us with that ongoing effort, please do not hesitate to contact me.
John Elliott leads this issue’s compilation of tributes to Aaron Wolf, which also includes pieces from many long-time Chronicles contributors.
In addition to the tributes, we worked hard to continue Aaron’s good work. John Roach, a Kentucky-native, makes his debut in Chronicles with an article about the Covington Catholic boys and an increasingly hostile media landscape. For those worried about the war drums beating for American intervention in John Bolton’s “Troika of Tyranny” campaign, Jaime Suchlicki provides a real-world, prudent perspective on Cuba. From Italy, Nicholas Farrell asks the tough questions about Notre Dame, authentic medieval values, and the forces that create our culture.
Moving forward, there’s no question that we have our work cut out for us as we search for a new Aaron Wolf for Chronicles. Know that we pledge to carry forward Aaron’s legacy and our heritage through this magazine as our flagship publication, and The Charlemagne Institute, its new home.