Open Letter About a Ducks Fan and Friend, Gone but Never Forgotten

Joe Oricks' ATV on stage at his celebration of life.

Duck Family Day is a new feature for every Saturday where Oregon fans share their stories of …. being Oregon fans! Email to share your experiences of you and your family and what it means to be a Duck fan. Norm Hightower (below) is a writer for and is extremely passionate about our beloved Ducks, the same as you and me. Contact us and share!

Most people look to their families and friends for support in times of need. Many of us, including myself, use the passion that we have for the Ducks as a way to feel good about ourselves and feel a sense of pride. I became a Ducks fan over 40 years ago, when none of my family and friends were at that time, except for one person.

Joe Orick JR. 11/14/1965 -- 4/24/2015

Scott Orick

Joe Orick JR. 11/14/1965 — 4/24/2015

Joe Orick Jr. has been my friend and an adopted family member for my entire life. I have never met a person that was a bigger Ducks’ football fan than Joe. He wore all the gear, knew more statistics than most people ever know and was passionate about the Ducks to his last days.

We lost Joe on this past April 24. During his celebration of life, many of his family and friends showed up in Oregon jerseys, hats, ties, and anything else that represented the University of Oregon to share with him in his passion. Even his Ducks ATV was on the stage in remembrance of him. In times of loss, it really makes you think about your life and what is important to you.

The passion that Joe showed for the Ducks was topped only by his passion for his family and friends. If we could all show that kind of passion for everything we do, we would all be better for it. His passion was infectious. Joe spent a lot of time volunteering in Oregon City for the youth sports program there and affected many young people in a positive way. He coached many kids and helped them learn how to become athletes and competitors. Joe taught kids what it meant to show sportsmanship both on and off the field.

Always the fan, WTD

Ruby Orick

Always the fan, WTD

I was standing in the media area at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex interviewing Royce Freeman when I received a text from Joe’s Brother Scott [Orick] stating that we had lost Joe. I figure knowing how big a fan Joe was, he may have had something to do with the timing of the text. We may have lost a member of our beloved Ducks family, but I know he will always be there rooting them on in spirit.

I want to dedicate this article to Joe and his family. I couldn’t think of a better way to honor him and feel close to him, than to write about him in a forum that is full of passionate Ducks fans.

Top Photo by Robin Hightower

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Norm Hightower

Norm Hightower

Norm Hightower is a businessman, sports enthusiast, avid outdoorsman, and lifelong Ducks fan that resides in the State of Oregon. He has a wealth of sports knowledge and experience when it comes to football and many other outdoor sports. He's also a managing partner, writer and editor for Gridiron Media Group LLC and