Friday, January 12, 2024

Jannell Jaquays

So, I was saddened to hear of the death of Jannell Jaquays this week. Jannell was one of the titans, someone (like Dave Sutherland or Tom Moldvay or Mike Carr) whose contributions to D&D went back to what was for me the dawn of time but were still around years later when I came on the scene. Jannell wrote the first module I ever bought: DARK TOWER, from Judges Guild --still a favorite of mine* -- which shaped my idea of what an AD&D adventure shd be. 

It was not until years later that we worked together at TSR in Lake Geneva, where her cubical and artist's niche was diagonally across from my cube. This had one unforeseen effect: Jannell, like many of the TSR artists, designers, and editors, liked to listen to the radio when she worked. But unlike most of the folks at Sheridan Springs Road, Jannell listened to Rush Limbaugh: three hours in the morning, and if I'm remembering rightly another three hours in the afternoon. Not to my taste, but that's why God made headphones.

Because we both lived in Delavan, a few miles from Lake Geneva itself, I got to see more of Jannell than wd otherwise have been the case. I remember cat-sitting her cats several times in her big old house a few blocks from our own. Occasionally we wd carpool.

As for Jannell's work, I always appreciated that she did fantasy art in which the figures were fully clothed --which was not the case with the other staff artists. She also was a rare talent in that she was equally skilled in writing (adventures, character-background generators) and painting. 

I'm sorry that we'd pretty much fallen out of contact. After she left TSR I rarely saw Jannell, even though she made the move out to the  Seattle area; just a matter of paths not crossing. The last time was a few years ago at a meeting of the Alliterates, a group to which we both belonged, but I think she had more or less dropped out about the time I was joining.

So, it was a long career. But not long enough. And a friendship, that in retrospect I wish had been closer.

--John R.

*Though I'd read it many times, I only finally ran it about a year ago. It did not disappoint.

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