It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Jennell Allyn Jaquays, 67, of Heath, TX after battling Guillan-Barré Syndrome for three months. Her wife, Becky, was at her side at the time of her passing. Jennell’s artistic legacy will have a lasting impact on the gaming community.
Jennell spent the last years of her life being unabashedly herself and pursuing her passions: making art, collecting miniatures, adopting feline overlords, and with the help of her wife, searching for the perfect taco.
Art was part of every aspect of her life. She graduated from Spring Arbor University with a Bachelor of Arts. She made major contributions to the D&D and tabletop gaming community with her Caverns of Thracia and Dark Tower campaigns as well as her character design book Central Casting. She spent the last five years of her life working on a complete overhaul of Central Casting that will be published posthumously. In addition to the campaigns, while working for TSR, Jennell painted numerous covers, including her most recognized, Dragons of Krynn Mountain.
Jennell made major contributions to the video game industry, starting in its early days as the Director of Game Design for Coleco, then later as a level designer and artist for ID Software, Ensemble Studios, and CCP. She was a co-founder of The Guildhall, a game design program through Southern Methodist University which develops the next generation of level designers, artists, and programmers.
As the creative director for the Transgender Human Rights Institute in Seattle, Jennell campaigned for human rights. She was a vocal advocate for the trans and greater LGBTQ+ community.
Jennell is survived by her wife Rebecca Heineman, brother Bruce Jaquays, sister Jolene Jaquays, her son Zachary Jaquays and his wife Jessica Jaquays, daughter Amanda Jaquays, her stepchildren Maria Heineman, William Heineman, and Cynthia Heineman, and four grandchildren who all love her very much.