Steve Sullivan has posted on Facebook’s Old School Gamers page that D&D pioneer, author, and original voice of Sage Advice passed away on January 25. Quoted from that post is the following:
RIP Jean Wells - D&D Pioneer
I'm very sad to report the death of my friend, D&D pioneer, and the original sage of Sage Advice, Jean Wells.
When I first got to TSR in September of 1980, Jean was one of the first people to try to really make me feel welcome. She was a big, brash, opinionated, and very loving personality. She was fun to be around. She was also a Southern girl through and through, who cooked great fried chicken. I remember fondly her ongoing "feud" with Gary Gygax over whether dwarf women had beards (Gary: Yes; Jean: No), and the fun-loving one-upsmanship the two engaged in over the subject. I remember her inadvertently getting TSR involved in the Indiana Jones franchise, several years before the license, when she used TSR letterhead to write to Lucas, asking for some photos from the film. (And implying there might be an interest in the license.) I remember stepping in to draw illos for B3, to help her out, when some in the art department didn't want to -- and I remember the big to-do about the original version of that module when it came out.
It was pretty wild at the time, but those are precious memories now.
And I remember the friend who would go out of her way to help you if you were in need. The one and only time in my life I've had a panic attack (heart racing around 150), I ended up sleeping on her couch, 'cause she was there for me. She cared about this skinny geek living 1000 miles away from home.
Thanks, Jean, for that and for many other fond memories.
You were one of a kind.
And my deepest condolences to her husband Corey and all her family and friends.
She is gone too soon.
-- Steve Sullivan
Here's the obit, as passed on by Tim "Ollie" Cahoon:
Oeva Jean Koebernick, 56, of Beloit, WI died Wednesday, January 25, 2012, in Beloit Memorial Hospital. She was born July 25, 1955 in Jacksonville, FL, the daughter of Walton and Ellen Loft Wells. Jean was a member of St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church.She is survived by two sons, John Teague and Steve Teague both of Memphis, TN; sister, Jennifer (John) Hines of Memphis, TN and brother Finis Wells of Memphis, TN; father, Walton Wells; former husband, Corey Koebernick of Beloit, WI; mother-in-law, Elaine Koebernick and brother-in-law, David Koebernick both of Beloit, WI and her special canine companion, Darlin.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Ellen Wells.
In honoring Jean’s wishes, there are to be no funeral services.
And here's the information from the family as I heard it via Dave Conant:
I have the sad duty to share with you that Jean has passed away recently. I received word from Cory this past weekend and he asked to I send word to all of you. Please pass on to others that you might know who remember Jean.
Here are the few details I know: Jean was admitted to the Beloit Hospital last Tuesday (1/24) with what seemed non-life threatening symp...toms. Cory was with her for a while that night. However, he received word from the hospital at 6:00 AM Wednesday morning that she had died. He is not aware of the cause at this time.
He indicated that there is no plan currently to have a service or memorial for Jean since family and friends are so distant and widespread. However, although he will be deactivating phone numbers and email addresses for Jean, he did indicate that he would leave one to which friends could send condolences and/or memorials — DancerUnderAMoon@aol.com. He also shared that if anyone was interested in a donation that they donate to whatever charity they feel appropriate in Jean's memory.
For those of us that were close to Jean over the years (all the way back to the early years at TSR and the TSR Dorm for me), this message comes with mixed feelings. Jean has struggled much over the years with pains and various illnesses, some very serious. She always tried (and did well most of the time) to keep a positive frame of mind and certainly always cared much for others. I know from talking with Jean that she is in a better place now without all the pains and concerns, but she will be missed.
Good bye ole friend,