Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Gygax memorial has site
Gary Con this weekend

by Lisa Seiser

March 24, 2011

Just more than three years ago, Lake Geneva's Gary Gygax, creator of the famed role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons died.

His life was celebrated by friends and family weeks later with Gary Con. Each year since, they have held the convention the same weekend in March.

But, with Gary Con III set for this weekend, there is more to celebrate surrounding Gygax's life.

It appears as though a site for a Gygax memorial has been determined. If all goes according to plan, a castle turret will hold the bronze bust and plaque to honor Gygax in Donian Park.

On Monday night, just days before the opening of Gary Con at the Lodge at Geneva Ridge, member of Lake Geneva's Plan Commission voted unanimously to locate the statue in the park south of the walkway and on the southeast corner of Mill Creek near the boardwalk.

Gygax's widow, Gail, has been working on the memorial project with the city since late 2009. Mayor Jim Connors said a decision on the location was necessary for Gail to raise funds for the memorial. Initial location requests were for Library Park and Donian Park.

Plan Commissioner and Park Board Chairman Doug Skates said Monday he believes the Donian Park site is an "appropriate, good and peaceful location."

Final approval still will have to go through the City Council as well as more detailed drawings of the statue. According to the memorial application filed by Gail, there also will be a bench in the area.

Minutes from the Jan. 5 Park Board meeting state the design also could include a dragon wrapped around the turret. The size of the statue is not supposed to exceed a 10-by-10-footprint.

E. Gary Gygax had that impact on millions through his role in the creation of one of the most popular games of the last 50 years. Gygax, who died March 4, 2008, at 69 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm, helped create Dungeons & Dragons, which, among other things, put Lake Geneva on the map.

Dungeons & Dragons spawned a multi-billion dollar industry, hundreds of books, video games and movies. Its influence remains alive today in the World of Warcraft video game and the "Harry Potter" books and movies.

Gary Con III this weekend

Gary Con is an annual gaming convention intended to be a living memorial to Gygax. It's a time for family, friends and anyone whose life was changed as a result of the work of Gygax to gather, remember and toss a few dice around.

All types of games will be played there, including "old school" flavor including AD&D first edition, Star Frontiers, Paranoia and Chainmail are some of the classics frequently played.

The event is March 25 to 27 at the facility formerly known as Interlaken. Go to the website for more information about the event.