One of my favorite remembrances of Gary Gygax is this one at The Onion's pop culture site, the AV Club. Like the author I was one of the lonely thousands of kids for whom D&D was a mostly solitary escape. He captures the mix of gladness and melancholy I feel remembering the many hours I spent reading and re-reading the DMG and running Keep on the Borderlands as a solo adventure.
I was surprised at how much Gary's death affected me. I'd collected some 3rd Edition books, but I hadn't actually played D&D or any other role-playing game more than once in eighteen years. And while I had come to see how warm and generous Gary could be with his fans and admirers, I never met him, nor even interacted with him in one of the various online forums he visited. But the news stung. And more than that, it was a memento mori: the mysterious and distant oracle of my youth, the sage and scholar whose work I annotated, was simply a man, and was gone.
That's when I resolved to turn my lifelong, if intermittent, love for D&D and other games into something more than a solitary pursuit -- a few weeks later I started this blog, a month later I played in a pick-up game. Now I'm playing once or twice a week and hoping to run a Basic/Labyrinth Lord game at the local D&D meet-up. I have Gary to thank for that.