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“O, for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!” – W. Shakespeare
The prologue to Henry V is the most appropriate way to honor a man as larger-than-life as Sheldon Menery. Henry V was his favorite Shakespeare play and the subject of the extraordinary thesis that earned him his MFA in English Literature.
That said, words can’t possibly express the scope of Sheldon’s life and the many he touched. But words will have to do.
His life began on a military base — Fort Meade in Baltimore — and the military would become a major part of that life. He served for 20 years in the United States Air Force in communications and computers. He spent two tours at NATO in Brussels, served in Alaska during 9/11, spent the first Gulf War in the desert, and did a stint working for Dick Cheney.
It was also in the military that he met the love of his life, Gretchyn, an aerospace engineer. During his last tour of duty at Langley Air Force Base, they worked in the same secure facility. One day, he walked past her desk and saw a copy of Scientific American with a cover article about multiverses. He struck up a conversation, and the rest, as they say, is history. They were a true marriage of equals, with a relationship that continued to grow until his last day.
Sheldon was not known to dabble; when something piqued his interest, he went all in. He loved wine, so he fully immersed himself in his wine education, then collected, drank, and shared some of the finest wines in the world. He was a passionate movie lover, keeping a running tally of his current and long-time favorites, with educated commentary on each. He was equally passionate about sports, notably baseball, and was quick with a statistic whenever challenged.
Most notably, Sheldon is a bona fide legend in the gaming community, specifically Magic: The Gathering. He was instrumental in creating, shepherding, and nurturing the wildly popular Commander format of the game and will forever be known as “The Godfather of Commander.” Through this legacy, he has brought joy to millions and will continue to do so.
But perhaps the greatest legacy Sheldon leaves behind is his unconditional love for his family and friends. He often said that his true talent was surrounding himself with excellent people. That’s because he was an excellent person. He treated his friends — many of whom became family — with a level of kindness, generosity, and respect that few could match.
Sheldon certainly lived his life to the fullest, whether traveling the world or spending time at home with Gretchyn and their many pampered cats. The equation for a good life always included fine food, fine wines, and even finer people. He was surrounded by friends up until the very end when his body finally succumbed after a seven-year battle with cancer.
While nothing can fully communicate how much Sheldon meant to so many, perhaps these words from Shakespeare’s Richard II will suffice:
“I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends.”