Sheldon Menery, the Godfather of Commander, retired Level 5 Magic: The Gathering judge, founding member of the Commander Rules Committee, and longtime columnist for Star City Games, died last night after a seven-year bout with cancer.
Menery’s wife posted the sad news on Facebook this morning, adding an announcement for a memorial gathering will be coming soon. Menery spoke candidly about his ongoing treatment and struggle with the disease on social media, but still managed to make it out to MagicCons and SCG CON events to play his favorite format and be around the people he loved. He continued writing his columns for SCG until the end, with his last piece published on Tuesday. Menery wrote for SCG since 2000, penning more than 800 articles over the 23-year period.
Menery was an influential Magic judge who was dedicated to fair play at all levels of the game. After retiring from judging in 2011 he dabbled in Pro Tour coverage, completed his master’s degree in English literature, and even briefly worked for Wizards of the Coast (WotC) as a game designer. He was a fundamental force in shaping Commander, bringing it from an obscure format in Alaska to what is now the most widely-played format in the game. He continued supporting the game as a founding figure of the Commander Rules Committee, weighing in on bans, unbans, and adding more members to the committee.
On top of his accomplishments in the game of Magic, Menery was also a retiree of the US Air Force and listed his job as a full-time trophy husband.
Members of the Magic community shared their memories and adoration for the pillar of the game on social media.