Menu Close

Kirsten Gwilliam 1968 – 2021


From the WGPO Boards:

To anyone who has not yet heard, Kirsten Gwilliam (member of the WGPO Board) died late last month. If you got to meet her at a Scrabble tourney, I’m sure you remember her as a kind and caring person. Several WGPO members shared their memories of Kirsten, and more continue to express their loss in comments on the WGPO Facebook page.

Many of us first met Kirsten at the Grand Canyon tournament or at Larry and Barb’s 34th Annual Phoenix event. She was one of a small contingent of Utah players at the time. Kirsten was soft-spoken and perhaps a little shy, but always smiling and friendly. Kirsten combined Scrabble and traveling and joined us at 17 tourneys in Portland, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Florida including Word Cups.

Without being asked, she volunteered to help with WGPO fundraising and always brought several items for our silent auctions. She was an eager WGPO supporter and ran for the Board of Player Representatives (BPR). We dealt with difficult and controversial issues during Kirsten’s tenure, and she contributed thoughtfully at every turn, through the lexicon voting process, bylaws revision and incorporation. 

Susi Tiekert, Florida: The Boards of WGPO benefited greatly from Kirsten’s knowledge, expertise, and organization skills. Kirsten was an invaluable help to our Boards during the pandemic. Her training and experience helped us navigate the troubled waters we were all foundering in. Hoping that her family finds solace in knowing that she was so valued in so many ways. She absolutely will be missed in this world.

Laurie Cohen: I’m so very sorry to hear this terrible news. I enjoyed working with Kirsten as a board member for our Scrabble organization and chatting with her at tourneys. Recently we discovered we have the same birthday. 

Helen Flores, Wisconsin: Kirsten was easy company, thoughtful and bright. Over time, she was my worthy opponent many, many times. She likely bested me in more games than not, but I always enjoyed playing her and – slowly – getting to know her a little bit better. After the 2019 Word Cup, when my travel home plans were delayed, Kirsten saved me from a sleepless night in the Coral Gables hotel lobby. Her roommate had checked out early, so Kirsten graciously let me be her roomie.

Pat Yovonovich, Minnesota: We roomed together for the St.Patrick’s Day tournament down in Bloomington MN. She came into town a day early. I picked her up at the airport and we went to the Swedish museum. My birthday was that weekend and she had arranged with the museum cafe to present me with a special Swedish dessert.

Deborah Baggett, California: Kirsten was such a joy to see, play and visit with. This is heartbreaking news. I’ll miss Kirsten’s face across her beautiful Paris-inspired Scrabble board. Our games were some of my favorites, mostly due to Kirsten’s kind and patient demeanor. She taught me grace and I’ll remember her always. Prayers for peace to her family. Such a huge loss…

Below is her obituary notice. We are all shocked and saddened by the news of Kirsten’s passing. She was a smart, sensitive and generous soul. Our times with her were too brief and too few. She had great depth and so much more to offer. We shall miss you. R.I.P. Kirsten.