Phyllis Opolko (April 18, 1952 - March 4, 2013) was a marketing and sales executive at Avalon Hill during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1999, she joined Alliance Game Distributors which was later acquired by Diamond Comic Distributors. Opolko helped create Game Trade magazine. She passed away from cancer.
Production Coordinator for Runeslayers.
From Game Trade Magazine Issue 159:
Phyllis Opolko, the only editor Game Trade Magazine has ever known lost her battle with cancer on March 4, 2013. She fought the disease with the same tenacity she displayed here at the office, marking perhaps the first time anyone ever almost felt sorry for cancer.
A game industry icon, Phyllis spent many years with Baltimore game pioneer The Avalon Hill Game Company. She joined Alliance Game Distributors in 1999 and was the driving force behind many of the company’s marketing initiatives, advertisements, and trade shows.
By any stretch of the imagination Phyllis was the only real adult here on staff at GTM. You simply could not outwork Phyllis. She was always the first person in the office and the last to leave. Yet despite her trademark intensity, it was easy to forget that she was your boss because she felt so much more like your friend.
Her loss is felt industry wide as well. When news of her death surfaced, tributes ranging from industry leaders to store owners came pouring in. And they all mentioned the same things that made her remarkable. Her humor, her patience, her professionalism and accessibility. More than one person noted how much richer their lives were having known her. We couldn’t agree more.
It's hard to pay proper tribute to someone who meant so much to so many people. We figure our best chance is to keep working on Game Trade Magazine, where Phyllis put so much time and effort into since our very beginning. Every GTM has had her fingerprints all over it. One of the most heartbreaking things we’ve ever realized is that this would be the first issue that doesn't. She was more than an editor. Phyllis was family, and we loved her like it.