- December 8, 2016

Austinites Will Be Watching Jeopardy! Next Week For The Saddest Reason Possible

Next week audiences will watch what will likely be one of the saddest, most memorable stories to ever come from the long-running quiz show. In a Jeopardy episode airing next Tuesday, December 13, the world will see Austinite Cindy Stowell compete in an episode that was taped before she succumbed to cancer.

Stowell passed from colon cancer on December 5, but not before she had the chance to compete on the show with the singular goal of raising prize money that she could donate to cancer-related organizations.

From Jeopardy’s In Memoriam page for Stowell:

“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy!, she had Stage 4 cancer,” Alex Trebek said. “Competing on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on Dec. 5. Our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”

Not only was Stowell extremely generous with her earnings, she was also generous with her spot in the auditions, made clear in this tear-jerking letter to contestant producer Maggie Speak:

Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in person interview, and the taping date? I ask because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live. The doctor’s best guess is about 6 months. If there is the chance that I’d be able to still tape episodes of Jeopardy! if I were selected, I’d like to do that and donate any winnings to … charities involved in cancer research. If it is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my try out spot to someone else.”

She went on to audition in Oklahoma City, and the show’s staff managed to book her taping for three weeks later on August 31. There, only a few staff members and Trebek knew of her condition — none of the other contestants were aware.

Stowell was a science content developer, and used her wide knowledge base to make a hobby of her love for trivia.

Her long-time boyfriend, Jason Hess, has posted some really lovely things about her on his Twitter account.


He also retweeted a message from a friend about playing Geeks Who Drink trivia with Stowell. So if you’re a regular Austin pub quizzer, there’s a good chance you’ve been stomped by Stowell in the past. At least you couldn’t possibly have been beaten by a nicer person.

Featured photo from Jeopardy!