Ian Christopher DeWolf, 54, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, passed away on April 9, 2023, after a long battle with metastatic prostate cancer, with his wife by his side.
Ian was born on April 9, 1969, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Ian was an adorable, sweet little boy who displayed an early love of animals that extended to bringing cats home from shelters and school playgrounds but that continued throughout his life. He spent much of his youth in Cincinnati, Ohio, but moved to Philadelphia in his junior year of high school. Ian graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1987 and from Boston College with an A.B. in Philosophy in 1991.
While at Boston College, Ian was the photography editor of B.C.’s student newspaper, The Heights. More importantly, during his senior year at B.C., Ian met the love of his life, Jeanne Billings. When he brought her home to meet his mother during spring break that year, Ian said that this was the woman he was going to marry—much to Jeanne’s surprise. But they were in fact married, four years later in Morristown, New York, in 1995.
Ian continued his education at the University of Baltimore where he received an M.A. in Legal and Ethical Studies in 1992 and a J.D. in 1998. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar that same year. Despite his educational background, Ian’s true love was computer-game design. His first venture was purchasing and operating Playmaker Football 2.0—an online, multi-player game that had a worldwide fanbase. He gained many friends through Playmaker Football, including the comedian Drew Carey, who brought Ian and Jeanne as his guests to a taping of David Letterman’s Late Show in New York City.
In 1996, Ian joined Simutronics to work on the hugely successful text-based MMO GemStone III, eventually designing and implementing essential elements of both GemStone III and Hercules & Xena: Alliance of Heroes, based on the popular television shows. Ian joined TimeGate Studios in early 2001 as lead designer. In 2004, TimeGate released the real-time strategy games Kohan II: Kings of War and Axis & Allies, both of which featured the acclaimed adaptive strategic artificial intelligence system and the revolutionary random map generators that Ian designed. Ian’s accomplishments extended to the business side of the gaming industry where his work for The Collective, of Irvine, California, on the Silent Hill: Homecoming proposal not only landed the deal but also garnered widespread praise within the Foundation 9 family of companies as the “gold standard” for business development proposals.
His final position was as director of production for Dire Wolf Digital in Denver, Colorado, where he worked until his death.
Ian had many interests. He was a serious sports fan, a passion he shared with his family. He turned his love of photography into a part-time business, which focused on children’s sports. He was a computer whiz and the go-to consultant for all things technical for his family, especially his mother. He loved firearms and going to the shooting range, and that proved a wonderful hobby business. He cultivated many friendships on Twitter and fulfilled a dream to go wild boar hunting in Texas with one of his Twitter friends. He built raised garden beds where he grew a variety of fruits and vegetables. He was also handy around the house and accumulated a large collection of tools.
Jeanne shared his love of animals and early in their marriage they had cats and rescue Dobermans. Their move to Colorado included a small dog and a cat. When at age 49 Ian received a diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer, he fulfilled his dream of again having a Doberman (what he called a “real” dog). He named her Nike after the Greek goddess of victory in hopes that he would win his battle with cancer. Sadly, that was not to be.
Beyond all his other interests, Ian’s family always came first. He loved and was most proud of his wife and their three children, Gabrielle, Aidan, and Zachary.
Ian is survived and will be greatly missed by his wife and children, his parents Ellen and Norman Barton, his brother and sister-in-law William and Margaret Klimon, his brother and sister-in-law James and Carina Barton, his brother and sister-in-law Alex and Kells Barton, his mother-in-law and her husband Barb and David Luce, his father-in-law Bruce Billings, his brother-in-law and his wife Steve Billings and Kate Cunningham, his brother-in-law and his wife Dan and Julie Billings, his sister-in-law Kati Billings, his nieces Helena, Cecilia, and Margot Klimon and Brooklyn Barton, his nephews Spencer and Elijah Billings and Jackson and Stafford Barton, his maternal aunt and uncle Marianne and Robert Rempe, his maternal uncle and aunt George and MaryAnn Schmeltzer, his first cousin and her husband Melissa and Rick Jarchow, and numerous other cousins.
Ian lived his life with four core virtues: grace, patience, humility, and humor. He was the most courageous fighter, but the battle is over, and he is free from pain. Shortly before his death—and reflecting his long interest in Norse mythology—he wrote the following to his mother:
“When all is said and done, I am going to miss my family, and while I do not fear death, I’m not rushing headlong to make my appointment in Samarra.… I’m reminded of a section in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, talking about Ragnarök when Fenrir arrives in Valhalla that translates, roughly, to, ‘There are many men in Valhalla, and many more who will arrive, yet they will seem too few when the wolf comes.’ That describes my will to fight.”
There will be a celebration of Ian’s life this summer in Baltimore where his family and friends can share their memories. Donations can be made to a memorial fund in Ian’s name for the benefit of his children’s education at: https://gofund.me/1c04e969