On the third anniversary of his death, Alex Trebek’s wife, Jean Trebek, is remembering the love and lessons he left behind.
The famed Jeopardy! host died from pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020. His passing left an indelible mark on fans who had watched Alex stand behind the quiz show’s podium for 36 years and the countless people he had helped through The Trebek Family Foundation and various non-profits to which he dedicated himself.
But perhaps the biggest mark was left on Jean, whom Trebek married in 1990. During a conversation with PEOPLE, she admitted that she and her husband shared a deep and private romance. They preferred staying in, cooking dinner, and enjoying intimate conversations, despite Alex’s celebrity status. During that time, he showed her what it meant to be unconditionally loved—and how to spread it to others.
To honor Alex Trebeck, Jean penned a touching letter she hopes will show fans who he was outside the limelight. You can read the entire piece below.
Jean Trebek ‘Blessed’ to Have Had Alex Trebek
Alex, Every day (actually, several times a day) I think about you and recognize how you continue to inspire me. Regularly, you would say to me, “I see you.” I hope you know, that I saw you too.
I saw how you talked and listened to people. You were so present and curious about what people were doing and going through in their lives. I loved that you took an interest in their backgrounds and their circumstances; I saw how you were comfortable in talking to anyone…from a famed politician to our wonderful gardener.
I recognize how important that quality is and I am blessed to have had a husband whose words carried his truth and integrity. I saw how important it was for you to help people. I remember you being upset about a situation, so you got involved. I was proud that you were actually, “love in action” and that this proactive quality always benefited someone.
Even though you accomplished so much, and had a real direction to your life, my favorite times were decidedly more simple. When we would drive up to our home in Paso Robles and watch the Lakers game together. When I would unexpectedly get a call from you while you were far away on a remote location. When I came home and you had prepared a really elegant salmon dish with asparagus (perfectly done) along with chocolate mousse.
Now on my own, I realize how important it is to think for myself. You demonstrated this so brilliantly, too. In a world with so much noise, somehow you were able to listen to what was right and true for you.
I have come to value this within myself, now more than ever, and I have you to thank for being an intrepid and superb example.
Thank you for teaching me backgammon. Thank you for all the love notes Thank you for being my hero. You are forever in my heart.
Jean Trebek Honor’s Husband with the Alex Trebek Fund
To further honor Alex Trebek’s legacy, Jean partnered with Stand Up 2 Cancer (SU2C) to form The Alex Trebek Fund. SU2C announced the program on Nov. 1st, which marked the first day of pancreatic cancer awareness month.
Jean and the estate of the late Barbara Hanania jointly contributed $1 million to kickstart the foundation. Throughout the month, SU2C will match up to $250k in donations. Proceeds will go to research scientists who are working to advance pancreatic cancer treatments.
“Alex knew that knowledge equaled power,” Jean said in a statement. “He was a man who really loved to know things and stayed very curious. Since Alex was all about the right answer, I think it’s very fitting that this fund is now established in his name. It’s a way for the community that loved him to put resources directly into the hands of scientists working tirelessly to fight a disease shrouded by many unknowns.”
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