Peggy Ranson (1948-2016)

Peggy Ranson. Photo by Vincent Mariano.

Peggy Ranson. Photo by Vincent Mariano.

Peggy Ranson, a very popular fanartist in the 1990s, passed away March 16 from cancer. The family’s obituary is here.

She grew up in Memphis, and attended Memphis State University. While living in New Orleans she worked as a commercial artist for D.H. Holmes and the Times Picayune.

Ranson was employed as an ad illustrator when she volunteered to help with the 1988 New Orleans Worldcon. Guy H. Lillian III remembers, “She co-edited the Nolacon II program book with me, did scads of inimitable and exquisite fan art, and graced every moment we spent with her.” Lillian writes that this piece was her first fan art.


She was an L. Ron Hubbard Illustrator of the Future contest finalist in 1990, and attended the awards ceremonies (see photo).

Illustrator of the Future 1990. Peggy Ranson is fourth from right. (Kelly Freas is fourth from left.)

Illustrator of the Future 1990. Peggy Ranson is fourth from right. (Kelly Freas is fourth from left.)

Ranson was a Best Fan Artist Hugo nominee every year from 1991-1998, winning in 1993. Lillian liked to say she was only the second fan from Louisiana (adopted) to win a Hugo (the first was Camille Cazedessus, publisher of ERB-dom.)

Peggy Ranson with HugoShe did countless pieces of art for conventions, bids, and fanzines, and for charitable publications like the Charlie Card Fund’s 1991 Fantasy Art Calendar. Her work won Best in Show at the 1991 Worldcon art show (Chicon V).

There’s a small gallery of her black-and-white art at

Ranson cover for Challenger

Ranson was a guest of honor at DeepSouthCon 34 in 1996, and Armadillocon 20 in 1998, and other small cons across the South.

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005 she fled to Memphis. Afterwards she wrote a long account of her escape and what it was like to return to the heavily damaged city in Challenger 23.

maureen_origAlthough she did some cover art for professional publications, she does not seem to have pursued that as a vocation, for many of her assignments were for books by writers or small press publisers she knew well. This includes her covers for The NESFA Index to Short Science Fiction for 1989 (1992), Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordperson: The Complete Stories (1993) a paperback of George Alec Effinger stories from Swan Press, Girls for the Slime God (1997) a collection of stories edited by Mike Resnick, and Birthright: The Book of Man (1997) by Mike Resnick. She also did interiors for magazines, including Algis Budrys’ Tomorrow Speculative Fiction.

Ranson is survived by a sister and two brothers (one of them her twin), and several nieces and nephews.

10 thoughts on “Peggy Ranson (1948-2016)

  1. I am so very sorry to read this – I knew Peggy fairly well when I lived in the South and she was a charming and talented person. (Even sadder for me personally is the additional note that she is survived by a twin brother.)

  2. I have a copy of that Maureen Birnbaum book.

    I am sorry for her loss.

  3. Oh what as ghastly loss — a great pal as well as a great artist. So many memories, so much wit, so much brilliance. Stories later, mourning now. Loved her.

  4. I didn’t know Peggy but I remember her work, and the illustrations from Nolacon in 1988, where I worked for the Art Show. Condolences to her loved ones.

  5. My dad told me yesterday that Peggy had died. I was so sad to hear of this. Peggy and I met at the 1988 WorldCon and hit it off. Over the next decade or so, we roomed together a number of times at WorldCon, sometimes adding on vacation days to play tourist, and I visited her in New Orleans a few times. In 1995, we flew into Scotland a week before Intersection, rented a car, and spent a week visiting the Highlands–sharing mutual panic over driving on the left side of the road on those twisty little lanes. I pulled out a few photos from the trip and posted them to my Facebook page last night.

    Peggy was always great company, a wonderful hostess, and a good traveling companion. I remember our trips and cons because we always had so much fun together. We fell out of touch a few years ago, and I always assumed we’d eventually reconnect. I’m so sad that I let that slip past me, and now we won’t.

    I was lucky to know her and share friendship with her. A great lady.

  6. Always beautiful work.

    (Mike, what is a direct email address for you? I attempted to use what is on File 770 ( but no response.


  7. Joyce Scrivner: It’s mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com

    I got your email from a few days ago. I just didn’t think the personal info about the fan was appropriate for me to treat as news even though his friends should be told.

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  9. This is terrible and sad news. Peggy was a friend and fellow artist for many years. She had a “joie de vivre” that not even NOLA could tame. Although I have not seen her recently I feel this world misses. her.

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