Ron Zukowski (1950-2021)

Ron Zukowski performing with the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company

[Ron Zukowski, who co-chaired the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta, died December 19. In 2014 he received the Hank Reinhardt Award given to honor an outstanding Georgia writer, artist, or fan. He was part of the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company for many years.]

By Michelle Leigh Rogers: Now that I have had a chance to digest the awful news, I do have a few things to say about one of my dearest friends, Ronald Raymond Zukowski. Anyone may use this material in news stories or obituaries if it is appropriate.

Ron was of Polish extraction. He had some family in the Chicago area. His own family lived for a while in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. His father moved to Atlanta to work for Delta Air Lines as an airplane mechanic.

I also need to mention something about his age. I have seen quotes of his being 72 or 73. My memory says that he was born in December 1950. That would make his death day his 71st birthday. If someone has more reliable information, I will be glad to hear it.

Some people may not know that Ron was in the Army. He did not have to go to Vietnam, even though it was in that era. He worked as a range officer and as a journalist, and also did some time in the reserves after his active duty.

Ron Zukowski had probably the worst case of ADHD I have ever seen. It definitely limited his ability to function in the world. The worst part was that it was an invisible disability. When a person has multiple sclerosis or a missing limb, people give them credit for the disability. But few people give credit for ADHD. Many of them just assume there is something wrong with the person.

I believe that had he not had the ADHD, Ron would have been quite successful as a journalist or a software developer. Even with it, he was able to work in computer tech support.

He could be irritable at times. But if you were dealing with that level of ADHD, you might be irritable, too. I understood where he was coming from.

Ron did not give himself credit for being as intelligent as he was. I tried to tell him but he did not believe me. He was a keen observer of the human condition. He was also one of the relatively few sports fans in science fiction fandom. He and I could always talk about the woes of Atlanta sports teams.

Ron also did not get nearly as much credit as he deserved for managing the Atlanta end of ConFederation (the World SF Convention of 1986). This does not minimize anyone else’s crucial contributions. But Ron was in there as much as possible keeping things going. I still remember the times when we were typing up the proposed hotel contract on his Apple IIe computer in his basement. I do not know where he found that printer. It seemed to run not in characters per second but in seconds per character. But we eventually got the document printed and ready to use.

We must also mention Ron’s strong Christian faith. It consoled him through all of his troubles. He started as Roman Catholic but eventually moved to the Anglican Catholic denomination. I asked him once why he “swam the Tiber.” He said he got tired of priests who could talk about liberation theology all day long but could not say a proper Mass.

I will miss Ron terribly. Even though we came from very different backgrounds, we had a lot in common. I know that his troubles have ended and that he is in a better place now. Ad astra, Ron.

[Reprinted from Facebook with permission.]

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