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.]

Awards at DragonCon Banquet

Two honorees were in the spotlight at DragonCon’s awards banquet on August 31.

Julie Award
Terry Gilliam

The award, named for Julius Schwartz, is “bestowed for universal achievement spanning multiple genres.” The recipient is selected each year by a panel of industry professionals. The first one was given in 1998 to Ray Bradbury.

Hank Reinhardt Award
Ron Zukowski

Founded in 1990 as the Georgia Fandom Award, the Reinhardt is given to a Georgia fan who has contributed to the genre. The award was renamed in honor of Hank Reinhardt following his death in 2007. Ron Zukowski co-chaired ConFederation, the 1986 Worldcon held in Atlanta.

Rogers: ConFederation Reunion a Success

[Some of the folks who ran the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta gathered together on June 18 to celebrate the con’s 25th anniversary.]

By M. Lee Rogers: How did the reunion go? As well as could be expected.

A total of 18 people attended, all from the Atlanta area. We had booked two connecting suites at an Embassy Suites hotel on the north side of the metro area. It turned out the two suites were just big enough to hold the throng.

Co-Chairman Ron Zukowski and I went out Friday night for the major supply run. After breakfast Saturday, we went out again for the ice to fill the bathtub with soft drinks. The first person showed up while we were loading the bathtub.

(One oddball fact for running a party: if you can’t find an icepick, an oyster knife works very well as a substitute.)

We had some talk about ConFederation, but most of it was people catching up with each other about almost everything. I managed to put up some posters from the progress reports and bid zines (South on Peachtree).

At supper time, the group headed to a next-door buffet restaurant for supper before breaking up around 9:30 p.m. to head back home. Ron and I stayed at the hotel Saturday night before checking out Sunday morning to head to his church.

We should thank Alice Spivey for making some posters and buttons for the reunion.

All in all, it was a good room party. I wish it could have been bigger, but it was unrealistic to expect people to come from out of town for a small get-together.

One of our Executive Committee members, Avery Davis, expressed some desire to have a party at Renovation. If he wants to throw one, nobody here will object.

Also, Ron Z. wrote a very moving tribute to a fan who died a year ago. Her name was Robin Sanders. He delivered the address at a memorial service recently.

ConFederation Reunion Is On!

[From the press release] 

M. Lee Rogers and Ron Zukowski proudly prevent, uh, present the ConFederation 25th Anniversary Celebration!


1. You were an attending or supporting member of ConFederation.
2. You are known to the organizers.
3. Someone known to the organizers can vouch for you.

(The criteria are similar to a fan fund.)

What: A party to celebrate one of Southern SF fandom’s shining moments: the 1986 World Science Fiction Convention held in downtown Atlanta.

When: Saturday June 18, 2011, 12:00 noon to whenever.

Where: Embassy Suites Alpharetta, off Exit 9 of Georgia 400 (Haynes Bridge Road) near North Point Mall.

Why: Why not?!?

How Much: $20 per person. Free for members of ConFederation Executive Committee, SFWA, or ASFA. If cost is a problem, talk to Ron or Mike. Any material surplus will be donated to fan funds–this is a not-for-profit venture.

We realize it’s fairly short notice, but we are trying to work around Dragon*Con and other regional conventions. North Fulton is equally inconvenient to everyone. The area is also accessible via MARTA by train and bus.

The adult beverage situation is BYOB. We will provide as many munchies and soft drinks as we can.

Suites should be available at the hotel. The current rates are around $100 per night. For reservations, call 1-800-EMBASSY.

Please feel free to publicize this event in fandom, but do not publicize it in the local media. It is not open to the general public.

We hope you’ll come celebrate ConFederation with us that Saturday. It should be a fun evening.

It would help if you let us know if you are coming so we can know how many people to plan for. Please RSVP with payment to:

M. L. Rogers
331 Celestial Lane
Hixson, TN 37343-5810

Be there. Aloha.

Rogers: Peanuts! T-Shirts! Pre-Supporting Memberships!

By M. Lee Rogers: Ron Zukowski and M. Lee Rogers hope y’all will mark the date of Saturday June 18 on your calendars for an evening to remember a very special event.

Things are still tentative, but June 18 is the planned date for the ConFederation 25th Anniversary Celebration. The facility and other plans will be announced later, but this will give you as much notice as possible.

The Celebration will be a one-day party for Southern SF fandom and its friends to remember that weekend when we brought the science fiction community to our part of the world. It is not a convention itself. It will be open to members of ConFederation and to those other fans who are known to the organizers. The Celebration is not open to the general public, primarily because it is not trying to be Dragon*Con.

The Celebration will request a small donation but will not turn anyone away for financial hardship. Any material surplus will be donated to fan funds.

Obviously, the organizers will need some help in pulling this shindig together. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at mleerog (at) bellsouth (dot) net.

NOTE: ConFederation was the 44th World Science Fiction Convention held in Atlanta, GA on August 28-September 1, 1986 at the Atlanta Hilton, Hyatt Regency, and Marriott Marquis Hotels. Ray Bradbury was Guest of Honor, Terry Carr was Fan Guest of Honor, and Bob Shaw was Toastmaster.

1986 Worldcon Memorial?

M. Lee Rogers and Ron Zukowski may hold an event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the last Atlanta Worldcon, ConFederation, in 2011.

Rogers says, “if there is enough interest from enough people, a 25th Anniversary ConFed meeting would be a proper memorial for such an important event in the history of Southern science fiction fandom.”

It might take the form of a one-day meeting, a weekend convention, or a hospitality event at next year’s Worldcon, Renovation. Fans have til the end of this year to make their wishes known — send e-mail to mleerog (at) bellsouth (dot) net. Then Rogers and Zukowski will decide what to do. 

I say: Any excuse to throw a party. (Although I shiver to hear “Worldcon” and “memorial” in the same breath!)

I can’t recall another example of fans creating an event to celebrate the anniversary of a past Worldcon. Ordinarily, when a veteran fan group gets feeling wistful about their last Worldcon they simply bid for another one. That’s not an option for Atlanta fans as long as Dragon*Con is held there every Labor Day Weekend. I can see why they would have to think of another idea.

Of course, Rogers and Zukowski are still testing the waters to see if fans respond with enough enthusiasm for the project to make it worthwhile.

They’ve already had this success – I’ve realized that more than one Southern Worldcon will reach a special anniversary in 2011 – next year will be the 50th anniversary of NoLaCon, where fans held the famous party in Room 770. Call me biased, but I’m going to celebrate!