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September 2021 Grapevine - Ronald Olejko

By: MPI Georgia | Sep 8, 2021

REPOSTING ON BEHALF OF OUR INDUSTRY PARTNER - PCMA
Submitted by: Connie Bergeron. CMP


In Loving Memory - Ron Olejko

Ronald Frank Olejko (71) passed away following a lengthy illness September 5 surrounded by steadfast friends.  He burst into this world May 4, 1950 and from that point on took the world by storm.  Though ever proud of his Lorain, Ohio roots and extended Olejko family, a trip to New York City opened up a whole new world for him.  Shortly after graduating from Baldwin Wallace College, he pulled up stakes and headed to the Big Apple.  He worked as a temp and was offered permanent employment with each new assignment, but he held out for the right fit.  It proved to be the Arthritis Foundation, which later branched into the College of Rheumatology.  It was there he found his lifelong career, but not without another major change.  The company moved to Atlanta and Ron along with it.  There, his ability to light up a room, to draw people in and to make them comfortable caused his circle of friends to multiply tenfold.  His official title was Senior Director — Meeting Services, American College of Rheumatology and he planned conferences all over the world.  This not only fed into his love of travel, but also increased the number of his friendships yet again.  Upon his retirement the ACR  wrote of him, “…known for his smarts, wicked wit, rapid responses he delivered 30 years of flawless educational meetings.”  They also summed his character up in one word, “Ebullient.”  Ebullient —- that was Ron Olejko.  His love of life was contagious. He was preceded in death by his parents Frank and Angeline Olejko and two partners Paul Franklin III and John (Jack) Hile.  Though, per his wishes, there will be no service for his extended family of friends and relatives to shed tears, it is preferable for those left behind to smile and be happy that he lived and brought so much joy.   

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Rheumatology Research Foundation, The Actors Express or The ASPCA.  Additionally, a Ronald Frank Olejko Foundation for the Performing Arts will be established in the coming months.


Announcing the PCMA SE Ronald Olejko Membership Support Scholarship Fund

The PCMA SE Board of Directors has confirmed initiation of a new scholarship fund which is named to honor, and now in memory of, Ronald Olejko, a veteran planner and long-time enthusiastic member of PCMA, who retired as Senior Director, Meeting Services, with the American College of Rheumatology in 2018.  Bernie Wilke, PCMA SE’s 2021 Chapter President, announced, “The Ronald Olejko Membership Support Scholarship Fund will be beneficial to our chapter and will include two membership scholarships per year.  These one-year memberships will be awarded to two meeting industry professionals based upon financial circumstance and industry involvement.”

When PCMA SE announced the titled scholarship, Ronald Olejko said, “The friendships I made over decades in the meeting and hospitality industry, especially through membership in PCMA have been invaluable. Attending PCMA’s events and presenting at educational programs, both nationally and at the chapter level, have been excellent learning opportunities.  It is truly an honor to have PCMA SE create a scholarship fund named in my honor to support membership in the association for those in need.  I can personally attest to the benefits of PCMA membership and the quality education offered for members.”  Ron’s 43 years managing the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting will not be forgotten by the many friends and members who admired insight and talent.

For information on how to make donations to support the PCMA SE Ronald Olejko Membership Support Scholarship Fund, please contact Lisa Kraus Gardner, PCMA SE Chapter Administrator, at southeast@pcma.org or call 678.229.2849.

 

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