Ronald Gerald Zablocki, “Zab” to many and “Gigi” to his granddaughters, passed away quietly with family by his side at the age of 78 years, on Tuesday May 23, 2017, in Calgary. Ron was born on July 12, 1938 in Calgary, to Stephen and Ann Zablocki. An only child for the first 14 years of his life, he became a proud big brother to Ken in 1952. Growing up in various basements suites and apartments during his early years, the family eventually settled in Ogden where Ron helped build the family home with his father between football games in the potato patches that dotted the neighbourhood. His laughter was always contagious and he loved to get a rise from his friends during his school years. While not a top student, he understood that hard work got you places and while teachers noted that he was at times "overly social", it was only after he got his own work done that he allowed himself to disrupt the work of the others. This experience would serve him well later in life.
After high school he attended Mount Royal College for a year, but was soon off to Illinois to try his hand at playing college football and becoming a dentist. He was home the following year with busted knees and sights on a new career as a grocery store manager. It was during this time back in Calgary that he met Joyce, who became his wife in 1961. It was soon after they were married that Ron heard of friends who were graduating and beginning to teach when he said to Joyce that he felt he could do that too, and would she like to move to Montana so he could finish his degree and become a Phys. Ed. teacher? Off they went and within a couple of years Ron was teaching and coaching in Montana. Despite a signed contract to teach in Nevada, when the Vietnam war escalated, Ron and Joyce could think of nothing better than getting back to Canada. Fortune would have it that an offer arrived from School District No. 76 and they were on their way to Medicine Hat, to teach Phys Ed at Medicine Hat High School.
This is where, from a small basement apartment by the bowling alley, they started their long love affair with the city that Ron gave his heart to. Peter, his son arrived in 1969, soon to be followed by his daughter Jennifer in 1973. By this time Ron and Joyce moved to a small bungalow on Black Boulevard, dad was working on his Master’s degree and dreaming of becoming a school Vice Principal. His dreams were answered first by Alexander Jr High, then by Medicine Hat High School and finally, the Principalship at Crescent Heights High School.
Ron gave his heart and soul to everyone he met and everything he did. His love for Medicine Hat and the people he met there shone through in many ways. He dedicated his time to the students, teachers and staff at all the schools he worked at. He loved musical theatre, performing and serving for many years on the MHMT board. He volunteered for many hockey organizations, as President of the AJHL, organizer of summer games, President of Kiwanis, co-founder of Rattlers Football Club, and the list goes on and on. His huge heart and resounding laughter touched many people over the 50 years he lived in Medicine Hat. His life was full because of the many connections he formed while living there.
In retirement he continued to volunteer, and golf and enjoy his time with his family. By this time comprised of Joyce, his wife of 55 years, his children Peter and Tracey, Jennifer and Neil and their daughters Edie, Nuala and Agnes. His brother and sister-in-law, Ken and Natalie and their children Shauna (Seann) and Chris (Reece), and great nephew and niece, Logan and Alyssa; his cousins, Rosemary, Bob and Nadia, Andy and Cec.
His only regret was that he did not have more time with those he loved so dearly.
Laugh loudly, play sports and sing show tunes. It’s what Ron did.
The funeral service was held at the PATTISON CHAPEL on Saturday May 27, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. with Life Celebrant, David Townsend. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Medicine Hat Musical Theatre 1221 10th Ave SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1A 1G3.
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