A Tribute to MJ Ramirez ZAPPCON Founder and President
So I kept hearing about this guy and his wife from Sammy. “His daughter’s in my class. They’re so cool. We have to have them over. His wife has her own business as a SEO and helps businesses online, and MJ is really into comics, they homeschool…” the list went on. The first time I met MJ, he had unexpectedly brought a present for Sammy’s birthday. It was a comic book of The Hulk with a mesoamerican cover. With this simple gift, MJ showed me that he “gets” my husband in a way I didn’t, I had been failing at my gift giving attempts for years. I knew it was bromance. Sammy constantly brought home art books about comics that MJ had lent him, and MJ had even sent him a script of a comic Handsome Devil he was writing so they could collaborate. Whenever we got together we discussed our children, gaming, life and it’s struggles, and general geekdom. I took an immediately liking to Courtney, Mike, and the girls. Every time we parted, Sammy and I would go on and on about how we needed to hang out again soon, play an RPG, anything to hang out with the Ramirez fam.
One night in our apartment we were talking about Fresno and the central valley and that’s when the spark became a flame. MJ was determined that it was time the central valley had it’s own con. He knew the con scene, he had friends that could help him get started, and he had the passion to work hard to make ZAPPCON happen. We encouraged him, throwing our faith behind his vision, trusting that if anyone could do it, he could. I’m still in shock. Last week he was getting ready to print me business cards and was coaching me on how to approach vendors. He always listened now matter how harebrained my ideas were. Now I’m lost because I keep wanting to turn to him for answers, or to brainstorm, or to get his help with ZAPPCON, and for his friendship and conversation. Now I can’t just call him, wait for the next ZAPP meeting, or harass him on facebook. Losing someone is felt so keenly when you were in constant contact on an almost daily basis. Hold your loved ones close, it’s never too soon to check your heart (complications with his heart led to his unexpected passing March 12, 2014), and let your geek shine.
My heart goes out to his family, because of their profound loss of someone so kind, patient, and unwavering. Not only was MJ talented at what he did, he managed to do it all while treating everyone with respect around him. Thirty eight years was far too soon for the Earth to lose someone like MJ. We miss you already. Keep on Zapping. Love ya man.
More links to tributes to MJ below.