ASTC Remembers Ron Jerit and Ned Lustig
ASTC mourns the loss of two of our beloved founding members this past year, Ron Jerit and Ned Lustig. Both Ron and Ned were important and influential to the world of theatre architecture and entertainment technology throughout the course of their careers.
Of Ned Lustig, one member commented, “Ned was a true innovator not only in lighting systems but also in automated rigging. He left the manufacturing business and became one of the most prolific and well detailed theatre consultants with an outstanding portfolio of projects in the Midwest.” Ned served as Secretary and CFO for ASTC from its inception in 1983 until he retired in 2013. Ned’s daughter Susan Lustig wrote “He loved ASTC, he was so proud of it.” Ned reveled in gathering the membership together. He was present for nearly every Society meeting, twice yearly, over his 30 years of service. Another member commented, “There was never a more dedicated member of the Society than Ned. Ned was the solid rock that kept ASTC afloat and aligned with our mission from the beginning. For this and many other reasons, Ned was the first member to be elected to Fellow.”
Ron Jerit was an important leader of ASTC from the beginning and served as our President for six years from 1988 to 1993. One member observed “Ron was an amazing individual who instilled a true sense of commitment to our profession with passion, humor, intolerance of fools and as a founding member of ASTC, he fostered the standards that we all signed on to.” Prior to his consulting career Ron taught at the State University of New York, University of Florida, University of Illinois and Memphis State University. He has directed and designed scenery and lighting for educational, community and professional theatres, and television. Ron joined the theatre consulting group at Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. in 1968 and would ultimately manage the Chicago office until it closed. Soon thereafter Ron founded Jerit/Boys Inc. Theatre Consulting in 1978. Another member recalled: “He was, to me, a giant, not easily described or memorialized with only words. Remembrances offer a more personal insight into how those of us who know Ron respected his professional ability and knowledge and likable personality.” Ron was responsible for many of ASTC’s important endeavors, including the establishment of our Ethics Committee and the traditional ending of our meetings with “Memorable Moments”, an open forum through which members share current and past professional experiences. As a colleague recalled, “One rarely saw Ron without two things – a cigar in his mouth and a twinkle in his eye. He was equal parts gentle and mischievous, with a huge passion for his work that would occasionally break through his normally quiet demeanor, somewhat like a thunderstorm! We’ll miss him.”
Ron Jerit’s and Ned Lustig’s spirit live on thorough their body of work, through the people they touched both personally and professionally, and by virtue of their years of leadership. Their legacy is alive and well within the membership of ASTC.
By Michael McMackin, FASTC