‘Trek’ Convention Co-Founder Joan Winston Passes Away
Joan Winston, one of the founders of the very first Star Trek convention, passed away this week.
Mark Milton, a relative of Winston’s, posted on a Doctor Who mailing list overnight, “I came home today to learn that Joan Winston, co-founder of the Star Trek conventions, author of Star Trek Lives! and The Making of the Trek Conventions as well as many other books and short stories, had passed away. As some of you know, she’s my father-in-law’s first cousin and I enjoyed her greatly. She was quite a gal. Details of how/why are still sketchy but services are Sunday at 9:30 at (as best as I can tell) the Plaza funeral home in Manhattan. I don’t know if that is what it’s actually called, we’re contacting the rabbi tomorrow.”
Winston was part of what became known as The Committee, the fans who figured out how to run a convention dedicated to a single subject, something previously untried. The very first con, in 1972, expected a few hundred people and wound up hosting 3000 rabid fans eager to hear Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and science fiction author Isaac Asmiov chat. By the time the group retired in 1976 with their final show, over 10,000 fans would pack New York City hotels, spawning a new kind of fan-run show that endures around the world today.
Her chapter in Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Sondra Marshak’s Star Trek Lives! provided people with a glimpse into the birth of the conventions along with a take on the Star Trek fan fiction world. She continued to talk about those days, providing information to William Shatner for his Get a Life! memoir and can be seen on camera in Denise Crosby’s documentary Trekkies 2.
After retiring from running cons, she became a professional author and later worked as a literary agent before illness confined her to an assistant living facility earlier this year.