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Fallen Members

 This Page is dedicated to our fallen brothers and sisters.

Jack Atkinson

By Ann Devor with photos from family and friends

Jack Atkinson, the creator of the Primadonna Z, visionary designer, and fabricator, passed from this world on July 15, 2022. Jack, along with his wife Yolanda, have been lifetime members of ZONC. In the past 20 years, Jack and Yolanda have contributed to ZONC in a variety of special ways, helping us build our Z club with car shows, event t-shirts, and the design of our current ZONC logo. But Jack will be forever remembered for the road trips he led all over the United States and for his artistry in the garage. Jack was at his happiest on the road and in his garage.

He and Yolanda put together amazing road trips to places we had never seen before. Jack’s incredible knowledge of places along each route, side roads connecting to each one, and historic meaning to our present day, always kept us entertained and anticipating what he would bring to us next. Take the Loneliest Road, US 50 across the valleys and over the mountains of Nevada. That could be a monotonous grind but with Jack on the CB and a few competitive sprints along the way, it was pure magic under the big open sky. And he never got our Zs (and GT-Rs) in trouble, although his excellent record would be broken years later while leading a group of Corvettes. And oh! the places we would go! Among my personal favorites was the 2008 trip to Durango, CO. Along the way, we hiked to Delicate Arch in Arches Nat’l Park in Utah, rode the Durango & Silverton Railroad along the Animas River in Colorado, and, after a short stretch on a gravel road, stopped at the Little A’Le’Inn near Area 51 in Nevada. You never quite knew what would happen next! Another of Jack’s favorite routes was Hwy. 25 south to the Indian Valley gravel road (RIP ground squirrels) on the way to the coast and San Simeon for our North meets South Z get-togethers. Those were special times when we met Johnnie Gable and Inland Z friends around the firepit at the Quality Inn. But there were many more trips just like that with cavalcades of as many as twenty cars going to places like Mt. Rushmore, Death Valley, Las Vegas, and SEMA, Hetch Hetchy, Devils Tower, the Beartooth Hwy. and Yellowstone Nat’l Park, not to mention trips with the Corvette Club to Canada for the Calgary Stampede, and across the country to the Corvette factory and Museum. Just to name a few. Jack was well known for his award-winning Zs, from his earliest work redesigning 240Zs to his later day artistry with 300ZXs. These Zs became Jack’s Primadonnas and there was and is nothing else on the road like them. Jack built three Primadonna 240Zs and two Primadonna Z32s. He and Yolanda recently found his first Primadonna, still located in the Bay Area, and had it towed to ZCar Garage

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where Rob Fuller got it running again. Rob also helped Jack make his dream come true for his Z32 LS3 Primadonna and did the mechanical work to earn Jack a prize at 2021 ZCON in the Z32 Ultra Modified category. This was in addition to dozens of awards that Jack won for his cars such as ZDay 2015 Best of Show for his Nissan-powered twin turbo Primadonna Z32 at Pismo Beach. Jack was such a guaranteed award winner that at times he wanted only to show his cars, not competing for prizes to keep the competition open for everyone else. Jack, with Yolanda’s assistance with fiberglass molding, designed and fabricated all manner of auto body parts – fenders, noses, tails, splitters, wings, all to accommodate the bigger wheels that were necessary for his aerodynamic designs. And the wheels were big! Wheels for Jack’s cars were custom made and it was always one of his favorite jobs to put his new wheels on for the first time. And to his last days, he wanted a set of new wheels for one of his cars. Jack was always thinking about the next big thing he wanted to do, whether it was a road trip or a new design for a car. When Jack started working with vinyl applications and graphics, a whole new world opened up and added to Jack’s already respectable number of design innovations. Jack’s cars visually popped with their huge wheels covered by muscular fenders, big wings, splitters just barely clearing the asphalt, and car paint clothed in colorful spears, stripes, arrows, and emblems. There is nothing else like Jack’s cars.

They are unique just like Jack. There are so many stories that could be told, so many times laughing our hearts out, and so many days we spent driving with one of the finest gentlemen in the car world. It is not enough to say that he will be missed. We send our deepest condolences to Yolanda and best wishes for better times ahead. There are plans being made for a Celebration of Life to honor Jack sometime in the next few months and possibly a Tribute Run to the memorial in Southern California. ZNews will provide updates and for information, as it becomes available, please contact Ann at: [email protected].


Johnnie K. Gable

The Z car world lost a bright light on December 8 with the passing of Ms. Johnnie K. Gable. Johnnie was the hard-working and fun-loving secretary to Yutaka Katayama, also known as Mr. K. Johnnie started working for Mr. K on May 23, 1963, during the early years of Datsun car sales in the United States. Mr. K was the Vice President of Nissan Motor Corporation, USA for the west coast. At the time, the cars that Nissan sold were branded Datsuns for the United States and were shipped to the ports at Los Angeles/Long Beach from Japan. When Johnnie was hired, she became Mr. K’s right hand and had responsibility for a multitude of tasks that led to the tremendous success of Datsun and now Nissan cars in the United States. Johnnie was Mr. K’s personal assistant and took care of his correspondence, scheduling, and orders for cars. She was always behind the scenes taking care of business.

In the meantime, the Datsun 510 had been introduced to the United States and was becoming popular on the racetrack. And then one day, Johnnie told Mr. K about Bob Bondurant’s interest in running Z cars at his driving school in Ontario, CA. Mr. K then arranged for Bondurant to get 10 cars. Johnnie also gets credit for delivering parts to Peter Brock in the early days of Brock Racing Enterprises. It was difficult to get parts without Mr. K’s support. Brock’s development of a 240Z race car led to John Morton’s SCCA National Championship wins in 1970 and following in 1971. Continuing Datsun’s racing pedigree, Steve Millen drove a Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo to the first of several championships beginning in 1992. Johnnie Gable was there for all of it. She knew everyone and she helped everyone.

In 1977 Mr. K retired from Nissan USA and returned to Japan. Before he left, he gave Johnnie his 1972 yellow G-nose 240Z. This special car was a generous gift but well-deserved for someone who was devoted to her job at Nissan and to her boss. Johnnie lived her life in the spirit of Mr. K’s motto, “Love Cars, Love People, Love Life.”

Johnnie continued to be an enthusiastic supporter of Datsun and Nissan sports cars even in her retirement years. In 2018 Johnnie was ZONC’s special guest of honor at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and enjoyed a parade lap with Pat Johnson in his red 1969 Roadster. Recently in April, Johnnie was a special guest at the unveiling of the 50th Anniversary BRE 370Z. In September, she went to ZCon in Nashville to see the unveiling of the new Nissan Z Proto. And she loved ZONC’s car shows and gatherings at the Blackhawk Museum.

Johnnie Gable was one of the sweetest and most kind people you could ever know. Besides being a historically important figure in the Z car world, she loved her family very much. She leaves behind her son, Ken Ueda, who has organized the Mr. K Runs out of southern California in recent years. Johnnie also leaves behind another son and grandchildren. Without a doubt, Johnnie will be missed deeply but her bright spirit will live on.

by Ann Devor


Rolf  S. Johnsen

1951 – 2014

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I am sorry to say that a great man has left us today. my father passed away at 12:03am this morning… this Is such a great loss to me and to everyone else that knew my father. he has touched so many lives in so many ways may he rest in peace. ~ Leif Johnsen

Leif, we’re so very sorry for your loss. Our prayers and condolences to you and your family. Rolf will really be missed by the ZONC community. ~ Marci & Bob

Rolf was my video dude for ZONC, he put together some awesome videos of ZONC events for the website.  We talked and emailed all the time, he was a sweet, awesome ZONCer friend.  My prayers go out the Rolf’s family. ~ Karl Twiford, ZONC Webmaster

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You can post your thoughts and prayers on our Facebook Group Page


Lyent Chatman Hogue Jr

Jan. 4, 1959 — May 19, 2014

 

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Lyent Chatman Hogue Jr., 55, was born in Shelby, N.C., on Jan. 4, 1959, to Lyent and Elizabeth Hogue Sr. He made the journey home to a land that is free from sickness, pain, sorrow and death on Monday, May 19, 2014.

He lived in Fairfield for 42 years. He worked for Exxon Refinery for 10 years. He also worked for the Suisun City and Peralta Police Departments, as well as the Solano College police. Then he worked at Harvest Valley School, UHS, Alicante and Creekside Academy for a combination of 12 years.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria Martin Hogue; son, Marques Hogue; daughter, Laquitia Hogue; dedicated loving mother, Elizabeth Hogue; brother, Larry Hogue; sisters, Patricia and Pandora Maddox of  North Carolina, Deborah Hogue-Pettus (Vincent) and Karen Hogue; aunts, Gladys Chatman of New York and Elsie McDowell of North Carolina; stepdaughter, Tamara Thomas; four grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and many great friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Lyent Hogue Sr.

Lyent was a beautiful person who will be missed by many.

 

You can post your thoughts and prayers on our Facebook Group Page or Lyent’s Facebook Page


Ronald (Ron) W. Fuller

July 2, 1947 – May 30, 2010

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Ronald (Ron) W. Fuller passed away on May 30, 2010, in his home in Valley Spring, CA at the age of 62.

Ron was born on July 2, 1947, and raised in Madera, a graduate of St. Joachim’s School and Madera High School Class of 1965. He attended both Hartnell College and Fresno City College. As a music lover, Ron and his high school buddies organized The Shamrocks, which became a hit band of the Valley.

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Ron moved to the Bay Area in the 70’s, where he was employed by Hertz for a number of years. Later he moved to Stockton and developed his own business as a real estate appraiser. In more recent years, Ron fulfilled his dream of owning and racing cars throughout the state.

Ron will be missed by his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Luther W. Fuller of Madera. He is survived by his mother Angelina Spera Fuller of Madera, his sister Janice Fuller Wrobel of Pleasant Hill, his niece Jenna Wrobel of Walnut Creek, nephew Zach Wrobel of Los Angeles, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.


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We in the Z Community are among a widely varied group of Carolyn Dudley’s friends who mourn her loss. This portion of the Z.O.N.C. website is dedicated to her memory.

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