Ron Golubiec Has Died

Ronald “Roman” Golubiec, a pillar of our Polish community, died on January 24, 2024 in Seattle of old age, he was 91.

Romuald Golubiec was born in Riga, Latvia on July 27, 1932.  His father was arrested and taken away by the Soviets.  His mother later remarried to the Polish Consul, Boleslaw Golubiec.  After the Soviet Union invaded the Baltic countries in 1940 his stepfather was also arrested and sent to Siberia but managed to return to Latvia after the war. His mother Jadwiga managed to save them by evacuating to Germany before WWII ended as the Soviets were approaching. He then attended a high school in the refugee camp in Ingolstadt, Germany, before they were able to immigrate to Chicago in 1951. Ron graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Business degree and then joined the US Navy. Commissioned as an officer he served as a pilot in Guam, Okinawa and Seattle. He acquired his beloved 1956 Ford Thunderbird during this period as a Navy officer.

Back in Chicago, he met the love of his life, Martha Szternal and they married in 1961 there. In 1962 he got a job offer from Boeing and they moved to Seattle and raised two sons, John and Mark. Martha also worked at Boeing in its travel agency. Their life in Seattle was interrupted by the 1970 Boeing crisis, when they moved to Germany and then to Iran where Ron worked for the German company MBB as a manager and project planner; Martha worked as a teacher. After returning to Seattle in 1979 Ron and Martha created a very successful Polyways Travel agency business.

Ron and Martha, with other Polish transplants lured to Seattle by the Boeing boom in the early 1960s, helped to reinvigorate the Polish community. They continued their activities after returning from Iran, by supporting the Solidarity movement in Poland, raising awareness of the situation in the public and seeking political support from the US Congress. During this period Ron served as the voice of the community giving interviews and working with Sen. Henry Jackson on support for the movement.

Ron volunteered his time at the Polish Hall, serving six times as the Polish Home Association President and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees among other functions. He was also a founding Director and the Secretary of the Seattle Polish Foundation and served on the SPF Board of Directors for almost twenty years helping to grow it into the principal Polish charity in Seattle. He helped with the Polish Home renovation in 1968. He also served as the Chair of the PHA Building Commission during the 2005-2010 Polish Home Expansion project that built a new wing to the Polish Hall building. Ron and Martha loaned $200,000 to the PHA to help with that project. He was also involved in the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association and its business exchanges with Poland as well as in the Seattle Polish Film Festival. Martha and Ron hosted many exchange students and visiting film artists under their roof. He didn’t slow much after retirement at 65, still being very much involved in the Polish community, but he had more time for travel with Martha and simply enjoying the family life.

Ron Golubiec was recognized for his activities and extraordinary contributions. He received the Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland bestowed by the President of Poland and several certificates of recognition from the Consulate General of Poland in Los Angeles. He represented a role model how to support native Polish heritage while actively contributing to local American community. His character, advice, integrity, and sense of humor will be missed.

Ron Golubiec is survived by his sons John and Mark, their wives Liz and Betty and his grandsons Nicholas and Jonathan.

Memorial Services: 1 pm on April 13, 2024, Celebration of Life at the Polish Cultural Center