Ronald Keith Tinsley passed away peacefully in the early hours of Sept. 20, just shy of his 72nd birthday. Ron was born on Oct. 18, 1945, in Prague, Okla. Just four days after his birth, his family moved to Huntington Beach, Calif., where he remained until he was 18. He then moved north to Mammoth Lakes, Calif., where his love affair with the mountains began. Ron was an avid athlete and sought after adventure. He spent his time skiing both for fun and as an employee of the Mammoth Mountain ski patrol. His career as a patrolman lasted 14 years, during which time he never felt like he was working. Some of his strongest lifelong relationships were forged during those years.
When he was 27, he welcomed his only child, a daughter, Tera. His love for her was infinite and he insisted that she accompany him on many of his adventures. Much to her mother’s dismay, he skied down Mammoth Mountain with Tera in his arms when she was just weeks old. He instilled in her the love of the outdoors, camping, horses, skiing and the beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There was not a day that went by that Tera could not feel Ron’s love and pride for her and her family. She will be forever grateful for that and the free spirit and independence he instilled in her.
During his 38 years in Northern California, Ron became an avid horseman. He rode bucking broncos in the rodeo and spent a great deal of his time in the Eastern Sierra backcountry on horseback. He was happiest there and had been known to nap on the top of his horse while riding long distances.
In 2001, he and Marcia Jarvis moved from Mammoth to Pagosa Springs, where they purchased a 40-acre ranch. Then, in 2002, they were married there. Over the last 15 years they spent their retirement riding their horses and mules and enjoying the friends and family who often visited. Ron and Marcia loved to travel with their animals to Moab, Utah, and over the course of their many visits, formed a special bond with the people at Red Cliffs Lodge. Before his death, Ron requested that it be written for all to read that his love for Marcia ran deep and his appreciation for her could never be described in words. She was a loyal, compassionate, deeply caring wife for all of their years together, especially in the end when things were especially difficult.
In 2003 and 2007, Ron’s two granddaughters were born. Hayley (14) and Cassidy (10) will have many fond memories of their time with Grandpa at the TJ Ranch with his horses, cows, dogs and cats. Ron was extremely proud of his grand-girls and they both loved spending time with him. Both of them learned how to be cowgirls from the very best.
Ron can best be described as a man who lived life on his terms. He enjoyed each minute to its fullest and all of the items on his bucket list have been completed. He loved to have a good time and wanted all those around him to do the same. The poem that is framed on the wall of the tack room in his barn said this:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
In a well-preserved body —
But rather to skid in sideways, beer in one hand, a steak in the other
Body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming …
Woooo hoooo, what a ride!
He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him. He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Marcia; his daughter and her husband, Tera and Jamie Black; his two granddaughters, Hayley and Cassidy; many dear friends and family throughout the U.S. and Canada and all of the critters that remain on the ranch. He is predeceased by both of his parents and his first granddaughter, Natalie.
Ron’s wishes were to not have a funeral or memorial service. Instead, his ashes will be sprinkled in the mountains by his family at a later date. Condolences can be sent to Marcia Jarvis, P.O. Box 5042, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 and/or Tera Black, 1800 Princeton Ave., Charlotte, NC 28209. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society.