Obituary: Tim Mantle

Tim Mantle
Tim Mantle
Provided Photo

November 25, 1938 – June 22, 2022

Tim Mantle, 83 , of Meeker Colorado, passed away Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at his ranch located on Piceance Creek. Funeral Services will be held July 9, 2022 at 11:00 am, in the grandstands at the Rio Blanco Fairgrounds in Meeker CO. His Nephew, Mark Bishop, will be officiating with the help of long time friend Cookie Lockhart. Lunch will follow in the multipurpose building located across from the grandstands.

Tim Mantle was born November 25th 1938, in Hells Canyon, located in what is now Dinosaur National Monument, to Charlie and Evelyn Mantle. He was the 5th of 5 children, and was the only child born on the homestead that his father purchased in 1919. The ranch was located in the bottom of a deep canyon along the Yampa River, and the only way in and out was horseback or by wagon, and it was a 50 mile ride to town. His parents thought he was coming in December and the plan was to go out of Hells Canyon to Craig and await his birth. He fooled
them all and came early.

Tim, all his siblings and the neighboring ranch kids attended school through the 8th grade, in the canyon, and were either taught by a teacher that was hired and stayed with the Mantle family or were taught by Evelyn herself. When Tim was ready for highschool he attended the Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant Utah. After graduating highschool in 1956, Tim attended Colorado A&M, now known as CSU in Fort Collins Colorado and graduated with a degree in Animal Science, in 1960.

While attending college, he and his brother Lonnie (Nav) would earn extra money by entering the bronc riding. If the Mantle boys entered it was a sure bet that they were taking home the top prize money. They not only attended rodeos in Colorado, but also in all the surrounding states.

Tim learned early on the value of hard work and passed that value on to his family. He and his son Dean rise with the sun and seldom quit until well after dark. “It used to be when your horse was worn out, the day was over. Now you just get more fuel and keep going.” The time on the ranch was good, we didn’t know any different.”

Tim was drafted into the Army in 1961. He Attended Basic training at Camp Ord in California.

While attending a little rodeo in Boulder Colorado, put on by his older brother Pat and friend Buddy Hays, He met the love of his life, LaRue Betke. She was a flight attendant for Western Air at the time. He would later tell the story that he walked into a party after the rodeo and spotted the prettiest blue eyed woman he ever saw sitting on the floor drinking champagne out of a bottle. He told his friends he was going to marry her, and did. He said he was damn lucky to get her. They were married on November 24th,1962, and he often joked that he got married
and it aged him a year as his birthday was the next day. They took a road trip to the canyon to show her around and let her see what she was getting into. She liked what she saw and they planned on spending the winter at the ranch. LaRue tells the story of Tim, Lonnie and her taking her brand new Buick on the road to the rodeos and they hit a porcupine. Something happened to the wiring and the taillights wouldn’t shut off, Lonnie jumped out and said he knew how to fix it and proceeded to kick out the taillights. She was really mad at him.

Tim would leave LaRue at the home place with his mother Evelyn, to tend the orchard and large garden, and he would spend the summer on Blue Mountain with the cows. Later they purchased the Bowers place in Graystone Colorado. The ranches were connected but were across the river from each other. Tim’s friend Jim Wright would come help him shoe the bulls so their feet would hold up in the rocky country.

In May of 1965 LaRue came out of the canyon and stayed with friends Dean and Bea Cady, in Dinosaur, while awaiting the birth of their son Dean B. He was born May 30. Tim, LaRue and Dean stayed in Steamboat where Tim opened up a snowmobile business. Dean started the 1st grade in Steamboat, but then continued in Meeker. He lived with his aunt Sue and Cousin Steve during school and would summer with his mom and dad and work cows. In 1971 there was a terrible winter storm so they leased out their snowmobile business and returned to the Bowers place to take care of the cattle. LaRue went to the canyon place and Mike Harding helped Tim get the cows home. Tim told the story about he and Mike living off of jackrabbits that winter, as meat was scarce. When they made it home, LaRue had also cooked rabbit and Mike made the mistake of saying it tasted funny!. LaRue was instantly mad and asked why he said it. Tim jumped in and said that the ones they ate were gutshot to make sure they hit them and they were a little green.

He later sold the Bowers place and focused on the Home place. Tim and his family continued working the canyon ranch until the mormon crickets ran them out in 1983. Tim, LaRue and Dean partnered up with Dick Collins and later Jerrell Massey on Piceance Creek and ran cattle on the Square S. In the Fall, Dean and LaRue would gather the cows while Tim focused on a new venture of taking hunters on Bakers Peak near Baggs. Dean Graduated in 1984 and The
three of them took over the ranch and have been there ever since. Dean married his highschool sweetheart, Brooke, and they have two boys, Bailey, and Doak, and continue to run Mantle Ranch. They purchased additional properties in 1995 and again in 2003, in the Piceance basin. One of the properties was sold in 2001 and Tim’s long time friend Alan Storey, talked Tim into purchasing 2 mobile home parks located in Cedaredge Colorado. The Canyon place along the river was sold to a private individual in 2004, after a lengthy battle with the Park Service, but Tim and his siblings still own the Blue Mountain summer country. He and Alan helped found the Colorado Mule Deer Association. They spent countless hours getting it started. Tim was a member of the Elks Foundation in Rangely and later transferred his membership to Rifle. As a kid, Tim and his siblings always had a pet deer around,so this was something very close to his heart.

Tim loved to rodeo and go fishing at Bull Lake with his older brother Lonnie (Nav). The two were very close, and passed within 6 months of each other. Tim loved to take his boat out with his family and spend the day fishing. His grandkids have fond memories of going up to Uncle Lonnie’s with Grampa Tim, when the water was shut off to the canal and casting nets to catch huge fish that were stranded in it. Tim Loved a good meal especially a good beef steak. During the holidays he and LaRue enjoyed going to his son Dean’s house and spending it with his family. One of his favorite traditions was to hurry up and feed the cows then head up to a big Christmas morning breakfast of waffles and home grown pig, and watch his grandkids open their gifts from Santa Clause. They were pretty patient little guys, the rule was, they could only open their stockings. They had to wait until Grandpa, Tim, and dad were done feeding cows. He always said animals eat first. Tim and Dean would gather Grandma Rue up and head up to
Deans house to open their gifts after the huge breakfast.

He always had at least one cat in his lap and a couple very loyal dogs by his side. He also had a fondness for pet chickens. Later in life he became quite the gardener, and he was one of very few individuals that could grow a good crop of corn on Piceance Creek. He planted more onions and radishes than he and LaRue would ever eat, but loved playing in the dirt.

Tim is preceded in death by his parents Charlie and Evelyn, brothers, Charles Jr (Potch), Pat, and Lonnie (Nav), sister Queeda, and a baby girl. He is survived by his Wife of almost 60 years LaRue, son Dean, daughter in law Brooke, two grandsons Bailey and Doak and many cousins, nieces, nephews and a whole herd of friends.

Memorials can be made to the Elks Foundation in care of Grant Mortuary.

Services are under the direction of Grant Mortuary in Meeker Colorado

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