(1911- 1995 )

 

Gilbert Ronstadt was born in 1911, son of Federico José María Ronstadt y Redondo and his second wife Lupe Dalton y Vasquez in Tucson Arizona Territory.  Brother to William, Alfred and Edward and half-brother to Luisa, Laura, Fred A. and Alicia.* For more Information regarding Ronstadt Family History;  http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/ronstadt

Gilbert grew up spending his time between the family ranch Las Delicias, at the base of the Boboqivari Mountain.  Gilbert attended the University of Arizona where he met and fell in love with Ruth Mary Copeman often riding his horse from the ranch to the sorority steps where he sang & played his guitar to win her heart.  They were married in 1937 in Flint, Michigan and had four children - Gretchen, Peter, Linda and Michael.

The Gilbert Ronstadt Family - 1953

This photo featured in Family Circle Magazine 1953 pictures left to right;  Linda, Peter, Gretchen, Gilbert holding Michael, and his wife Ruth Mary.

He joined with his father to work at F. Ronstadt Company, the family hardware & machinery business.  All who knew him, knew well of his love for music ~ for at any gathering he would be found singing and playing.  His art or "doodling" as he would refer to it was not a matter of public record unlike his community involvement, musicianship, metal and jewelry works.

Although he had often illustrated for Tucson High School publications and had created custom hand drawn holiday cards for his fraternity brothers during college, the multitude of sketches, drawings and watercolors that he generated over a period of 68 years would be shared with but a select few friends and family.

Tucked away in a drawer - rarely and shyly shown, the edges were often tattered and the discoloration of time apparent - but the obvious love he held for the experiences he had put to the paper shone through.

He would often laugh and point out everything that he thought should have been differently, but sometimes you could see the glimmer of pride he felt when you expressed your love for the work.  Occasionally in his mountains and skies, you could see the influence of long time friend and neighbor Maynard Dixon...

After Ruth Mary's passing in March of 1982, spending time with his art helped paint over some of the loneliness he was feeling. " I remember the look in his eyes when I brought him an Easter basket full of new brushes & watercolors and a package of quality watercolor paper that year... I think it was like trying a candy you once loved and had forgotten just how much you had missed it..."

In the years that followed, he was inspired to bring some of his photo journalism from the past, rough sketches / ideas and his new experiences to life through his watercolors.  They sometimes made it into a matt & frame that quietly hung on his walls... Some have quietly adorned daughter Linda's album covers... Some of us were quietly overwhelmed to be so lucky as to receive one as a gift or a "thank you"... or receive a hand drawn watercolor card on our packages he always wrapped in aluminum foil.

The assortment of his work that we have just begun to tap into is rich in time and love -be it a simple sketch on a placemat or the product of a lighthearted day of art with his grandchildren.

Fondly known to all of us as Papa, he was the "glue" that held us all tightly together.  It was through his eyes and unconditional love that we knew who each other was an it was his gentle guidance that often helped us all find our ways.

It is my hope that as our family unfolds his art so that it may be shared with many... others might feel joy through the love his heart painted and find comfort for the loneliness we have all experienced with our losses.

Deborah J. Ronstadt