Marfa’s Tigie Lancaster passes away
Elinor Cecile “Tigie” Lancaster, 78, died peacefully at her home on April 4, 2012 in Marfa. Born in Dallas, Tigie was the youngest daughter of Sam Lancaster and Alice Owens Lancaster. Her independent nature was evident early on. When just a baby, a caregiver dubbed her “a little tiger” and she was known as “Tigie” for the rest of her life. She attended the Hockaday School in Dallas, then boarded a train for Bennington College, accompanied by a standard poodle and a set of polo mallets.
After college, Tigie lived for a time in New York City and held various jobs, including a stint on the backside of Belmont Park. Her intuitive nature lent itself to understanding both children and horses, and she taught scores of young people to ride over the years. She kept innumerable animals throughout her life: horses, donkeys, goats, dogs, sheep and cats.
Tigie completed a Master’s of social work degree from Texas Woman’s University. Deeply compassionate about animals, she opened a psychotherapy practice in Dallas that focused on pet bereavement. The AIDS epidemic began not long after, and her practice evolved to include men and their partners who grappled with that terrible disease. She lived on a farm near Waco before retiring from counseling.
Always a lover of beauty, in 1998 she moved to Marfa for its landscape, but was soon captivated by the community’s ranchers, dreamers, artists and loners. She did not initially expect to forge many friendships here, but her social life and her commitment to Marfa bloomed. She held barn dance fundraisers for various projects, she volunteered, she acted in plays and she was a familiar sight, riding around town in a golfcart, truck or on a mule.
Tigie was a peerless contrarian. She held strong convictions about everything from politics to the proper way to dry dishes, and she freely and frequently espoused those opinions. She loved all equines, most dogs and a few children.
Despite health matters that left her short of breath and in pain, she led a distinctive life of dogged, inspiring independence. She was brave, she was tough and she was gentle. Her loss is profoundly felt by friends and family.
Tigie’s family was long associated with the Texas and Pacific Railway, of which her grandfather, John L. Lancaster, was president. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Alice. She is survived by her brother, Sam Lancaster, of Oklahoma City, and his children and grandchildren; her cousins of the John Lancaster family; her cousins from the Tom and Cecile Pace family; lifelong friends Alice “Wissy” Olsen and her family, of Dallas, and Ann Norman, of New York; and dozens of cherished friends in Marfa.
Tigie was buried Saturday, April 7 in the pasture of the land she so fiercely loved, facing the Davis Mountains. As per her wishes, a barn dance that celebrates her life and her friendships will be held in the near future. Plans for that event will be announced soon.
Story filed under: Obituaries