Tigie. Marfa, Texas. Photo by Allison V. Smith.
There are listeners and then there are listeners. Tigie Lancaster of Marfa, who died today, was a constant listener and critic of Marfa Public Radio, and she will be greatly missed.
Tigie loved it when 93.5 FM broadcast jazz, old-timey, opera, old country, and classical music, because she claimed “that’s what my donkeys like to hear.” She didn’t care for the music she classified as “hippety-hoppety,” whether it was rock, pop, or R&B.
Still, she understood the station’s slogan of “Radio For A Wide Range” – so much so, that when she learned that “marching band music” was a type of music that hadn’t been played, she hosted an hour of it on-the-air. “German horse marches,” she called it, and what a host she was!
Tigie listened to Marfa Public Radio late into the night, based on the time-stamps of the messages left on the answering machine. She would come into the station on a semi-regular basis. Sometimes she’d be hot with disagreement over a story she heard; other times, she came in to praise local interviews on Talk At Ten. She delivered her critiques in a raspy voice and with a twinkle in her eye. Recently, she wanted to host a fundraiser for the station at her barn, but only if particular beverages were served.
Last year, she was the community winner of the Diva Gram, the KRTS Valentine’s Day tribute in which a professional opera singer would deliver a surprise serenade to any person of your choice. You should have seen the opera singer’s jaw drop when Tigie said that the operatic love songs would be delivered in her field to her beloved donkeys. Scroll to 4:11 on this video.
“She was the world’s sweetest curmudgeon,” said station manager Tom Michael.
The radio staff and volunteers will miss the strong and independent woman who kept our feet to the fire. Some shows were a “train wreck,” while on other days, Tigie would tell us, “you hit it out of the park.” And because she was such a close and constant listener, her opinion mattered.
Tonight, along with the community of Marfa, we mourn her loss.
UPDATE: On Thursday April 5, KRTS broadcasts a poem called “Tigie,” written by fellow Marfa resident, Ken Whitley, during the 10am hour. See podcast link above.
Also, photographer Allison V. Smith shares some of her favorite portraits of Tigie.
Tigie was buried in Marfa this morning (April 7) at a beautiful and simple ceremony before members of the community.