On December 11, Durangoan Bill Tyson rode to meet a morning group bike ride in San Diego when he was hit and killed by a car. Cycling was fundamental to Bill’s identity; many will remember him from countless rides – from the early days of Durango Wheel Club through this year. While the incident appears to be an accident, and Bill died doing what he loved, it does nothing to shake the tragedy of what happened: He will be missed deeply.
Bill moved to Durango twice but was always a true Durangoan in his heart and mind. In 1980, he came from Seattle, in search of blue skies and better powder. Here, he started his family. The second move was in 2013 from Boulder, the first step toward retirement and a return to the lifestyle which was truly his own. He loved this community – the people and the setting, morning breakfasts at Carver’s and rides up the Valley, friends on the tennis court and on Main Street – he was never more at home or at peace than he was in this town.
Bill spent all but six of his 63 years in the West, with his youth in California’s Bay area, college in San Luis Obispo, then working in Seattle where he became a CPA. It was in Seattle, he met Susan Hering Within a year, the two would move to Durango together. Like most here in the 80s, he worked multiple jobs – as a ski instructor at Purgatory, a bartender at locally historic places like the Pelican, the Yacht Club, and Hoop’s Hickory House. He also started his own CPA firm and became interested in computerized systems, building his first “laptop” computer, about the size and weight of a cinder block but still sufficiently small to lug to his clients. He and Susan were married here and had two daughters born, one of whom survives him, Mady. When she was born, Bill decided it was time to get more serious about his career, and he and Susan and the baby moved to Madison, WI where Bill became an expert on computerized accounting systems, the basis for the successful business he ran for the next three decades.
In 1992, the family, now including a son, Benjamin, moved back to Colorado, the sedentary lifestyle and flat terrain of the Midwest not well suiting Bill’s athletic inclinations. His business prospered, and he resumed the bicycling and skiing he loved. Now, he was able to share these passions and prowess with his children – teaching them to draw joy from bluebird powder and open road rides just as he did.
Once the children were grown, the lifestyle and the people of Durango would draw Bill back across the Divide. Mostly retired, he added tennis matches, cross-fit, and new involvements in the civic and business community to Tuesday Night Group Rides and exuberant fresh powder days. Old friends made sure he became a part of everything. New friends enlarged his joy and his deepened his dedication to the community. John Mahoney introduced Bill to the Chamber of Commerce; rumor has it someone even got Bill to an occasional art show. It soon seemed as though Bill spent his whole life here.
Ask anyone who knows him what they will remember about Bill, and what you’ll hear is how completely Bill relished life. He loved physical activity and wasn’t afraid to give any endeavor his all. He didn’t hesitate to tempt fate or falter from fear or misgivings. He was game to enjoy every moment life granted him. He pursued life according to his desires, and live it the way he truly and most authentically wanted.
He should have had more moments, though, and he will be deeply missed by his family, especially Mady and Ben, his mother and four siblings and three siblings-in-ex-law, his son-in-law Haytham Amin, one-time wife Susan, and all his many cherished friends right here in Durango with whom he shared so much time, love, and laughter. You know who you are; there are far too many to name.
On the evening of January 4, the family will be hosting a celebration of Bill’s life to which all his family and friends are invited. Memorial contributions may be made to the Peter Carver Memorial Forest ? Trails 2000, P.O. Box 3868, Durango CO 81302. Meanwhile, please: Watch out for bicyclists on the roads, always. And teach your children to drive attentively.
William “Bill” Tyson Published in The Durango Herald on Dec. 16, 2019