Portraits of Moab (1988-1993) …by Jim Stiles

Portraits of Moab (1988-1993)


In the late 80s and early 90s, I was taking a lot of pictures of Moab’s ‘survivors.’ the ones who decided to tough out the hard times and make a new life. Here is Part 1 of my collection of Great Moab Faces…JS











Actors, playwrights, directors, alternative energy enthusiasts—they both remain Moab activists in 2011.

Took over Milt’s Stop n’ Eat in 1979 and put almost as many years behind the  counter as Milt Galbraith did…he was also the Zephyr’s first conservative commentator…

Has devoted her life to the education of Grand County children.  She is currently the superintendent of Grand County Schools.

JIMMIE WALKER: Lifelong resident of Moab. Miner, county commissioner.  Grand County promoter. Jimmie represented the last of the Old Guard when he supported a toxic waste incinerator in 1988.

DAVE COZZENS: Another Moab Lifer. Building contractor. Outspoken activist for conservative points of view.

TOM ARNOLD:  Volkswagon mechanic/philosopher, Ed Abbey’s pilot, curator of Tom Tom’s Foreign Car Museum.   Tom was a familiar face in Moab for almost 40 years.     He always reminded me of the line from McMurtrey in Lonesome Dove—”cheerful in all weathers.” Tom was unflappable. He died in 2007.

LIN OTTINGER: Longtime explorer of the canyon country. In 1990 he was still using ancient VW micro-buses to explore the White Rim. He clashed often with the Park Service as rules and regs go tighter over the years. He is also the only known Moab tourguide to have a dinosaur named after him.

DAVID KNUTSON:  Former Grand County Commissioner and advocate for a “Book Cliffs Highway” in the early 1990s,  David and The Zephyr disagreed on almost everything; yet we enjoyed an open and honest friendship…I miss that. Hope Dave is doing well these days…

ANDREA STOUGHTON: Legendary rock climber and outdoors enthusiast, she rode her bike everywhere before it was fashionable. However, for all her incredible upper body strength, this reporter was able to beat her arm-wrestling in a well-publicized event at Dave’s Corner Market, 2 out of 3 times.  I am still available for a re-match…

MIKE MAROONEY: The one & only. Owner of the Dos Amigos in the mid-90s. Mad Man. Moab could use a Marooney these days.

HOLLY DINSMORE:  Longtime Moabite, spent years managing Mike Marooney. Now a familiar face at WabiSabi.

MONTY RISENHOOVER: The Zephyr’s favorite real cowboy. He lives in Western Colorado these days.

JOE KINGSLEY:  Realtor and Democratic  Party leader in the late 80s. Joe has been a resident of Castle Valley for 40 years. Someday he’s going to write a story for the Zephyr on his memories of the Valley when nobody had heard of it.

JIM SARTEN: River runner, small businessman and enthusiastic supporter of Moab and The Zephyr (!!). He always had a kind word for everybody. I loved bumping into Jim at the Post Office. He died last year.

Dave came to Moab from Seattle almost 40 years ago. and is Moab’s most familiar face. Owner of Dave’s Corner Market since the mid-80s and Moab’s Mayor since 2001.  Chelsea is married and back in Moab.

CARL RAPPE (Uncle Meat): Started the Main Street Broiler in the late 80s. Hardly anyone remembers that Carl was the force behind the creation of KZMU radio. Carl is still in Moab but grumbles about it a lot.

VENICE DENNY:  A familiar face in Moab for decades, he owned a parcel of land on 4th East where the Mill Creek Pueblos now stand. Venice  offered the then-pristine property to the city, at a rock bottom price, so it could be preserved as a park, but the city showed no interest.   It could have been a beautiful addition to the Mill Creek Parkway.

BEGO GERHARDT (center), world class rock climber, and HEATHER BROWNELL (future veterinarian). We’re unable to identify the woman on the left.


Lolly and Linda started “Back to the Soda Fountain” in the old Family Drug Store building on Main St. Best sandwiches in Moab in 1989. Linda died in 2006. Lolly is still there.

ROBERT FULGHUM: author of the best seller “Kindergarten” book, Fulghm did NOT like having his picture taken when he was getting a haircut.

LOIS & IZZY NELSON:  Longtime owners of Nelson Refrigeration. Still living in Moab.  I am still trying to get Izzy to embrace the world wide web.

ALICE DROGIN AND DAUGHTER: Alice worked for the NPS as a seasonal interpreter at Arches in the 1980s. Last month she was elected a Castle Valley councilperson.

SCOTT GROENE & JANE S JONES: Two of the Zephyr’s favorite early eclectic writers:  Hardcore Green Groene and Libertarian Jane.  Groene is now ED of SUWA amd we have no idea where Jane is these days. If you know her whereabouts, tell her to call home…

ED SNYDER: Came to Moab in the early 90s from Telluride and opened Eddie McStiff’s. Once given a ration of shit by this editor for being an ‘outsider,’ he’s now one of Moab’s oldest surviving businesses.

Owners of Moab Mercantile in the late 80s. Chuck runs the downtown visitor center these days. Cooney is Moab’s artist-in-residence.

CHRISTY WILLIAMS DUNTON: The Voice of Moab since the late 70s. Poet, philosopher, defender of Free Speech. Now program manager at KZMU.

KEN DAVEY (THE DEAN of the MOAB PRESS CORPS) at his early 90s wedding to Julie Fox, seen here with his dashing Best Man.

To read the PDF version of this article, click HERE and HERE.


Don’t forget our loyal Backbone members!


13 comments for “Portraits of Moab (1988-1993) …by Jim Stiles

  1. Silas Rappe
    December 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Absolutely fantastic!!! Fun to think about Moab back in the day… at least from the perspective of one of Uncle Meat’s rugrats;)

  2. Heather Brownell
    December 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Jim-

    Great pictures of moabites, although I have no idea who’s in the picture with Bego and myself at Rim. I’ m no longer future veterinarian but instead seasoned veterinarian!!

    P.S.- got any ice cream?? 🙂

    Heather Brownell

  3. Warren Musselman
    January 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Given that I remember some of these folks going back to my first introduction to the Colorado Plateau in 1978, I have to say it is nice to see them so honored. Lin Ottinger gave me my first verbal introduction to Canyonlands geology in 1979 and also sold me a couple rocks and a couple books. I’d mention several other people if I could only remember their names, but one is a gal who owns a canoe outfitting and shuttle service on the Green and waitresses during the Winter – was VERY impressed by her. Stiles, you’ve been blowing my mind for years and deserve to be in these pictures. The Zephyr has been a unique entity and a very valued one in my life since at least ’89. Keep it up – just wish I could still get a print copy of every issue.

  4. michelle
    December 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Hoping to see Nik Hougen and Uncle Bebop in your next set of photos!

  5. Lo Ren
    March 14, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Just curious of how many were actually born in Moab?

  6. Lo Ren
    March 14, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Just wondering how many were actually born in Moab?

  7. Laura Blevins (formerly Roy)
    March 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    As the daughter of long time Moabites, this was like a walk down childhood memories. Thanks for being such dillagent at documenting these valiant souls!

  8. Laura Blevins (formerly Roy)
    March 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    As the daughter of long time Moabites, this was like a walk down childhood memories. Thanks for being so dillagent at documenting these valiant souls!

  9. Lisa Ceniceros
    September 26, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    You’ve got a lot of old faces here, but you missed a few. What about my grandfather, Hardwater Knight? He and my maternal great-grandfather, Bud Walker, built many of the crazy mining roads in our area, that no one else would even consider, that tourists now flock to. Schafer Trail, Mineral Bottom, White Rim… Many people remember Hardwater running around with a sock on his head with his dog by his side, sometimes riding his bike with Snoopy trotting along side, sometimes putting around in his old blue Ford with the cab’s roof punched in so Snoopy could ride along on top, dancing the night away at the Elks…

    My Uncle Bill Groff along with his brother, Robin, and their father, John, who brought mountain biking to Moab via Rim Cyclery.

    My grandma Judy, who everyone in town still knows through the Assessor’s office, though she is now retired.

    There are several iconic faces in our diverse city. You’ve done a good job capturing several of them.

  10. October 7, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Wow! What a blast! Triggers a slew of others that I grew up from Moab Community Theatre; Randy Evans! Mike aand Donna do ya Wanna! Stoke and Rick Fullham and Schroder and Teri Anne…the heart beat goes on with Too Tall Tom Simmons, Tory and Mitch, Eleanore, Bill, Chloe and Serah Hedden, Bill and Annie Benge, Candice Butterworth, Bob and Diane Walker, the late great Katherine Huntress!
    I remember and miss: The Knowels family hardware store! The Westerner grill! Yellow Front! Food Town! The world’s most humongous cottonwood tree on first south! Everythang cum, everythang go! Don’t take nothin’ fur granted!
    I love y’all! kaki

  11. Jane S Jones
    November 7, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Hey there Jim: This is Jane calling home! What a shot from the past this has been & thanks to a friend still in Moab who gave me this link. Since my husband Mike died in 2004, & my son Alexander & I moved to Denver, my life has been a totally different saga. I’ve abandoned WALU for Barack Obama, the finest President this country has ever had! Yeah! Let’s have a Civil War to sort this all out! 🙂

    Love, Jane Jones

  12. Bob Stevens
    September 7, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Thanks for this Jim. I have great memories of putting in out at Potash, with John Williams, John & Susette Weisheit through the 80’s and 90’s. Bought my 2nd MTN bike (Bridgestone) from Rim Cyclery in ’89. Been coming to Moab to “support the tourist economy” since ’78.

  13. William (Buster ) Janes
    December 31, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    I am a 3 rd cousin of Jim Sarten, when Jim’s father had the Bliss ranch in castle Valley mid 50 ies my dad ran the ranch for Archie(Jim’s father) we ran cattle in the foot hills of the La. Salles along with George White and another ranch! We had big round ups in the fall, Georges wife ran t
    He chuck wagon pickup for all the cowboys I was 11 yrs old then

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