Born in Powers Lake, North Dakota, Ron Tabbert took a long journey before eventually calling Golden home.
“I grew up on a farm and did all that great stuff that most people don’t think of. I milked cows and we did not have a telephone or television for many years. I did not have an indoor bathroom until I went to college in 1963,” said Tabbert.
After completing seminary college, Tabbert served parishes in Wisconsin and Tennessee for 17 years before moving to Grand Cache, Alberta, in 1987.
“I got to be in a foreign country and learn a different cultured angle,” he said. “I served there for four years, and was then offered a chance to go teaching overseas. As things worked out, I taught English in Estonia for their spring semester in 1992, just after they declared independence from the Soviet Union, so I got into some of the political curiosity there.”
Tabbert said that growing up with few of the extras on a farm was a great preparation for his time in Estonia.
“We didn’t always have a lot of what people take for granted these days. For five months, I had no fresh vegetables and rode in only four cars. But there was a lot of humanitarian aid that came from Sweden, which was kind of a sister country,” he said.
After returning to Canada, Tabbert returned to Alberta, before coming to Golden in August of 1992.
“I lost my wanderlust (a strong desire to travel) when I moved to Golden. My grandparents lived in Libby, Montana. Grandma and I became buddies and I think that’s where I got my love for the mountains. I always said no matter where I was that I wanted to move to the mountains,” he said. “When I came down on the train through Kicking Horse Pass, I thought that this was the place I wanted to be.”
Tabbert has always enjoyed trains from when he was in his youth.
“I have been a train fan most of my life. I have National Geographic advertisements from when I was in high school of Canadian Pacific trains and the Kicking Horse Pass,” he said.
Living in Golden, Tabbert takes time in his retirement to enjoy things both in town and in the area.
“I love having my own yard and growing things in the garden. The schools have allowed me to introduce the kids to stamps through lessons and a club. I can afford to go to the city for a week when I want to go out for a stamp auction, opera or musical.”
Collecting stamps has been a passion for Tabbert who goes to events and sets up a table to sell some of what he owns.
While in Golden, Tabbert remains involved at Trinity Lutheran Church, and also spends time volunteering with the local Lions Club where he describes himself as a tail twister.
“A tail twister is supposed to make meetings a fun experience,” he said.
Along with his hobbies and volunteering, Tabbert is also an avid traveller.
“I was in Australia at Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the sun was coming up. I thought that this place was just as much my home as anywhere else. I had this realization that their country is their country, but in a way it is all our country. The world is my oyster and God has been good.”
This year Tabbert has plans to spend a month in Spain and six weeks in Estonia and Germany.
“Lord willing I will keep going. I live a charmed life and am very fortunate.”
Even though he travels as much as he can, Tabbert said that Golden is still the place he calls home. He served Trinity Lutheran Church as pastor for 17 years, and said. “It is a great family and has been a great blessing, and it will be a great place to retire and have that for a support groups.”
He also added that the local arts community is a great reason for people to come and live in the town.
“One of the reasons to stay in Golden is, for the size of the community we have, it has an incredibly rich culture. The opera at the theatre, the art gallery and their exhibits, local talent and events, and the functions brought in to the Civic Centre. I am not a political person but some people have done marvellous jobs in this town, such as fixing up the Civic Centre and more. That makes it a very inviting place to stay,” he said. “I would lose a lot of that if I went and moved to the city.””