Published: March 7th 2009February 20th 2012
We have just learned of the passing of Dr Lloyd Tinkle. The cruising community has lost its brightest star and we have lost our good friend and role model. We had been in touch with Lloyd's caregiver and were able to talk briefly with Lloyd last Friday. He passed away on Saturday, two days prior to his 102 birthday. He always said that he didn't like celebrating his birthday, so maybe this was his way of getting out of another party. Actually two of the best parties on the Voyager were Tink's 99th and 100th birthday bashes. Those were nights that will live in cruise lore as a celebration of a life well lived by a remarkable man.
We have known Lloyd since 2001 and shared ten world cruises with this intrepid traveler. We visited him almost every year at his home (some would call it a travel museum) in Sioux City, Iowa. Dr Tinkle loved to buy beautiful mementoes during his travels and his home was filled to the brim with oriental rugs, jade and ivory figurines, glassware and china from around the world and exotic hats. Hats became his signature wardrobe accessory which he wore with such style.
But it wasn't his clothes or souvenirs which made this man, it was his spirit. He was truly one of the most optimistic and cheerful persons in the world. We have so many memories of our friend whether it be buying a sheik's crown in Aqaba, tennis shoes in Penang, a jade ring in Hong Kong, sharing a plate of sweet and sour chicken in Oman, a Singapore Sling at Raffles, or lunch in Sioux City--he was always a joy to be with.
Below is an interview that Kevin did with Lloyd in 2009 while cruising around Australia. We would like to republish it in Lloyd's honor. There will never be another Lloyd Tinkle and all of us who knew him can count ourselves as fortunate to have shared the world with this kind, generous, sweet, intelligent man. FEBRUARY 20, 2009
Easily the most recognizable passenger on the Regent Seven Seas Voyager is a diminutive gentleman with a David Niven moustache---Lloyd Tinkle from Sioux City, Iowa. On any given night Lloyd will be decked out in sartorial splendor ranging from Arabian sheik (he has a harem with hundreds of beautiful women), to Chinese emperor, or even African
WORLD CRUISE HOSTESS
TRAVERSE CITY, MI
warlord in a flamboyant red Zulu hat. His outfits befit a man who cruises around the world every year in high style.
Susan and I visited “Tink” in Sioux City last summer. When we pulled up to his house he was sitting on the front porch, whereupon he quickly jumped up to greet us and escort us to his upright piano where he played “Tiger Rag.” He plays the piano on Voyager bright and early every morning. He then gave us a cook’s tour of his home, which resembles a museum with all of his worldly acquisitions. Every room holds hats, robes, artwork, and other memorabilia that Tink and his late wife Lorain collected in their years of travel throughout the world.
Tink stays busy when he’s in Iowa. He manages about 600 acres of corn and soy beans that he leases out to tenant farmers. After the fall harvest he heads down to St. Petersburg, Florida until he embarks on the world cruise. He was driving his Cadillac up until last year, but now he gets around town on a pink scooter.
We recently celebrated Lloyd’s 99th birthday on the Voyager with a reception in the Horizon
Lounge and dinner in Signatures Restaurant hosted by Cruise Director Jamie and his wife Dana. Poems were read, songs were sung, and Tink laughed all night long. In honor of Tink many guests dressed in costumes representing countries we visit on the world cruise. It was truly a memorable occasion for all of Dr Tinkle’s old and new friends---passengers and crew alike.
I sat down with Dr Tinkle in his suite which is now festooned with the balloons and photos from his Big Party Nite and asked him to reminisce on his remarkable life.
Kevin: Well Lloyd, when and where were you born?
Lloyd: February 20, 1910 in Andrew, Iowa. Population 300.
K: So I guess that makes you….99?
L: You’re very bright, Kevin. But like Capt. Dag said in his morning poem:
“You should measure your age by the number of friends, not by years.”
K: Tell me a bit about your family.
L: I had three sisters, two older and one younger. I was the only boy. My father was an administrator in the public school system I attended---elementary and high school. I played piano in the school band and was the catcher on
our baseball team. I also acted in some dramatic plays.
K: Did your parents live as long as you?
L: My Mother lived to be 103, my Father 80. My sisters passed away in their 80s. Not too long ago I cruised with Lillian Regenberg. She’s 105 now and lives in a retirement home.
K: What was your education and career like?
L: I attended Morningside College in Sioux City. My BA degree in history is from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa. My law degree is from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. My wife Lorain was born in the house I now live in. We were married there, and although that’s where she hoped to die, she eventually passed away in the Mayo Clinic. During my teaching career I taught at every level from kindergarten through college. I’m very proud of that. Lorain and I were married 50 years, and we both taught law at Joliet State Junior College in Joliet, Illinois. We never had children, so every summer vacation we were free to travel all over Europe, Asia, South America and the USA. Lorain loved to travel as much as me.
You mentioned Morningside College. My father-in-law, Bob Atkins, from Sioux Falls went there on a football scholarship back in the 30’s. He was a fast halfback they called “Rapid Robert.” You may have seen him play.
L: Oh, I bet I did!
K: What are some of your favorite cities?
L: Shanghai and Beijing---the Great Wall. Buenos Aires. Oh, and Paris! I love Paris for the music, the food, the people. In the USA it would be Washington, DC.
K: What’s your favorite city on the world cruise?
K: Favorite ship?
L: Lorain and I loved the Royal Viking Sun. But now it’s the Voyager.
K: Favorite Captain?
K: When did you first visit Paris?
L: During World War II. I was in the headquarters of an ordinance division of the US Army. I also served in Plymouth, England and Bremen, Germany. I played the organ for Army church services. I was in Paris for the liberation. We had a grand parade and lots of fun! I was very, very proud.
K: What keeps you busy today?
L: On the Voyager I play duplicate bridge. Every morning I read and
KATHARINA & JOHN
ATLANTA, GA & HONOLULU, HI
memorize from the Masonic Code Book for an hour. It’s a valuable aid to my memory. And I play the piano.
K: What do you like most about cruising?
L: My circle of friends. Gerda has a nice quiet table with good company and I really enjoy our conversations. I read many newspapers and magazines---I’m really well read. I’ve seen a lot of changes in my life. Many I don’t approve of, though.
K: Who’s your favorite historical person?
L: George Washington.
K: Who’s your favorite today?
L: Senator John McCain.
K: What’s your favorite song?
L: “Sioux City Sue.”
K: I’ll tell Susan that! Who’s your favorite actor?
L: Paul Newman.
L: Barbra Streisand.
L: Duke Ellington.
L: Melanie and Stephanie (singers on the Voyager.)
K: Well Tink, you covered a lot of territory in this interview. In closing, could you tell me your philosophy of life?
L: The Golden Rule. I live by that---it’s my motto for living.
K: And what’s the secret to your long life?
L: Eating properly and exercise… and a close relationship with my guardian angel.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
L: Yes. There’s a little poem that appeared in the Voyager’s daily “Passages” that I like. I have it here in my pocket:
“I find that with the passing years
My pace is a little slowed.
I may not go as far, or fast,
But I see more along the road.”
There are more photos below