In Memoriam: Andrew Tilin

    In Memoriam: Andrew Tilin

    Editor and co-founder of The Masters Athlete was a kind and generous force of nature.

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    Check out that grin! Andrew was as happy testing an e-bike on a bike path as he was grinding out the Leadville 100 on a mountain bike.

    The world lost a great soul yesterday. I lost a dear friend. The Masters Athlete lost its editor and co-founder. Andrew Tilin was killed by a motorist in Austin, Texas, as he was changing a flat on his bike by the side of the road on Saturday, February 17. He was 52.

    Andrew Tilin was funny, smart, talented, and passionate about the things he loved. That included bicycling, running, hiking—really, anything that got him outdoors amid the beauty of the world. He was searingly honest and infectiously optimistic. He had a huge, open heart. He made anyone in his circle feel uplifted, and no situation ever existed where there wasn’t the possibility of a laugh.

    Andrew leaves behind two teenage children, Isaac (spitting image with hair!) and Leila; his partner, Shellie Oroshiba; and the mother of his children, Madeleine Tamayo Tilin.

    I had worked with Andrew since he was a fuzzy-cheeked editor at City Sports in San Francisco, fresh out of Cal in the late 1980s. We remained close through our journeys through life and journalism. When Andrew became the gear editor at Outside, he found me among a small stable of incumbent gear writers and tossed me assignments ranging from reviewing early fat-tire bikes to reviewing Fat Tire Ale. Starting in 1995, we worked together as the founding editors of the Outside Buyer’s Guide.

    Andrew Tilin and Bob Howells
    Friends forever.

    Twenty years later, we launched The Masters Athlete. Our goal was to share our passion for living full healthy lives, and to use the site as a conversation tool for aging jocks and anyone else who aspired to make the most of middle age and the years beyond. We lived 1,200 miles apart, but were as close as inseparable brothers. We Skyped twice weekly. Sure, a phone call would do, but we were pals—we wanted to see our faces. We brainstormed, critiqued, joked, laughed, and edited each other’s every word.

    The Masters Athlete was always an act of friendship first, a business second.

    Andrew was by far the superior athlete, but my every modest effort on a ride or a run or a hike earned me Strava kudos from Andrew. He was so genuinely supportive that I always aspired to be better—to go just a bit farther, to write better, to be more creative and imaginative, to be a better friend. He was kind beyond measure.

    If Isaac and Leila have inherited a fraction of their dad’s passion for living, his buoyant personality, his keen intelligence, his grounded wisdom, his perpetual smile, and his generous spirit, then they have the blessings of a lifetime.

    I’m honored to have known and loved Andrew. I can’t imagine a week without speaking to him, let alone a lifetime. But TMA will live on, Andrew, and so will you, in the hearts of all those who knew you. RIP, my dear, dear friend. I can’t believe I’m writing these words.

     

     

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    14 COMMENTS

    1. Beautifully said. Sad beyond measure that we move forward without Andrew along side us in this world. Knowing Andrew was to love him, and that was a gift.

    2. So sad to hear this news. I met Andrew (and you Bob) when I was at Patagonia in ‘96-98 doing product PR. I always enjoyed talking to Andrew and reading his work. So sorry for the loss of your good friend and a wonderful partner at The Masters Athlete, and especially for his family.

    3. Lovely words from a definitive friend. I grew up 5 blocks from Andrew, we went to High School and Cal together, and while we were one grade apart, I got to know him fairly well and would see him running from time to time, we’d stop and chat about biking and/or cars. I just remember that smile and how genuinely happy he always seemed to be. I was not super close to him, had not seen him in 30 years, but this loss for some reason is really hitting me. He was just such a nice, genuine soul, and losing one like this is hard to make sense of.

      I became a mountain biker because I got hit by a car once road riding, and I see close calls every day on my mountain top street. It seems like in America we don’t have shoulders, let alone bike lanes, let alone bike-dedicated trails, let alone drivers that have bikers on the radar. Two people from my small High School, one grade apart, have died road riding in the last 5 years, and I see close calls every day. It makes me want to continue to put the spotlight on this issue that, ironically, Andrew had brought up many years ago.

    4. I remember the discussions I had with Andrew when MA was in the idea incubator phase and I was elated at the concept, cheering him on at every opportunity, nudging him to get it going. When it launched, I was proud for its birth. Thank you for this loving and accurate tribute, as well as ensuring it endures.

    5. Andrew was a desk mate with me at our coworking office. We worked together for a couple of years and shared a lot of good times together. We would throw the baseball and talk about life. I’d try out my sermons on him (I’m an Anglican priest) and he’d call bullshit on me in the most loving and encouraging way. I grew as a writer with him. And I grew as a person with his friendship. I love him and will miss him.

    6. Thanks for the tribute, Bob. Andrew was both a mentor and friend to me. With our crazy schedules, we tried to meet at least once or twice a month. Andrew was positive, always eager to learn and overall just a great person!

    7. One last thing to note, in every single one of my meetings with Andrew he always mentioned/discussed this website, The Masters Athlete. He had great passion for this project.

    8. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. TMA was Andrew’s passion. We had so many conversations around it and I agreed with the need and the vision… 110%. We frequently brainstormed about the next steps. Age(less) was a product of our frequent discussions. TMA needs to move forward. You are a great friend and a talented writer! Thank you for being a such a wonderful friend and a partner in a shared passion. Five deep breaths and onward ….. that’s what Andrew (Grandy or Grandrew to me… and, yes, there is s story there) would tell all of us. Xoxo

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