John Alexander Tarbet, born April 5, 1947, reluctantly released his body on May 11 at his beloved home on the Lower Blanco in the arms of his wife, Lily, and surrounded by those who loved him dearly.
Johnalex was diagnosed with stage four cancer November 2015 and worked very hard to live with this challenge, using the cannabis he grew, a healthy diet and an amazing positive attitude. He succeeded in extending his life by living with passion and fun for this past year and a half, traveling and playing music, attending his 50th high school reunion and catching up with friends and family. He never gave up hope and was grateful for every minute he had playing music and loving his family.
Johnalex was born in Los Angeles, Calif., and grew up in the hills of Tuhunga, Calif., later moving to Point Reyes, where he raised his son, played music professionally and painted houses. He was a man of many talents, known widely for his unique and beautiful style of music. His songwriting, accordion and sax playing brought joy and opened doors around the world. He was an artist, inventor, storyteller and hopeless romantic. Those who were fortunate to know Johnalex remember his open heart and unconditional love for all, including the animals.
He moved to Pagosa Springs in 2001 to take care of a childhood friend who was a paraplegic and there he met his true love, Lily. The love story was real, the wedding epic, a partnership that was full of laughter, creativity and a commitment that together they would make this world a happier place.
Johnalex was dedicated to helping humanity and, with his wife, spent many hours working to help young families in need. Recently, Johnalex enjoyed leading the music at the East Side Farmers Market here in Pagosa Springs, where he again touched many lives and made friends from across the country. He encouraged and mentored the young and also brought music to our elders at Pine Ridge.
This amazing gentleman was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Tarbet, and his brother, David Tarbet. He is survived by his wife, Lily Tarbet; son Loyal Tarbet and wife Diedre; along with stepdaughters Mariah Montoya and Holly Jordan and her husband, Charles. His loving sisters, July Tarbet and Angela Knowlton and husband Gary; and brother Thomas Francis.
Johnalex was a fun and doting grandpa known as Papa to Tessa Tarbet, Emanuel and Neveah Shelton, Charlese and Charlene Jordan. He loved his nieces, Susan Tarbet, Clare Knowlton and Lily Nichols. He is also greatly missed by his furry friends, Carlos and Rico, and four feline friends who are still looking for him.
Throughout the summer, there will be celebrations of Johnalex’s life here in Pagosa and California. There will also be a celebration in Mexico in the winter. Donations can be made to Hospice of Mercy here in Pagosa Springs in his name to provide massages for those suffering from a terminal condition.
He was very touched and grateful for all the love, prayers and support that overflowed toward he and his family. His favorite line from his favorite song: “The greatest thing is to love and be loved.” He certainly accomplished this and will be sending that love to us through his music that lives on.