Willie Ellen Tinnin (Sept. 7 1946-July 10, 2014) passed peacefully into eternal happiness after a valiant fight against cancer, with her sisters by her side. She is survived by her close friends, sisters, and partners, Nellie Ponikvar and Lillie Ponikvar; her cousins, Shirley and Steve Simmons, Jim Miller, Bill Miller, and Doraleen Morrison, and members of her extended family, most notably Arcelia Alarcon. Willie is preceded in death by her parents Lee and Wanga Tinnin, her adopted parents Tony and Lillie Ponikvar and Roy and Jean Adams, her paternal grandparents Charles and Willie Tinnin, her maternal grandparents Fred and Ellen Bryars, and her brother Fred Tinnin. Willie spent her childhood on the family ranch in Cornudas, Texas, where she could be found doing what cowgirls do-riding herd over cattle, nursing orphan baby antelope back to health, carrying around a baby skunk, or hunting quail. She left the ranch to attend high school in El Paso where she graduated from Loretto High School in 1965. She continued on to the University of Texas at El Paso and received her teaching certificate in 1970. Then, in 1999, she received her Master's Degree in education from Sul Ross University. She began her teaching career at Canutillo High School as a teacher and a successful cross country, volleyball, basketball and track coach, and eventually she became the athletic director of the district. After 21 years, she moved to EPISD and continued to teach and coach for 22 more years. In her 43 years in education, she touched many lives and became a mentor and role model to many students. When she wasn't teaching or coaching, Willie loved to be with her animals, especially her Yorkshire Terriers. She also loved to travel with family-especially to Disneyland--and spend the summer in the family home in Colorado where she spent countless hours fishing, four-wheeling, and hiking through the mountains. Even though Willie left the ranch at an early age, she never lost the country mindset. She believed in hard work, honesty, loyalty, and compassion-all traits that everyone she met admired. She loved everything country, including John Deere tractors, country music, horses, cattle, dogs, wildlife of all kinds, and the wide open spaces. But what will make those who knew her miss her most is her devotion and dedication to her family. The loss of her thoughtfulness and love will always leave an empty spot in the hearts of those who loved her. Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 17, 2014, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM with rosary at 6:00 PM at Martin Funeral Home West. Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, July 18 at 8:30 AM at St. Patrick's Cathedral followed by the interment at Memory Gardens of the Valley. A reception will follow at 625 Bluff Canyon Circle immediately after burial. Pallbearers will be Jose Alarcon, Fred Avi, Jaime Avila, Mike Dillard, Jimmy Olivas, Lazaro Porras, Don Rominski, and Danny Zadra. The family would like to extend special thanks for the support and compassion of Dr. Juan Herrada; the doctors and staff of the Southeastern Cancer Treatment Centers of America, especially Dr. George Daneker, Felicia Slaton, and Ladonna Miller; and the staff of Las Palmas's emergency and ICU units. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent in Willie's name to the Southeastern Assistance in Health Care, 600 Celebrate Life Parkway, Newnan, Georgia 30265. Services entrusted to Martin Funeral Home West, 128 N. Resler Dr., El Paso, Texas 79912. www.MartinFuneralHomeWest.com.

Funeral Home

Martin Funeral Home
128 North Resler Drive El Paso, TX 79912
(915) 584-1234

Published in El Paso Times from July 15 to July 23, 2014