Mervin Ringlero
Mervin Ringlero Was a native of Arizona, born in Lehi bordering Mesa on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa reservation on August 6, 1917. He was the first-born son of Luis Pasmado Ringlero, Sr. (Cahuilla) and Juana Valenzuela (Pima/Tohono O'odam). He grew up in Phoenix and southern California on the Soboba Mission Indian Reservation near San Jacinto. He attended Monroe School, Phoenix Indian School, and Sherman Indian School near Riverside. He received a football scholarship to Santa Clara University but decided to join his father from who he learned the art of saddlemaking. He apprenticed at the Porter Saddle Company, Phoenix, from 1937 until the start of the war. Ringlero enlisted in 1940, and served in the Canadian-US "Devil's Brigade," 1st Special Services Force, an elite combat unit. He fought in Italy, Africa, France, and part of the D-Day invasion forces at Utah Beach, Normandy, France. Ringlero aided in the liberation of two concentration camps, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen, Germany. He served in the Army's mounted cavalry, a historical presence when horses were still vital to the armed service before artillery mechanization. Ringlero was a member of the 7th U.S. Cavalry, the "Garry Owen" company made famous at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. His military commendations include: Bronze Star, American Defense Service Medal, European-African Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and Combat Infantryman badge and 1st award. Ringlero returned to saddlemaking after the war. With his family, he moved to Van Nuys, California in 1952, working for the San Fernando Valley Saddlery, Panorama City. His reputation for unique, one of a kind, hand-tooled, custom saddles quickly spread to the motion picture industry. Ringlero's exquisite leatherwork and superior craftsmanship translated in the production of saddle for notables in the entertainment and equine industries. Some of his clients included: Gary Cooper, Walt Disney, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Randy Travis, John Denver, Rex Allen, Richard Boone, Dale Robertson, Monty Montana, John Derek, Bruce Boxleitner, Clint Walker, Chuck Connors, Glenn Ford, horse trainer, Jimmy Williams, and Mr. Ed, the talking horse. Ringlero's artistry set him apart and distinguished the standard for saddlery that many examples are found in museum collections of the Autry Western Heritage Center, Los Angeles, Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma, Museum of the American Cowboy, Colorado Springs, and Rex Allen Museum, Benson, Arizona, and the estate of Walt Disney. In April 1992, Ringlero's saddles were exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Rose Dorothy Laws; and daughter, Aleta of Scottsdale, AZ; ten nieces and nephews, numerous grand and great grand nieces and nephews, friends and saddlemaking colleagues in the United States and Canada. A Funeral Service will be held Tuesday, November 10, 2009, at 11 a.m. at the Scottsdale Memorial Hall located at 9849 East Earll Drive. Meldrum Mortuary handled the arrangements.

Published by Santa Fe New Mexican on Nov. 6, 2009.
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39 Entries
Many years have passed but your spirit remains with me to guide. Loving you, dad.
Aleta
Daughter
November 2, 2020
I still think of Merv daily. I use the leather stamps that he gave me that his father made! They are truly my favorites. He was so generous with his knowledge and his warmth and visiting Merv and Rose was always a highlight of our trips to Arizona. So love and am honored by his memory.
Lisa Skyhorse
October 31, 2020
Miss you, dad.
Father's Day, 2011
Aleta
June 17, 2011
june 6 2011 im sadden by the news of mervin death he made many a saddle for my self and my clients he will be missed gidget bosak thompson
June 6, 2011
July 32, 2010 Dear Rose and Aleta, We were sad to hear of Mervin's passing as we read this post today. We were so blessed by Mervin in our lives with all his visits to our home. Mervin always shared great wisdom and history of his extraordinary life. He drove to Nina's celebration of life, in Alpine, Ca. and was compassionate and loving to our family. Mervin wrote our daughter, Adriana, whilst she finished University studies and supported and encouraged her, as Nina was healing from the wounds of breast cancer. His legacy lives on with those of us he shared his gift of bringing life to the works of leather. A true master artist....Rest In Peace our friend and when we see an Eagle in flight, we will know it is the spirit of Mervin that soars with the Great Spirit.
Much love and Peace,
Len and Nina Judd
Pine Valley, Ca.
Len Judd
July 31, 2010
april 12 2010 i googled aleta, today, i'm sad to learn of mervin's death i remember him to be a nice man and a loving father,havn't seen him in forty years. aleta, do you remember leaving a note in tne pocket of a chair your dad made for peter fonda? take care of youself. deborah bissett
deborah bissett
April 12, 2010
March 15, 2010

My condolences to Mervin's family. I knew Merv for a few years through my friend, Emile "Curley" Avery, a retired stuntman and horseman extraordinaire who helped me get back to riding after I had a serious riding accident. Merv would stop by Emile's place in Burbank to chat when he was in town. He made saddles for Emile and his customers. I have a very special saddle that Merv made for me, shortly after Emile passed away. The day Emile died, I went out on my horse to ride the Griffith Park trails that I had ridden so often with Emile. As I went up one canyon, a big redtail hawk followed me, screeching. When I told Merv, he explained that in his culture, hawks or owls often signified the spirits of the departed. When he made my saddle, he hand etched a redtail hawk into the leather on one side, in Emile's memory. Merv was one of those remarkable people who knew both great triumphs and deep sorrows in his life, who wore his humanity well, and who touched so many people. I am sorry to hear that he has passed on. I'm sure that you miss him every day.
Sharon Conrow Comden
March 15, 2010
Aleta,
At this late date, I extend sincerest condolences to you and your family. I only learned of Mervin's passing today. I will always remember riding with him on a golf cart at Steele Indian School Park during the Pueblo Grande Indian Market. That was when he was our first-ever Honored Artist. He told me of the old Phx Indian School facilities as we drove around. He asked me to stop at the Navajo Code Talkers tent as he wanted to visit briefly with veteran brothers. I am honored to have known Mervin and will cherish his memory - always.
Isaac Curley (Apache/Navajo)
January 3, 2010
Aleta and Rose,
I was so sad to hear of Mervin passing. I didn't know. He was a wonderful friend.
Leslie Garner
December 31, 2009
I was so sorry to hear of Mervin's passing. While I never met him, I do own and love one of his saddles. I have 16 saddles, and the one he made is my favorite BY FAR. I am not sure of the history of the saddle, as I bought it used, but it has fabulous silver work with inlaid turquoise (the cantle plate says "Baker" in turquoise). I collect vintage saddles, and I admire Mervin's work above any other saddle artist. He was a most talented man, and I'm sure he was a wonderful person, and I will miss him and his fantastic skills. Many condolences to his family and friends.
sandi Johnson
November 19, 2009
Dear Rose and Aleta,
I’m so sorry to hear of your loss! Mervin was an extraordinary man. The life experiences he had and shared are irreplaceable. Please know my prayers are with you and yours. It’s been too long. I have a photo of Mervin at the cabin in Tehachapi, he’s standing alongside us with the family all in the back of that old/old truck we kept at the cabin.. Love to you all!
Darlene Ketchum-Chambers
Darlene Chambers
November 16, 2009
Dearest Rose and Aleta,
I was so sorry to hear of Mervin's passing. I have found memories when he'd come to visit Robert and me. And when Mervin and Rose came to see me perform in Arizona. You've been such wonderful people and an inspiration for your great nephew, my son, Robert.
May God help you with Mervin's loss through the wonderful memories you must hold dear. Love, Light & Blessings, Mary Mora Cordova
Mary Mora Cordova
November 10, 2009
Dearest Rose and Aleta,
I was so sorry to hear of Mervyn's passing. I have found memories when he'd come to visit Robert and me. And when Mervyn and Rose came to see me perform in Arizona. You've been such wonderful people and an inspiration for your great nephew, my son, Robert.
May God help you with Mervyn's loss through the wonderful memories you must hold dear. Love, Light & Blessings, Mary Mora Cordova
Mary Mora Cordova
November 10, 2009
Dear Rose and Aleta: I am so sorry to hear about Mervin. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Carrie Lewis
November 10, 2009
We always enjoyed working with Merv. He was a pleasure to have around and his pride in workmanship will forever be appreciated. We will always remember his great smile, warm heart and big hugs.
-Silver King
Davalos Family
November 10, 2009
I will always remember uncle mervin and anti rose..I remember when i helped uncle mervin put on his shoes it was very fun...
anyssa holguin
November 9, 2009
Aleta & Mrs.Ringlero-My sincere thoughts & prayers are with you both at this this time of sadness.Your dad lived a full and interesting life which leaves you both with many cherished memories.It was a pleasure to know him. Rhonda ( SNRC )
November 9, 2009
In clearing up papers and opening old folders in dad's desk, I discovered an article from the Arizona Republic dated May 6, 1984. It's about the town of Wilcox complaining about the lack of tourist interest. Very prominently in the article is a photograph of the Rex Allen saddle which appears in the earlier photograph I posted of dad and Beetlebomb standing in front of the old San Fernando Saddlery. So the mystery is solved, the saddle is Rex Allen's and it is documented.
Aleta
November 9, 2009
November 9, 2009
November 9, 2009
November 9, 2009
November 9, 2009
Thank you dear Merv for being in my family's life and for the name you blessed me with. I will carry your memory with me always!
Ocea Skyhorse Mazenko
November 8, 2009
November 8, 2009
Upon learning of Mervin's passing I felt a great loss. During my apprenticeship in Phoenix and Scottsdale I studied his work and the work of his father Luis. Mervin's stories about the old saddle shops were entertaining and educational.
Richard Sherer
November 8, 2009
Dear Rose and Aleta,
Merv was a generous and loving mentor to us for over 20 years. I will cherish the tools he gave us, which we use every day. Our love and prayers go out to you.
Lisa and Loren Skyhorse
Durango, Co.
November 8, 2009
Hi Aleta, I do not know if you remember George and Sandy Steele, We had Wrangler Saddle Shop in Panorama City, your Dad worked with us and shared our shop from the mid 60's and into the 70's before he returned to Az. He was such a talent,He was a master, no one could touch his talent. I have many memories, My Condolances to you and Rose and your family.Sincerely. Sandy Steele
Sandy Steele
November 7, 2009
Hi Aleta, Do you remember George and Sandy Steel? Your dad used to work for us when we had Wrangler Saddle Shop in Panorama City, He also did some of his own orders at our shop fron the 60- 70's before he returned to Az.My Condolances go out to you and your family. Sandy Steele,
Sandy Steele
November 7, 2009
I did not have the privilege of meeting Mr. Ringlero, but I was drawn to express my condolences. What an intelligent strong person with such a wonderful talent. His loss will be felt in many ways on this earth. My sympathies to his family.
Eva Munguia
November 7, 2009
I miss you already, Mervyn. I will always treasure working with you and learning saddlemaking from you. I know I'll see you again. Till then, old friend, ride tall.
Ray Pohja
November 6, 2009
Mervin Ringlero was a very special man - and I am honored to have known him through the love of his family, especially my 'sister,' Aleta. I return the love, and send only this in my thoughts at this sad time of remembrance.
Tressa Berman
November 6, 2009
Our thoughts and prayers are with you. He was one of the true greats, in every way possible, and will live on in our hearts forever.
Les & Lil Reed
November 6, 2009
My father was a great artist. His standards were the highest, his word his bond. There are not many left with his ethics. He was unique, beautiful, and exasperating. I love you, daddy.
Aleta
November 6, 2009
I thought friends might enjoy this photograph of my dad taken in front of the old San Fernando Saddlery in Panorama City, California. I think it's around 1955-60? The saddle is for ? The horse is "Beetlebomb". My dad's muscles are his own.
Aleta Ringlero
November 6, 2009
our thoughts & prayers are with the family..please share with me Valenzuela names. My family was in Californa early 1860's & were saddle makers as well....Cuen surname.
God Bless & Thank you.
cora cuen
November 6, 2009
Visitation on Monday, November 9, 2009, 6-10 p.m. at Memorial Hall, 9849 E. Earll Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85256 on the Salt River Pima-Indian Community. Flowers may be delivered to the Memorial Hall after on Monday.
November 6, 2009
Visitation on Monday, November 9, 2009, 6-10 p.m. at Memorial Hall, 9849 E. Earll Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85256 on the Salt River Pima Indian Community. Flowers may be delivered to the Memorial Hall on Monday.
Aleta Ringlero
November 6, 2009
i will always love and cherrish the memories of uncle mervyn, he was a very special man
Junie Justus
November 6, 2009
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Roz Mason
November 6, 2009
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