Cover photo for Larry Preston Rattan's Obituary
1943 Larry 2023

Larry Preston Rattan

April 3, 1943 — August 14, 2023


If you never met Larry Rattan you are suffering the greatest loss. You have missed the opportunity to meet a character as great as any in the many history books of Western Colorado that Larry was so fond of reading.


Larry was born in Hugo, OK to John and Cindy Rattan and raised in Fort Worth, TX. He was known to be a happy if mischievous boy, qualities he held throughout his life. His love of animals led him to be an assistant to a veterinarian and a horse jockey while still in high school. A freak accident on the track ended his racing career and left him with a broken pelvis that sidelined his senior year.


After school Larry worked briefly at an auto plant and joined the Air Force Reserves where he trained as an airplane mechanic. Around that time, he met Linda Casper. They spent many nights dancing to live music at the Stagecoach Inn, and soon were married and starting a family. Their son Lanham was born in 1966 and the twins, Lisa and Lori, joined the family in 1968. Legend has it that at that time in Texas, mere possession of marijuana could lead to a life behind bars so Larry packed up his family and moved to Telluride in 1971. Larry worked in mining and construction and for a time he and Linda ran the world-famous Roma Bar. He learned to ski on The Plunge and Spiral Stairs, and once rode a horse into the Sheridan Bar prompting the sheriff to exclaim, “Rattan, get the hell off that horse!”  Many of the people Larry met in Telluride remained his friends for the rest of his life.


The next stop for the Rattans was Montrose where they opened and ran The Parlor, a wild-west counter-culture hippy saloon. In 1982 they moved to Ouray and purchased the historic Western Hotel.  They lived on the second floor while renovating the first floor. Upon completion, the family operated it as a hotel, bar and Mexican restaurant for five+ years.  You could find Larry behind the bar pouring drinks and dispensing tall tales to tourists and locals. He claimed the secrets to success were high profit margins on beans, rice, and Margaritas and never, ever reporting cash earnings.


Larry and Linda moved to Grand Junction around 1987. They were able to buy a few old houses downtown on the cheap and turn them into rentals. They eventually grew their rental business into a comfortable life with Linda managing the rentals and Larry taking care of maintenance. That is, at least, when he wasn’t on the Lincoln Park golf course in his cowboy boots (or flip flops) hustling up-valley golfers and making new friends among the locals.


In his later years Larry returned to horse racing with a collection of Appaloosas and the occasional thoroughbred. He quickly gave up racing as he found he preferred to irrigate pastures with a shovel in one hand and a beer in the other and watch the horses graze. 


So, they all retired together, Larry, Linda, and the horses to a farm north of Grand Junction to live in a house Larry built with considerable help from his golfing electrician buddy, Mike Harrington. When not in his fields Larry could be found sitting at the kitchen counter doing the daily crossword, rolling a joint, playing cribbage, watching his favorite daytime talk and game shows, and chatting with friends on the phone. Larry died peacefully in that same house on August 14, 2023. Larry was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Linda, his son Lanham (Laura), his daughters Lisa (Wayne) Smith, Lori (Ken) Strong, and his grandson Alexander.


Larry loved people, except for sheriffs and other authority figures, and he always had time to tell a story, even when the listener didn’t have time to hear it. The family asks that you honor his memory by taking a risk, befriending a stranger, telling a joke, and remembering to enjoy the beauty of life.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Larry Preston Rattan, please visit our flower store.


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