On June 9, the Texas lodging industry lost Ron Sanders, an inspirational leader for hoteliers and the tourism industry.  

Rondell “Ron” Sanders, CHA, served on THLA’s board of directors for 20 years as an advocate for the hotel industry, hospitality education, and promoting the Big Bend region as a major tourism destination.

Ron was born in Indiana on July 8, 1944, and grew up working in the tourism business in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.

In 1963, Ron moved West to Big Bend National Park and began working for National Park Concessions as a housekeeper at the Chisos Mountains Lodge.  

Three years later, at the age of 21, Ron became general manager of the Chisos Mountain Lodge. As National Park Concessions became Forever Resorts, Ron stayed on with the company, eventually becoming a director of special projects, the position he held when he passed away.  

Ron became a director on THLA’s board in 1998, serving as the regional hotelier representing Far West Texas and director of THLA’s Legal Defense Fund.  

THLA board members will remember Ron for his dedication to promoting travel and tourism in the Big Bend region, as well as his passion for hospitality in education.

Ron’s vision helped turn the Big Bend region from an out-of-the-way natural area to one of the most well-known travel destinations in Texas. Visit Big Bend, the Brewster County Tourism Council, and the Texas Mountain Trails are all benefactors of Ron’s vision.

THLA is sincerely grateful to Ron’s service to our organization and our industry, and he will be greatly missed.  Ron is survived by his wife DJ, children, and grandchildren.


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