Deane, indeed welcome to the forum, and thank you for your comments regarding Ansel.
I knew Ansel for thirty years, and your opening paragraph is an excellent summation of the man; "an open, ordinary person who loved photography, and a communicator who wanted to share what he knew". I could not agree more with your assessment of Ansel.
However, I do find the comments in your last paragraph a bit distressing, the fact that two supposed teachers of photography led you to doubt your own skills and vision.
Welcome back to your photographic pursuits!