Community mourns loss of Jerry Tanner

Friday, December 14, 2007

GREEN FOREST -- Jerry Tanner, a cornerstone of the community for many years, died Monday at the age of 63.

Tanner died after a long illness. Throughout his battle with cancer, the community rallied in support of a man who played such in important role in the evolution of the city.

Visitation was held Thursday evening, and a funeral service was scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church in Green Forest.

Janice Tanner, his wife of 44 years, said, "There are no words that can express the love that we have felt through the community. So many cards have been received, so many phone calls to check on Jerry, but the prayers that were said for Jerry and the family were what sustained us during this time."

Janice Tanner also said, "Hospice of the Hills in Harrison was a Godsend. The loving care he received there was wonderful." She said anyone wanting to make a donation in Jerry Tanner's memory could send it to the hospice at PO Box 1927, Harrison AR 72701.

Jerry Tanner is best known for opening Tanner Hardware in 1970, and building it into a regional presence.

Jerry Tanner was born in 1943 in Quitman, Ark., and his family moved to this area when his father came to work on Table Rock Dam. He graduated from Green Forest High School in 1961, and joined the navy. He was assigned to a base in California, but only spent a couple of weeks at sea.

When Janice Eldridge graduated in 1963, she and Jerry immediately married. When Jerry's military service ended, the couple returned to Green Forest with their first-born child, in 1965.

Tanner Hardware opened on the Green Forest Square in 1970, and the couple worked tirelessly to make it a success. They added warehouse space in the Industrial Park, and in January of 2001, the business moved to its present location on the east side of town.

The Tanners' commitment to the community has always gone well beyond their business. Jerry and Janice were jointly named as Outstanding Green Forest High School Alumni in 1997. Jerry was named the Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year in 2002, and he received the 2005 Community Leader award from Leadership Carroll County.

In an interview in October, Jerry Tanner said, "I've had a good life, and I feel really fortunate to have the opportunity to live and work here, and for my children to grow up here. I've been married to a good woman, a woman I love, for 44 years, and I can't think of anything that would have been better."

An obituary with more information appears elsewhere in this issue.

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