I was born on October 5, 1904 to Allen Newman Tanner and Mary Emily Barlow, at Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah. I was born in a two-story brick home, one of a pair of twin boys. My twin brother’s name is Herbert A. Tanner. I suppose the initial “E” in my name was for my mother’s middle name.
Dad went on an LDS mission to Australia when we were two years old, leaving mother with five children to care for. The sixth child was born while Dad was gone. Dad leased his place to the Paskett family while he was away.
Being so young, while he was gone Herb and I forgot him, and we took up with young Phil Paskett as our dad. Because he had a son our age, we acquired the habit of calling Phil “Dad.” When our own Dad returned we didn’t know him. After he came home and we began to know him, we had a real companionship and an enjoyable life.
I started school when I was almost seven years old. I enjoyed my school years and lessons were not too difficult.
We attended school in the two-room building that was later increased in size. I enjoyed the operettas, Christmas programs, and three act plays we did for activities. I didn’t go away to high school after I passed my tenth year as they do now. Hardly anyone did.
As for sports and other fun things, we enjoyed many, baseball, basketball, track and all kinds of dances. I was manager of the Grouse Creek baseball team one year. (Four of my own sons played on the team.) We played all the small towns around, such as Park Valley, Yost, Elba, Almo and Malta. We lost some games and won some, but it was all fun. We gained many friends while playing.
My wife to be went to school side by side with me all through our schooling. Her name was Ella Betteridge. After we finished school, I took a shine to her and on February 4, 1926, we were married in the Salt Lake Temple.
During our courting days we had many good times together, parties, dances, sleigh rides, and parts in shows. These good times continued through our married life too. Our honeymoon was short, just a few days in Ogden, Utah.
Our first home was two rooms of the Thomas ranch house. We stayed there for one winter while I fed the cattle. I went to work early the next fall for the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was while I was working there in Lucin that our first baby, Merlin B. Tanner was born in Grouse Creek. We didn’t have very good communication (systems) then so it was a day or two before I knew I was a new dad. Next our second boy, Keith Delbert came. He was born in the old Dee hospital in Ogden, and then Gordon K. came along. William Gene was the next boy. Then it was Carole’s turn, and, last but not least, six years later, Douglas Kent was born. We have enjoyed every one of them. They have been a very good and obedient family, all staying close and close to the church as well. I am proud of them and the companions they selected.
Being born and raised on a ranch, I chose to continue ranching for my life’s occupation. How well I remember the first horse we learned to ride. A sorrel mare called Pet. She was gentle, faithful, and a very pretty horse. We always rode her bare back. In those days we did all our work with teams of horses. They had to be gentled and we had many a good fast ride when we hitched an untrained horse to a wagon with a gentle, trained one. Many days I had to walk behind a team harnessed to a plow or set of harrows. In my younger days, I was considered a pretty good horseman and cowboy. I broke many horses to ride and to work on wagons or buggies. I received many compliments on the horses I rode.
Our family had its share of sickness. Each of the children in their turn have had sickness, but have recovered and are all healthy. I fell on February 14, 1979, while crossing some icy walks. I had a bump on my head which caused a bad concussion. I was in the hospital several weeks. This problem returned several times, sending me back to the hospital. I thank the Lord for his blessings, for fine doctors and nurses, and for a loving and caring wife who has cared well for me in my times of need.
(Insert by Jay Tanner, his grandson)
Grandpa Del had the unique ability to get along well with young and old alike. He was a pleasure to be with and enjoyed his work and those he worked with. He was a terrific grandfather and many of us will remember the horse rides, doing the chores, and haying at the ranch with him. We also will remember as grandchildren that he usually had a treat of some kind in his pocket, usually gum or life savers. Grandpa Del was proud of his family and his grandchildren. He has often expressed love for us.
Grandpa Del was not afraid of death. He had faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Early in the morning of March 12, 1984, he passed away in his sleep with his loving wife, Ella, by his side. He was seventy-nine years old and left behind his wife, two brothers and two sisters, six children and their companions, thirty-eight grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and a great many friends.
Del was a member of the LDS Church and was a high priest in the Grouse Creek Ward. He served in the Superintendencies of the Sunday School and MIA, and served in many positions in church organizations.
He was also active in many community affairs and served as director in the Grouse Creek Livestock Association, Grouse Creek Irrigation Co. Pipeline Co., and Grouse Creek Co-op.
He was buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.