Dad was born in Grouse Creek, Utah on October 5, 1904 at their family home, a son of Allen Newman Tanner and Mary Emily Barlow. He was fortunate in being a twin of Delbert E. Tanner, which made their lives more enjoyable.
Dad and his brothers and sisters were reared in an LDS family and he was only two years old when his father left to fulfill a mission in Australia. Dad recalls when Grandpa came home from his mission how they brought his trunk and unloaded his luggage from the wagon which had brought him from Lucin where he had gotten off the train. While watching this procedure and not knowing his father, Dad asked Grandma, “Is that man going to stay all night?” Dad was four years old at that time.
Dad and Dell had great imaginations when they were young boys. They used to ride stick horses and would pretend they were real horses. In their play they always owned choice ranches and property and were very outstanding men. They spent many hours and years in their games of imagination and pretending–even to the point of getting married.
As small children they used to herd pigs, pull weeds and such jobs at their Grandma Tanner’s place at Etna to earn money for the Fourth of July celebration. Dad was a small boy and both he and Dell worried about being small. They were afraid they would be small-faced. Dad had lots of thick dark hair as a child but was almost bald at the age of twenty. Dad did get heavier in his teenage years for which he was grateful.
As young boys they pitched hay and grain and piled hay when they were so small that Dad would get on one side of a row and Dell would get on the other side and the two would take the place of one man. Dad started stacking hay as a young man and received lots of compliments on the way he stacked it.
I’m sure they must have done their share of pranks too. Dad tells how they used to go by homes and toss rocks up on their low roofs. At one time they did this to Alma Richins’s home and then ran up on the hill. Alma hid from them and when they came back down he caught Dad, took him to his home, and gave him a good lecture.
Dad’s family were well disciplined. They always got up early in the morning and the boys did the corral chores before leaving for school. They rode to school in a white canvas-top wagon they called “The Bander.” The driver, William Shaw sat out on the front and drove the horses while the school children rode in the closed-in part. If there was too much noise from inside Mr. Shaw would pound on the top with a buggy whip for order. Dad started school when he was almost seven years old at Grouse Creek and his first teacher was Marian Halstead. He received good grades in school and liked his studies. Claude Adams was his favorite teacher. Once a week in school they used to hold a religion class taught by one of the local townspeople. The students were not compelled to attend but Dad always stayed for this class.
The new Grouse Creek Chapel was dedicated in 1912 and Dad was one of the first to be baptized in the Baptismal Font. They heated irons and put in the water to warm it. Dad always attended Sunday School and Primary. His first Primary teachers were Lillian Richins and Louie Ballingham.
One of Dad’s best talents was acting and he liked to participate in putting on shows. One of his teachers, Lloyd G. Beech, was very interested in drama and he created a lot of enthusiasm for putting on plays. The local people would do the directing. M.E. Wakefield and William C. Betteridge was really good at this and they would help the school teachers.
Through Dad’s school years he acted in many shows and also many after he was out of school. They tried to put on shows each winter. Those who have seen him perform say Dad is good and the fact that he enjoys acting helps. The show he remembers first was “The Umbrella Mender.” This was a big hit. At times he was working with people who had training and he found this to be good experience.
At one time Dad and Mother acted a love scene in a show together which brought cheers from the crowd. They were in the ninth and tenth grades at the time. They had lots of fun at rehearsals. There was always so much nonsense. They remember having the most fun with one of their teachers, S.P. Micklesen (Mickey) who they loved to tease.
In another of their plays they were using an old shot gun which someone had brought for their properties. After many rehearsals at which they had fooled with this old gun, pulling the trigger and pointing it at each other, the crowd was thunderstruck when the gun went off, shooting a hole in the roof of the recreation hall. So narrow an escape was this to all of them that those in the cast will never forget it.
Two of their shows they took to Almo, Elba and Malta, Idaho to raise funds for the MIA. On one of their tours they were stranded in Oakley overnight because of a terrible snowstorm and blizzard. In the year 1950, Dad took the leading part in a comedy entitled “Big Hearted Herbert” which we will always remember. Dad acquired a nickname as a result of his part. Dad always played comedy parts.
In his early teens Dad represented the Grouse Creek Ward along with other contestants from the Raft River Stake where he competed in an oratory contest for the MIA Mrs. Boughberg, who had been trained in elocution, coached him and he memorized the oration “The Fate of the Indian.” Although he didn’t win, Dad claimed this was a wonderful experience for him. He was invited to give this oration at several other places and he received many compliments on it.
Dad was reared in a nice home, a new large two-story red brick house, and their family was always considered fairly prosperous. Cars were scarce in the days of Dad’s youth and their family hardly ever owned a car. During the Summers they usually walked and in the winter they rode in a bob sleigh pulled with horses. In the winter they always fed the cattle twice a day. Dad remembers this chore was always awaiting them right after church.
While Grandpa was on his mission he had his place leased to the brothers, Phil, Parley, Frank, Sidney and George. Dad and Dell always followed them around and as kids they idolized these men. After these brothers were married, most of their families moved away, but Sidney’s children seemed to feel the same way toward Dad and Dell as ideals.
The player piano in Dad’s younger days was as television is today. The crowds of young people would gather at each others home for their entertainment. After Dad was grown, they always used to have birthday surprise parties for each other at their homes which provided good amusement. There were many more people at Grouse Creek in those days and each holiday was celebrated with ball games, horse racing, etc. Always the young people would collect in crowds around town on a Saturday night to plan some kind of entertainment. On Sunday evenings they held Mutual.
There were several people who made an impression on Dad, but as a child he recalls how friendly Newell Richins always was to him. Dad’s Uncle Joseph Barlow was an outstanding influence in his life, encouraging him to participate in church activities. As a man of fifty Dad has great admiration for Bishop Wilford Sagers of Oakley, who has made an impression on his life.
Dad has always enjoyed visiting and he makes friends easily. On his sheep shearing trips he used to meet new people and always found that it paid to make new friends. Their companionship helped to make his time there more worthwhile.
Sports was enjoyed through life by Dad. He liked to play basketball and baseball especially. They used to compete with the neighboring towns in sports and Dad was always on the main team at the basketball games.
When Dad was courting Mom, he bought a horse and his father gave him one and he sold these two horses for $80.00 to get married with. He married Vera Kimber in the Salt Lake Temple on December 17, 1925. Both of their mothers went with them. They returned from their short wedding trip to Grouse Creek to make their home. For the first year they lived with Mom’s parents and it was there that I, their first daughter, was born. From there they moved into part of Dad’s parent’s home. They went to Lucin and bought enough second hand furniture to set up housekeeping. Dad continued to work in business with his father and brothers, and today the three brothers, Raymond, Delbert, and Dad are still in partnership running the Tanner place together.
Dad has always provided the necessities for his family. He has always been able to supply the money that is needed and they have always been able to pay their obligations. So far they have five children who have completed high school and their oldest son, Floyd, has completed an LDS Mission.
In 1953 they bought a new Pontiac which replaced the 1942 Buick they had driven for several years. Before the Buick they had a 1933 Chevrolet.
Dad and Mother are the proud parents of eleven children, ten of whom are still living. The death of their daughter, Shirley, was probably the saddest event in their lives and this burden they were compelled to bear was lightened only by their strong testimony of the gospel and their faith in prayer, which proved a great comfort to them during Shirley’s illness and death.
There was an outstanding faith-promoting incident which happened in Dad’s life. On August 20, 1955, Hughie Thompson, Dad’s son-in-law, was suddenly taken ill with a severe pain in his back. The attack lasted about two and a half hours during which he vomited continually and the pain was almost unbearable. Dad and George Paskett were called to administer to Hughie while I was contacting Lewis Tanner to take us to the doctor. As soon as they offered the prayer the pain immediately left and inside of minutes Hughie was completely well. While waiting around to see if the attack would return again, Hughie fixed tires and did other small jobs but was not bothered again. The trip was called off and suitcases unpacked. We all felt this was a direct answer to prayer through the power of the priesthood and our testimonies were strengthened as a result.
Dad has held many positions in the Church ever since he was old enough. His first office was in the Deacons Quorum as first counselor, he served on the Recreation Committee, as an officer for the MIA, a teacher of the Second Intermediate Sunday School Class, a teacher of the Adult Class in MIA for several different years, first counselor to George E. Ballingham in the MIA for many years, first counselor to George E. Ballingham in the Sunday School Superintendency, with Delbert Tanner as second counselor and Audrey, Norma and Merle in turn were the secretaries. Since about 1950 Dad has been Sunday School Superintendent and is still holding this position. His assistants are Mervin Tanner and Edwin Kimber with Luana Richins as secretary and Merle Tanner as Asst. Secretary. After he was chosen Superintendent the second time, he chose as his assistants Hughie Thompson and Oren Kimber with Opal Kimber as secretary. When Hughie became Bishop in 1956, Dad was again chosen as Superintendent and as his assistants he chose Oren Kimber and Newell Richins, with Opal Kimber as secretary. Dad is also holding the office of a Melchizedek Priesthood class teacher at present. He has been a ward teacher almost continually since he was old enough. At first he used to ride to Etna on a horse to make his visits.
Dad and Dell have always delighted in calling people nicknames and hardly ever have they called a child by their real name. They also like to tease children.
Dad has taken part in many community activities. He has been PTA President and Vice-president and is the Vice-president of the PTA again. He is also an advisor of the Grouse Creek Livestock Association and is President of the Grouse Creek Co-op. He is a State Brand Inspector, a job he has held for many years. He has served on the State Highway Committee and the County Republican Committee.
Dad takes a personal interest in the welfare of his children, sons-in-law and all. We have never lacked for money nor had to ask him, he has always been anxious and willing to help whenever he felt help was needed. Dad has always been a firm believer in prayer and has always participated in family prayer and encouraged it. He has a strong testimony of the Gospel and is trying to do his part in carrying on the Lord’s work.
His children are: Marjorie, Audrey, Herbert Floyd, Norma, Merle, Shirley (passed away at age twelve), Darrell K., Donald LaVarr, Eileen, Allen Gary, and Barbara Ann.
His brothers and sisters: Amanda, Allen Raymond, Joseph Thomas (passed away at one month), Leslie, (passed away at age twenty-three), Delbert E., Alice Evelyn, Bertha, and David Edwin.
The first part of this history was written by Marjorie Tanner Thompson in March 1957. History completed by Marjorie Tanner Thompson in May 1996.
From 1957 to 1978 Dads’ life went on as usual, with Mom and family at home. He thoroughly enjoyed his cattle ranch, church activities, and family activities, actually his life in general.
There were many grandchildren born and many happy times together until Mom died on August 7, 1978. She died of a heart attack and Dad’s whole life fell apart.
Dad’s health went downhill with diabetes and kidney problems and eventually, even his children were unable to care for him. With heartache we admitted him to the Pioneer Care Center in Brigham. This was a terrible day for all of us and an especially sad day for Dad. He loved to visit with people and because he was getting less company in Grouse Creek, we were hoping he may like it there. He did seem to enjoy all the attention he received while there and he did have lots of company. Many of his family were close and visited often.
We had a party for his eightieth birthday at the Nursing home with lots of friends and relatives attending. We played a tape of the Grouse Creek Orchestra and Dad was able to dance with his daughters. He was thrilled. He also had a lady friend there as well as two other ladies who were always hustling him.
Dad died peacefully on September 17, 1987 in Brigham surrounded by family. If Dad had been permitted to finish this history I think he would have said that he had surely been blessed and that he was grateful to a loving Heavenly Father for an enjoyable life. He was interred in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.