Ralph M. Tanner

Memorial services for Ralph M. Tanner, 89, Baldwin City, will be held at 1:00 p.m. December 22, 2016 at First United Methodist Church in Baldwin City. He passed away Thursday, November 24, 2016 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Ralph was born December 10, 1926 in Jefferson County, Alabama the son of Claude Melvis and Alma Louise (Camp) Tanner.
He was an active member of his community, serving in many different capacities including the Kansas Independent College Fund, The Board of Higher Education with the United Methodist Church, Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association Board, and the Baldwin State Bank Board.
He was a lifelong educator and was proud to have been President at his alma mater, Birmingham-Southern College, as well as Baker University. He served two terms in the Kansas House of Representatives, chairing the Education Committee while there. Tanner was an avid gardener, loved listening to classical music, watching Alabama football, playing golf, and meeting with his Wednesday morning men’s coffee group. He was a friend and respected mentor to many.
He married Judith Berry Tanner August 27, 1960 in Birmingham, Alabama. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include his son, Clay Tanner, Memphis, TN; daughter Susanne Smith (Mark), Wichita, KS, Caroline Tanner, Baldwin City, KS; four grandchildren, Mark Smith, Jr. (Taylor), Goldsboro, NC; Emily Anno (Darren) Lincoln, NE; Olivia Smith, Wichita, KS; Hannah Smith, Tulsa. OK; one great-granddaughter, Sarah Jane Smith. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Claudine Phillips.
Memorials may be made in his name to Baldwin First United Methodist Church or to a scholarship established in his name at Baker University.

8 Condolences

  1. Celia Heintz on November 27, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Judy, Caroline, and family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers.


  2. Debbie Harr on November 27, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Suzanne, your mother, Mark, and Smith kids–we send our love and sympathy to you all at this time of great loss. May God surround you with His comfort and love.
    Debbie and Alan

  3. Cathy I. Davis on November 28, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Dear Susanne and family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to you as you mourn the loss of your dad. I pray that God will comfort you during this time. God bless, Cathy Davis

  4. Phillips Family on November 28, 2016 at 11:25 am

    We are so sorry for loss.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with your mother and family.

  5. Amy Piersol on November 28, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Judith, I am truly sorry for your loss! You and your family are in the thoughts and prayers of your Baker University family.

  6. Lola Pfeifer on November 29, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. After reading, it is evident that he had an amazing life and impacted many. You have a beautiful angel watching over you and your family. 🙂

  7. Sue Lockett Lovoy on November 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

    It is with tremendous sadness that I bid goodbye to my BSC adviser, mentor, and favorite professor. I taught the United States History he taught me for a number of years and always recalled his passion for his subject. He lives on and will continue to live on in the number of us he touched so greatly. I recall so vividly his wonderful intonation and the beautiful words he used in class. RIP, Dr. Tanner. I will try and continue to do you proud. I truly thought he would live forever.

  8. Sue M Allums on November 30, 2016 at 9:15 pm


    So sorry for the announcement in the Birmingham News paper about Ralph. Sending my thoughts and prayers to you and family during this difficult time. You may not remember me since it has been such a long time but the Allums & Tanner families were friends for many years, my late husband was A B Allums. Ralph & you were highly respected in the community and were such wonderful & lovely people. I loved Mrs Louise Tanner very much also. Take care and know someone in Alabama sends love & prayers!


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