Ethel N. Tanner, the matriarch of the Joseph Tanner Sr. family, was born February 29, 1924, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the union of George and Ethel Jackson. She was the eldest of nine children. Ethel was proceeded in death by her parents, husband, 5 siblings: Fannie Jackson, Delores Jackson, Elouise Keelen, Ora L. Jackson & Margaret Wyatt; daughter, Barbra J. Merrick; two sons, Joseph Tanner Jr. and Anthony E. Tanner Sr. and 4 great grandchildren: Jeremy D. M. Banks, Amyia N. Tanner, Anthony E. Tanner III and (Tasia Jett-Ogden).
Ethel was educated in the New Orleans Public School System and later worked in the nursing field as a Nursing Assistant. In 1942, she met and married Joseph Tanner, and to that union 6 children were born. In 1952, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri where she continued her nursing career at General Hospital (now known as Truman Medical Center). She retired after 33 years of service. She also was the seamstress for her husband’s upholstery business.
Ethel was baptized at St. Phillips Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was a member of Third Rose of Sharon Baptist Church and sang in the choir. Upon moving to Kansas City, she joined Centennial United Methodist Church, and was a lifelong dedicated member serving as a Communion Steward and on the Hospitality Committee. While living with her daughter, Cynthia, she attended Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church where she was lovingly known as Mother Tanner.
Ethel’s Love for people was expressed through open arms, an open heart and a soulful plate of food. Upon visiting her home, she would greet you with “You want something to eat?” One of her commonly prepared dishes was red beans and rice and fried chicken. Her New Orleans gumbo was unmatched. Many received her homemade birthday cakes, and she always managed to give a gift to the children, even if it was just a dollar. She loved to recite nursery rhymes with the kids and prayed a special healing prayer, “The Prayer of Faith.” Ethel believed in taking care of all of her family. She taught her family to love and care for each other through good times and bad. During Ethel’s latter days, she enjoyed sitting on the deck basking in the sunshine and watching the lake water ripple and flow.
Her legacy lives on through her two sons, Arthur J. Tanner (Beverly) of Lee’s Summit, Henry W. Tanner (Suzanne) of Kansas City; daughter, Cynthia M. Moody (Melvin) of Lee’s Summit; son-in-law, Stoney L. Merrick of Kansas City; daughter-in-law, Tonie M. Tanner of Lee’s Summit; two sisters, Marian Joshua of Los Angeles, CA, and Ruth J. Sutton of New Orleans, LA; brother, Rev. Joseph Jackson (New Orleans, LA) 39 grandchildren, 85 great-grandchildren, 50 great-great-grandchildren, our extended Wabash and Park families, and a host of other relatives and friends.
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