Catherine Tanner, a longtime resident of Middleton, Wisconsin, died peacefully at Lodi Good Samaritan Nursing Home in the early hours of July 15, 2012 after living with Parkinson’s Disease for many years. She was almost 92.
Catherine May Cox Tanner was born on August 3, 1920, to Dee and Lulu Cox, in Delta, Millard County, Utah. She was a varsity cheerleader and a member of the Delta High School Drum and Bugle Corps and graduated with the class of 1938. Catherine learned to play the piano while in grade school and became an accomplished pianist. Her ability to play the piano was a source of constant pride to her father, Dee. Her love of music continued throughout her life and blessed all those around her.
Catherine attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and graduated with degrees in secondary Education and interpretive Dance. She toured throughout Utah with the Interpretive Dance Team and was a member of the women’s social organization, Val Norns.
It was while Catherine was at BYU that she met Champ Bean Tanner, of Provo, Utah. Champ was the oldest son of Orea B. and Bertrand Myron Tanner. Champ and Catherine were married in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in September, 1941. After graduating from BYU in 1942, Champ served four years in the military and then entered graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, bringing his family to Wisconsin and making it their lifetime home.
As Champ continued his studies and then his career at the University of Wisconsin, Catherine chose to stay home and raise their five children. Just as Champ successfully established himself as a worldwide leader in Soil Physics, so did Catherine create a supportive and loving environment in their home. She was a “homemaker” in every sense. Her door was open to children, friends, graduate students and their families, visiting faculty and the occasional politician. Everyone was not only welcome in the Henry Street home, but was most likely welcomed with a hug and a slice of homemade bread.
Catherine Tanner gave generously of her time to her community, as well as to her family. She served on the Middleton School Board for many years, was in the League of Women Voters, and was a member of the Middleton Public Library Board. Her lifetime commitment to music was evident in the time she spent supporting the music programs in the Middleton Public schools. Catherine accompanied countless students as they participated in solo and ensemble competitions all over the state and was ever present at high school concerts and productions.
Catherine served in many capacities within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was the organist for decades, was a counselor in the women’s Relief society and was president of the Young Women’s Association three times. Most notably, the last time she was called to the Young women’s group, she was 65.
In 1968, Catherine was hired as a teacher at the Middleton branch of Child Development, Incorporated – a preschool and day care center for 3 to 5 year olds. For 28 years, hundreds of children benefitted from her high energy, consistent attention and affection, and once again, from her love of music. On any given weekday, neighbors of the center could see Catherine walking with her young charges to a nearby park, singing all the way.
Catherine has lived at the Lodi Good Samaritan Nursing Home for just short of 9 years as she battled Parkinson’s Disease. She is survived by her children Myron Smith Tanner (Lynda Sears), Catherine Walby Davidson (Brian Davidson) and Terry Lee Kalemba (Jerome “Monk” Kalemba). Catherine had 14 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Champ Bean Tanner, and two sons, Bertrand Dee (Ellen “Kookie” Johnson, still living) and Clarke B. Tanner.
There will be a private graveside ceremony Friday, July20 at 2 pm, followed by a public memorial service at noon on Saturday, September 15, 2012. The memorial service will be held at the LDS church, 4505 Regent Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
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