Floral 12

Mother Mary Louise Tanner

August 29, 1921 ~ January 12, 2023 (age 101) 101 Years Old

Mother Mary Tanner Obituary

Mother Mary Louise Tanner transitioned to glory on January 12, 2023 at home in Savoy.  Mother Tanner was born in Paducah, KY on August 29, 1921, the only child of Dinella Davis Wilford and Ben Wilford.  She attended Paducah public schools and later graduated from Western Kentucky Teacher’s College.  Shemarried Leon Wilson, Sr. and later, married Robert E. Tanner and they moved to Champaign, IL in 1959.

Mother Tanner united with Salem Baptist Church after moving to Champaign and was active in a variety of ministries, including the Mary Jane McKinley Circle, the Adult Sunday School classes, and served on the Mother’s Board.

Mother Tanner became a mother figure to countless children throughout the community and regularly served the homeless and those in need of a hot meal and sage advice and wisdom.

Mother Tanner worked at the now closed Adler Zone Center and had a positive impact on those children.  Later, after Adler closed, she started her own day care business and, over the next eighteen years, cared for more than 200 children.  Over time, she stayed in touch with many of the children and their families, and they often sent cards and letters, thanking her for caring for them and making them a part of her family.  She also became a licensed foster parent.

Active in the community, Mother Tanner volunteered at the Crisis Nursery and Salt and Light, as an election judge, and in the Champaign School District.  

She remained clear and alert even as her health began to decline and rarely missed sending family members birthday cards and words of encouragement.

Mother Tanner leaves to cherish and celebrate her memoryseven children:  Viola Edmonds, Fred Wilson, Terry Tanner, Richard Tanner, Donna Tanner-Harold, Glenn Tanner, and Robert R. Tanner, twenty-one grandchildren, and a host of great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by son Leon Wilson, Jr., daughter Joyce Clark-Hogsette, grandsons Philip Edmonds, Scott Clark and Kevin Clark, and great-grandchildren Byronnise Clark, Shawn-DiegoClark, Terron Jackson, and Prentiss Jackson, Jr.

Mother Tanner led a full, rich life and deeply loved her family and serving others.  She will be greatly missed, but the lessons she taught her family will be passed down for generations. 

A Celebration Of Life will commence at 12:00 noon Saturday January 21, 2023 at Salem Baptist Church, 500 E. Park St., Champaign. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service. Eulogist: Rev. Claude E. Shelby, Sr. Interment will be at Grandview Memorial Gardens. 

Leek & Sons Funeral Home, 1215 W. Bradley Ave. Urbana, in charge of arrangements.

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January 21, 2023

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Salem Baptist Church
500 E Park
Champaign, IL 61820

Funeral Service
January 21, 2023

12:00 PM
Salem Baptist Church Baptist Church
500 E Park
Champaign, IL 61820


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