Hometown: Lexington, KY
Date of Birth: December 20, 1892
Date of Death: December 13, 1965
Obituary - Thomas B. Tanner, 72, Is Dead; Was Longtime SNPA Official, Chattanooga Times (December 14, 1965)
Know as "Mister SNPA" to his many friends in the newspaper business throughout the South, Mr. Tanner came to SNPA headquarters here in 1938 as its labor commissioner. He was promoted to secretary-manager in 1954 and held that post until his retirement in 1964.
Known throughout southern publishing circles simple as "Tom Tanner," he was an affable and personable man of hearty laugh and warm gesture. It has been said that near the end of his SNPA career he could assemble 100 southern newspaper publishers and executives in one room and call them all by their first name without hesitancy.
His long years as staff labor commissioner ranging from the early New Deal days of the Roosevelt administration when labor laws and management response emerged as a major factor in industrial life in this country brought Tom Tanner an extraordinary range of friendships with newspaper personnel at all levels throughout the South.
In Chattanooga, he was a popular downtown figure, moving along the streets from his office to other business houses and exchanging pleasantries with an old-school courtliness and charm that endeared him to a legion of friends. He took deep interest in national affairs and liked to discuss them with cronies on street corners during his daily walks.
In his 10 years as secretary-manager of SNPA he met regularly with top executives of regional newspapers and traveled widely to attend board and special group meetings at which he kept officials abreast of the latest labor-management developments. Consequently, he had acquaintances strung across the South and his name bore something of a household familiarity in countless Dixie communities.
Mr. Tanner is survived by his wife, Mrs. Emily Tanner of the Robert E. Lee Apartments here; one son, Hal Tanner of Goldsboro, N.C., publisher of he Goldsboro News-Argus; a sister, Mrs. Mary T. Nash of Lexington, Ky.; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Mr. Tanner at the time of his retirement had been a full-time employee of the SNPA longer than any other person.
The regional newspaper group includes some 400 daily newspapers in 14 states.
When he joined SNPA as labor commissioner in 1938, Mr. Tanner devoted his talents to labor affairs and soon became known as the dean of the newspaper arbitration profession. He often worked around the clock, at one time preparing briefs and presenting cases in oral hearings in connection with six arbitration cases. His friends in the newspaper business often remark humorously that this was a "two-ulcer" job.
Mr. Tanner succeeded Walter Johnson as secretary-manager of SNPA in 1954.
Funeral arrangements for Mr. Tanner will be announced later.
Obituary - Services Today for T.B. Tanner Chattanooga Times (December 15, 1965)
Funeral Home Rites at 10 A.M. for Former SNPA Official
Funeral services for Thomas B. Tanner, 72, secretary-manager of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association until his retirement last year, will be held this morning at 10 o'clock in the West Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home. The Rev. Larry Crane, assistant pastor of the First Christian Church will officiate.
Mr. Tanner died unexpectedly Monday night in a local hospital.
Another service will be held Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at Milward Funeral Home in Lexington, Ky.
Mr. Tanner was a native of Lexington where he attended public and private schools, business college and the College of Engineering of the University of Kentucky.
He had been associated with the SNPA for more than 25 years before his retirement. For 16 years he was manager of its labor department before being elevated to secretary-manager in 1954.
At the time of his retirement he had been a full-time employee of the SNPA longer than any other person. He entered the newspaper business as display advertising solicitor for the Lexington Leader on Jan. 1, 1920 and served several years as advertising manager of the Lexington Herald, prior to the merger of the two newspapers.
His other business experience before his association with SNPA included several years in estimating and selling commercial printing. For a short time during his early years he was a legal secretary and studied law. He also was a partner in an automobile dealership for a brief period.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Emily Tanner of the Robert E. Lee Apartments here; one son Hal Tanner of Goldsboro, N.C. Publisher of the Goldsboro N.C. Publisher of the Goldsboro News-Argus; a sister, Mrs. Mary T. Nash of Lexington Ky.; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Some 400 daily newspapers in 14 states are included in the SNPA which has its headquarters in Chattanooga. As secretary-manager of the regional newspaper group for 10 years, Mr. Tanner traveled extensively to attend board meetings and special group meetings of the daily newspapers. He developed numerous acquaintances throughout the South.