Barney Tanner East High School Key Club Scholarship

To Contribute to the Scholarship

Send your contribution to:

Bonneville Kiwanis
P.O. Box 2222
Salt Lake City, UT 84010


Obituary for Bernard Malan Tanner

Bernard (Barney) Malan Tanner peacefully departed this life on May 25, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He was born June 30, 1929 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Henry Bernard and Edna Malan Tanner, the fifth of eight children. 

A graduate of the Salt Lake City public schools, Barney attended Wasatch Elementary School, Bryant Junior High School, and both South and East High Schools where he enjoyed being part of the choirs and other school activities.  He received his Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of Utah in 1954.  Prior to graduating, he took time off from October, 1948 to December 28, 1950 to serve an LDS mission in the Central Atlantic States mission and then spent 21 months in the Air Force – from May 1, 1951 to January 1953 – serving in 130th AC and W Squadron based in Olathe, Kansas.  Barney met a striking blonde that sang in the ward choir and after a long courtship he and Donna Wittwer were married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 10, 1954.  They left immediately for Washington D.C., where he attended George Washington University Law School and served as editor of the law school paper,  and also worked for Senator Wallace Bennett of Utah. 

After graduating from law school, he was admitted to the Utah State Bar. In 1960, Barney and his family returned to Utah where he accepted a position with the Federal Bureau of Land Management.  Over Barney's career, he worked as an attorney in both the public and private sectors.  He spent several years in private practice and 27 years at the Utah Attorney General's Office working in the Consumer Affairs Department, the Health Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Transportation Department. 

Barney is beloved by a large extended family and a host of friends.  Rare was the case that the family would travel anywhere without their father meeting someone he knew.  Barney also loved others unconditionally.  He could make a lifelong friend after just one meeting. His counsel to his children and grandchildren was, "Always be true to yourself and don't ever apologize for who you are and what you believe in.  Be the best that you can be in whatever you choose.  Always be in the service of others and develop your own talents."

Barney was selfless in his service, both in his Church and community.  During his LDS mission he spent a good portion of time introducing the Church to others as a member of a traveling men's quartet.  In his military service, he also organized and sang in a male quartet and chorus which had the opportunity to sing on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. 

Barney was an avid scouter and champion of young men.  He served as a scoutmaster for eight years, in addition to serving as scoutmaster for three National Jamboree troops, as a District Commissioner for the Great Salt Lake Council and multiple times as a Woodbadge course director.  In 1978, he received the BSA Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor given at the Council level. 

In 2006, Barney and Donna served together as full-time welfare service missionaries in the Atlanta, Georgia area.  There they not only performed great service during the recovery following Hurricane Katrina, but also served in the Atlanta Temple.  This missionary service further allowed them to be close to their son David and his family.

Barney devoted significant time and energy to Kiwanis International.  During his 45 years as a Kiwanian, he served several times as president of the Bonneville Kiwanis Club in Salt Lake City, as Governor for the Utah-Idaho District, and as an International Trustee.  He was a strong supporter of Key Clubs and all that that Kiwanis stands for.  In his role as an International Trustee, he and Donna had the opportunity to travel for three years to many parts of the world encouraging clubs, speaking at conventions, and promoting the values of Kiwanis. 

Barney also tried his hand at local politics.  His public service included campaigns for public office as Salt Lake County Attorney, and Salt Lake District Attorney. 

Barney spent the past 52 years as a member of the Salt Lake Olympus Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he served valiantly in many capacities over the years. His service included many years in the youth programs, as choir director, and bishopric counselor.

Donna and the family thank all those who were involved in Barney's care-giving over the past few years.  We so appreciate the doctors, nurses, Haven Home Health, and staff of The Coventry, where Barney and Donna resided for the past few months until Barney passed away. They have been very kind in looking after their daily needs. The family is particularly grateful to our dear mother who has cared for her husband so faithfully over the past two and a half years as his health declined.

Barney is survived by his wife of 58 years, Donna Wittwer Tanner; children, Gordon (Julie) Tanner of Sammamish, WA; Mark (Carol) Tanner of Spanish Fork, UT; Robert (Diane) Tanner of Issaquah, WA; Ed (Vala'dee) Tanner of Salt Lake City, UT; Charlene (Lindsay) Ford of Centerville, UT; Donnette (Joe) Wheat of Corona, CA; Leanne (Glenn) McKenney of Salt Lake City, UT; and David (Vonae) Tanner of Marietta, GA; 32 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and siblings Bernita Waterfall (Gerald), William W. Tanner (Elizabeth), Elfreda Tanner Clark, and Daniel M. Tanner (Karen). 

Barney’s funeral will be held Monday, June 11, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., at the Salt Lake Olympus Stake Center, located at 2675 East 4430 South, in Salt Lake City.   Viewings in his honor will be held at the Salt Lake Olympus Stake Center on Sunday evening, June 10, 2012, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and again on Monday morning preceding the service, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The family expresses sincere gratitude for all the many acts of kindness and expressions of love Barney and his family have received from Barney's many loved ones and friends.  We will all miss him and look forward to a glorious reunion to come.   

In lieu of flowers, we invite you to honor Barney by serving a neighbor.  Donations can also be made in his name to the Boy Scouts of America, Great Salt Lake Council for improvements to the “Hinckley Scout Ranch” or to the Bonneville Kiwanis Club for the “Barney Tanner East High School Key Club Scholarship”