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Robert J. “Bob” Tanner

Posted on Friday, January 5, 2024 at 5:30 pm

Robert J. “Bob” Tanner, 87, from Columbia, formerly of Centralia, MO, died Thursday, December 28, 2023, at The Bluffs nursing home in Columbia. He will be interred alongside his wife, Peggy, in the City of Centralia cemetery under the care and direction of Memorial Funeral Home. Private family services will be held.

Bob was born to Louis and Norma Tanner at the Audrain Co. Hospital on February 28, 1936. He attended Excelsior School, a one-room schoolhouse north of Centralia, and spent his early years farming with his father, playing football, running track and forming many lifelong friendships. Bob often told stories of a wonderful childhood filled with hard work, swimming in creeks, boyhood adventures and growing up in the Tulip Christian church.

Bob graduated from Centralia High, where he met his future wife, Peggy, on the school bus, when they were both freshmen. The story goes that once he got to know Peggy a bit, he punched his friend on the shoulder and stated, “I’m going to marry that girl.”  Six years later he made that happen. They were high school sweethearts and were married for 61 years. After caring for her for over 20 years, Bob lost Peggy to cancer in 2017, and a hole was left in his heart that was never filled.

Bob attended Northeast MO Teachers College in Kirksville on a football scholarship, graduating with a degree in Business Administration. He worked in Accounting and Marketing at the A.B. Chance Co. in Centralia for 36 years.

Bob was a Mason, a Kiwanian, and an active member of many civic and service organizations in Centralia. He was the president of Centralia School’s Board of Education and served as a member for years.

Some of Bob’s happiest memories were when he helped Santa distribute presents at Tulip and pass out treats from the back of the city firetruck on Christmas morning. He loved standing in for Santa when the big man couldn’t make it.

Bob and Peggy were the most positive, dedicated, supportive, active and involved parents any children could wish for.  They attended nearly every school, athletic or extracurricular event in which their kids participated.  They were very, very busy parents.

Bob took his family camping every summer across the US and into Canada. He hunted and fished with his son and grandsons and had great stories about their time in the outdoors.

Upon retirement, Bob and Peggy traveled in their RV, visiting all 50 states and all Canadian provinces. They traveled to Europe, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand, enjoyed several Caribbean and South American cruises, and spent winter months in Texas or Arizona. They especially enjoyed spending summer months in the Colorado Rockies.

Bob was a lifelong member of the Disciples of Christ Church, beginning at Tulip, and after moving to Columbia, was a member of Olivet Christian Church.

Bob is survived by his two children, Dr. Lou Ann Tanner-Jones (Terry) of Columbia, and Dr. Scott Tanner (Susan) of Jefferson City, four grandchildren, Rachel Tanner Jones of Columbia, Walker Raymond Jones, of Jefferson City, Elizabeth Anne Becker (Brooks) of Seminole FL, and Andrew Russell Tanner (Emily) of Blue Springs, MO. Bob was overjoyed to welcome his first great-grandchild, Sadie Jane Tanner, this year.

The family wishes to express sincere thanks to Dr. John Baird and Dr. Douglas Vogt and their dedicated and compassionate staff members, for their care, concern and prompt attention over many years; to the caring staff of Boone Hospital 4 South, and to the staff of The Bluffs and Gentiva Hospice, who worked so hard to make Bob’s last days comfortable. Most of all, Bob wanted to convey sincere thanks and gratitude to the many staff members who cared for him at his second home, Cedarhurst Assisted Living, where he moved the day after Peggy passed. Bob loved living at Cedarhurst.  He made many great friends there and always had positive things to say about how well he was treated. Bob resided safely and comfortably at Cedarhurst even through a worldwide pandemic and always told his family that he was well cared for and respected.

If you wish to make a memorial, Bob requested this be sent to Shriner’s Hospital.  If you wish to send a personalized message to Bob’s family, please send these via email to his granddaughter, Rachel Tanner Jones, at

Bob was a happy and positive man. He often said he had no regrets in life.  Bob knew the importance of optimism and of greeting people by their names. He was an unfailing friend and was likely the kindest and most agreeable man you would ever meet. Let’s all be like Bob.  We miss him already.