Philanthropist praised for 'legacy of goodness'

Obert C. Tanner, a prominent Utah jewelry manufacturer who died in California on Oct. 14 at age 89, was praised in memorial services as a philanthropist who enriched lives not only through monetary gifts but also through Christian deeds.

In the services Oct. 18 in Salt Lake City's Abravanal Hall, President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, said of Brother Tanner: "We are all the richer for his life among us. We are all the poorer for his leaving. But his legacy of goodness remains, and his life will be eternal."The First Presidency issued the following statement Oct. 14:

"We express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Obert C. Tanner. His generosity and benevolence will be long and appropriately remembered for his gifts of beautiful fountains that adorn the state; a commitment to learning in his endowment of the Tanner Lectures in Human Values; a Gift of Music, a free public concert featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Utah Symphony and internationally acclaimed artists; and his ongoing financial contributions and encouragement of the arts. His efforts were surely of that quality which please the eye, gladden the heart, and enliven the soul.

"But even more so, Obert C. Tanner will be remembered for his kindness and gentleness."

A member of the Millcreek 12th Ward, Salt Lake East Millcreek North Stake, Brother Tanner donated the funds for the Church Office Building plaza fountain. He served a mission in Germany in the 1920s and was a seminary principal and teacher from 1927-33. He also taught at Stanford University and the University of Utah.

He wrote 10 books, including three on the New Testament. He perhaps is best known in the Church as the author of Christ's Ideals for Living, which was published initially as a Sunday School manual.

President Hinckley read excerpts from the book on beauty, wealth and eternal life. "Those of us who have been the beneficiary of Obert's generosity - and I think that includes all of us - know that in the getting of wealth, through its giving he emphasized the ideal of Jesus whom he loved so much."

Before his death, Brother Tanner said he wished his passing could be marked by a memorial service of music at which some members of the Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony would perform. His wish was granted as 110 members of the choir and the full symphony performed a medley of LDS hymns and classical selections.

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