Mary Louise Tanner

Tanner, Mary Louise

Mary Louise Tanner was born in Paducah, Kentucky. She was the only child of Dinella Davis and Benjamin Wilford. She attended Paducah Public Schools and graduated from Western Kentucky Teacher's College. She and her husband, the late Robert E. Tanner, and their eight children moved to Champaign in 1958.

Mrs. Tanner became a mother figure to countless children throughout the community. For 15 years, she worked at Adler Zone Center with neglected and abused children who had moderate to severe behavioral problems. She was a calming and positive influence on them, and helped these children learn to read, write, and, most importantly, believe they could be successful, productive citizens.

Later, after Adler closed, Mrs. Tanner started her own business and operated a day care facility for over 18 years that cared for almost 200 children. Many of the children that she cared for still send cards, letters, and gifts, and many parents have come back to say "Thank You."

Active in the Champaign schools, Salem Baptist Church, and the community for many years, Mrs. Tanner still hasn't retired. She still delivers Thanksgiving food baskets to the elderly, has served hot meals to the homeless from her own kitchen, and has become a licensed foster parent.

Her own children are now grown and she's a proud grandmother of 21 grandchildren and a great-grandmother of 30 great-grandchildren.