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Master Chief Fred Tanner, 73, of River Drive, Hertford, died Friday, July 18, 2014 in the Sentara Albemarle Medical Center. He was born in the mountains of North Carolina in Hayesville, in Clay County. He was the son of Charlie and Lula Bell (Ledford) Tanner and the husband of Wanda Tillett Tanner for thirty-six years. He was raised in the Methodist Children's Home in Winston-Salem after his parents died when he was one year old. He kept his membership at Centenary Methodist Church where he grew up, and most recently was an active member of the Hertford Baptist Church. After graduating from R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, he served in the US Army Reserve for nearly four years. He then joined the US Coast Guard and served with honor for thirty years. He accomplished service in Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Hawaii, and many other Pacific islands, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, Africa, South America, Central America and many islands of the Eastern Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. He performed four tours in Elizabeth City where he was a Rescue Boat Coxswain, a qualified air crewman on the old HU-16 Albatross Seaplane and a C-130 aircraft Flight Engineer and Plane Captain. His last tour was in Sacramento, Calif. where he retired in 1994.
Fred's dedication to giving back equaled his dedication to serve and protect. He was an active and industrious volunteer for over fifty years. During his career, Wanda and he volunteered as coaches for the Elizabeth City Parks and Recreation Department and became the very first US Coast Guard Family of the Year in Elizabeth City. He volunteered to assist the Special Olympics program and was selected as the Pasquotank County Special Olympics Volunteer of the Year. Governor Martin awarded him the Volunteer of the Year for the State of North Carolina. Wherever he and Wanda lived, he volunteered in every community and church and always for the Methodist Children's Home. He built a museum at the Children's Home as a thank you to the staff for teaching him to work hard, to always do his best, to be thankful and to give back. He served on The Children's Home Alumni Board after he retired from the military and returned to North Carolina and became president of the board. In 2001, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni of the Year.
He authored and published two books, Tanner, "Boy Orphan" and Launch the Ready. In these books, he shared his life experiences, the values he was taught and the extraordinary life he lived based on those values.
In addition to his loving wife, Wanda, Mr. Tanner is survived by two daughters, Pam Higgins Haskett and husband, Chuck, of Elizabeth City and Amy Higgins Feltz and husband, Todd, of Southern Shores; four grandsons, Charlie, Hunter, Lake and Reed Haskett; two granddaughters Ansley and Kinnan Feltz; his mother in law, Marie Tillett of Elizabeth City; two sisters-in-law, Pat McMahon and husband, John, and Debbie Overton and husband, Graham, all of Elizabeth City; a brother-in-law, Sam Murdock of Anderson, S.C.; a niece Lori McMahon Johnson of Blacksburg, Va.; a nephew Phillip Murdock of Greensboro; a niece, Debbie Taylor of Anderson, S.C.; and a cousin, Ora Mae Ledford of Hayesville. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Charlena Tanner Murdock; and a niece, Terri Collins.
A funeral service will be held Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 2 p.m. at Twiford Memorial Chapel officiated by Dr. Kenneth Word and Pastor Greg Clark. Burial with military honors will follow in West Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends Monday evening, July 21, 2014 from 7 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Twiford Funeral Home and at other times at the residence. Memorial donations may be made to Jimmy 'Catfish' Hunter ALS Foundation, P. O. Box 47, Hertford, NC 27944 or the Methodist Children's Home, 1001 Reynolda Rd., Winston-Salem, NC 27104. Twiford Funeral Home, Memorial Chapel, 405 E. Church Street, Elizabeth City, is serving the Tanner family. Online memorial condolences may be sent to the family at www.twifordfh.com.
Twiford's Funeral Home - Elizabeth City
405 E CHURCH
Elizabeth City, NC 27909-
Published in The Daily Advance on July 20, 2014