Cover photo for Johnnie "Bryson" Tanner, Jr.'s Obituary
Johnnie "Bryson" Tanner, Jr. Profile Photo
1935 Johnnie 2023

Johnnie "Bryson" Tanner, Jr.

June 17, 1935 — March 6, 2023


At the age of 87, Johnnie Bryson Tanner Jr. died on March 6, 2023.  A lifelong resident of Athens, he was born on June 17, 1935, to Johnnie Bryson Tanner Sr. and Walterette Arwood Tanner.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years JoNan Ritchie Tanner.  He was educated in the Athens City Schools, graduating from Athens High School.  He attended the University of Georgia, majoring in Business Administration, and was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, serving as recording secretary.  An original (“Dixie” at that time) Redcoat Band member, he was a Distinguished Graduate of the University Air Force ROTC Unit, being elected to Scabbard and Blade and the Arnold Air Society.

He is a member of the Gridiron Secret Society.

Upon graduation, he received his commission in the United States Air Force from the University of Georgia in 1957 and served as an officer on active duty at Yakota AFB, Japan.  In 1966 he retired from the USAF having served since 1960 on inactive reserve.  He returned to Athens in 1960 to continue in the family business, Tanner Lumber Co. or “Tanner’s”, retiring from that business in 1996, after an association of 50 years, when the property was purchased by the University of Georgia.  Following the purchase, he served the University as an associate while the building was transformed into a classroom building now known as the Tanner Building.

A member of the Athens Lions Club for 57 years, he served as President and was Secretary for many years.  He also served on several committees in the Lions organization, both District and State, primarily the State Awards Committee from 1976 until 2017.  While serving the Lions, he received several local, state and national commendations.

An avid bowler, he bowled from 1958 until 2022, 64 years.  He was elected to the local association Hall of Fame, serving on the local bowling association board from 1961 until 2018, and was president of the board for 43 years.  He served on the Georgia State Bowling Association from 1975 until his death and was a Meritorious Service Award Member, a Life Member, and achieved the highest honor of induction to the Georgia Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

Bryson was a member of the First Baptist Church of Athens during his primary years but became a member of Beech Haven Baptist Church in 1960 serving as a deacon and a member of the electronic media committee for 38 years.

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, their 3 sons, and 8 great-grandchildren, as well as his daughter and her son, both from Georgia.

Lord & Stephens is in charge of the family’s private graveside service and interment at Oconee Hill Cemetery on Thursday, March 9, 2023.  A visitation will be held at the Beech Haven Church Library on Friday, March 10, 2023, from 4 pm to 7 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Beech Haven Baptist Church Garden Fund, 2390 West Broad St., Athens, GA, 30606, the Georgia Lions Lighthouse, 5582 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta Ga. 30341, or any organization of your choice.

Lord & Stephens Funeral Homes, West, Watkinsville, GA is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Johnnie "Bryson" Tanner, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 10, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Private Graveside Service

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