2 LEROY PARKINSON TANNER
b. 12 January 1895 St. Joseph (Joseph City), Navajo, Arizona
m. 26 August 1923 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
d. 5 November 1944 Grants, New Mexico
b. 9 November 1944 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Wives: (1) Eva Margaret Overson, (2) Clara Peterson
Father: Henry Martin Tanner; Mother: Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner
LeRoy Parkinson Tanner, son of Henry Martin and Eliza Parkinson Tanner, was born January 12, 1895, at Joseph City, Arizona. He attended school in Joseph City and at the Snowflake Stake Academy at Snowflake, and worked on the family farm with his father and brothers.
In 1913 he enlisted in the militia and served with the troops on the Mexican Border in 1916. He was a member of the Citizens Military Training Camp stationed on the border when World War I broke out.
When the U.S. declared war on Germany, Roy, as he was always known, was assigned to a combat division and served in France until the war’s end. He went through the entire conflict without receiving a wound, but almost died as a result of the influenza epidemic in 1918.
He was called to the front in Russia the day that the armistice was signed. After that he served for a time with the occupying forces in Russia. [8.4.09. He was not called to the Russian front. It is questionable if he was ever in Russia. For more on his military service see this post.] [8.25.11 It is indeed possible that he was part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. I will continue to try and find information about his military service.] What he heard and saw there prompted him to observe during World War II that the United States would be better off not helping Russia so much and possibly even helping Germany against the Russians, since he felt that Russia was a much greater threat to the United States than Germany would ever be.
He returned to the U.S. in 1920 and was discharged honorably from the army. As did several of his brothers, Roy then went to work on road construction. He became a lane surveyor and construction superintendent.
From 1920 to 1940 he engaged in highway construction work throughout Arizona. Sometimes Roy would have a few days or a week off while his bosses were lining up a new job or moving from one location to another. At such times one of his favorite pursuits was hauling wood. He usually had a large pile on hand, sometimes as much as fifty loads, which was ready to be delivered when a cold spell struck town and he could get a good price per cord for immediate delivery. He would often load up some and take it to a home where there was sickness, or to widows, without cost.
In 1922 while surveying a new highway between St. Johns and Springerville, he met Eva Margaret Overson, the eldest child of Henry Christian and Margaret Jarvis Overson.
They were married in St. Johns on August 26, 1923, and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple shortly thereafter.
Two sons were born to Roy and Eva: Wallace Ove born August 12, 1924, and Lee Henry, born April 13, 1929. A daughter died at birth.
Eva was loved by everyone who knew her, and her home was a mass of flowers from early spring to late fall. She was not strong, however, having been stricken with diabetes while still a young woman. Eva died December 30, 1932, after an extended illness.
After Eva died their two boys went to live with their grandmother Margaret Overson until he married again and decided to take them with him.
On October 14, 1934, Roy married Clara Peterson, daughter of Brigham and Stella Jarvis Peterson. Clara was born April 25, 1909, in St. Johns. She was Eva’s first cousin.
Clara did not like Roy to be away from home, so in 1940 he purchased a large farm and ranch near St. Johns. He bought machinery and livestock and was working on paying off his mortgage.
Roy was active in civic affairs. He was a member of the Greer-Dewitt Post of the American Legion and served several terms as commander of the post.
He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities. From 1941 he was a member of the High Council of the St. Johns Stake.
In November 1944 Roy Tanner and his brother-in-law George Peterson went to earn some extra money for cash expenses by taking a bailer and bailing hay in Bluewater and Grants, New Mexico. They were almost through with the job and were going to camp for the night (November 5, 1944), when they started to cross the railroad track and in some unknown way were caught by the evening passenger train, and killed instantly.
The double funeral took place in St. Johns on November 9, 1944. This was a hard blow for the entire family. To add to the sorrow, one of the Peterson sisters had just three days previously received word of her husband's death in World War II Germany. Roy's widow Clara disappeared for a year without letting anyone know where she was.
After Roy’s death, Clara worked for a while as a counselor in the Ogden school system. She subsequently married Joseph Sudweeks, a professor at Brigham Young University.
Wallace Ove Tanner, a graduate of Harvard Law School, had a long career in the legal field. Wallace married Jessie Maxine Morgan, daughter of Harold and Jessie Christensen Morgan. They had six children.
Lee Henry Tanner worked on heavy construction in Arizona until his death in April 1976. He was married and divorced several times. He had four daughters.
From a sketch of the life of Leroy Parkinson Tanner by Wallace Tanner and others with additional information from Margaret Jarvis Overson, George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy (Mesa, Arizona, 1957). (Photo of 1938 and 1939 Ford trucks used by permission.) Leroy P. Tanner stone photo courtesy of JLT.