Mary Louise Tanner, 93, of Richmond, passed away Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. She was surrounded by family, along with the loving staff of Shirkey Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Shirkey Hospice & Palliative Care.

Mary Louise was born Aug. 9, 1925, to Irvin Monroe and Edna Marguerite (Brown) Turnage of Rayville. Mary Louise met the love of her life, Oswald Tanner, when he returned from the Navy.

She previously boarded with the Tanner family while teaching in the local rural school. Mary Louise and Oswald married June 8, 1949. They celebrated 65 years of marriage before he passed June 22, 2014.

Mary Louise loved her family deeply. She and Oswald set up housekeeping on the farm southwest of Richmond and welcomed four children: Edgar Alan Tanner of Kansas City; Janis Ann Lanning and husband, Don, of Richmond; Joyce Elaine Tanner of St. Joseph; and Wilma Jean Cory and husband, Don, of Kansas City.

From these unions, Mary Louise enjoyed nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, Amy Tanner and fiancé, Soen Sheppard; Tracy and Mark Evans with Owen and Bode; David and Sandra Lanning with Emmalin, Grayson and Wyatt; Daniel and Sauphia Lanning with Caden, Kniles and Titan;

Rebecca and Paul Daniel Bricker; Jordan and Alyssa Lanning; Adrienne Rendon; Alexis Rendon with Liam; Bryce Cory, Kyla Cory, Megan Cory and Erin Cory-Racowski; and Jimmy Riffe with Isaiah, Michael, James and Hunter.

Nothing made “Grandma” happier than baking cookies, making playdough, serving homemade donuts or biscuits ‘n’ gravy, sharing crafts and crocheting, or anything to do with the children. She was a wonderful seamstress, as well as the food chef for Grandpa’s wiener roasts.

The family knew she was the prayer warrior for all the children, grandchildren and extended family. Her creativity and sincere love had no bounds.

Mary Louise was a patient teacher with a servant’s heart. After early years in rural schools and starting a family, Mary Louise accepted a call to teach kindergarten in Richmond.

She found a special niche when asked to teach at the State School for the Severely Handicapped. She formally retired after 34 years, but she never quit teaching. She continued to substitute and volunteer her time, tutoring until her mid-80s when failing eyesight made it impossible.

Most of all, Mary Louise’s love for the Lord oozed into every aspect of her life. She professed Jesus as Savior at a young age and longed to follow God faithfully ever since.

Besides a personal quiet walk of Bible study and prayer, Mary Louise taught Sunday school, VBS, Awana and mission groups through the years. In the early 60s, she helped form the Sunshine class for special needs children.

She believed God touches all lives and everyone deserved to know Him better. She loved to read her Bible and listen to old hymns of faith. Even in her last days, she appreciated those who read the Word to her as she recounted how soon she would be “home.”

Other survivors include one sister, Charlotte Johnson of Richmond; three sisters-in-law, Virginia Bryan of Richmond, Joan Dice of Liberty and Judy Turnage of Higginsville; and a brother-in-law, Kenneth Wayne Tanner of Richmond.

Mary Louise was also loved by many cousins, nieces and nephews, and dear friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and a brother, Loren Turnage.

The family suggests memorial contributions to First Baptist Church of Richmond, Shirkey Nursing and Rehabilitation Center or Shirkey Hospice. Memorials may be left at or mailed to Thurman Funeral Home, 507 E. Main St. – P.O. Box 190, Richmond, MO 64085.

They are especially grateful for Shirkey’s excellent care on Wing 5 since 2017. These workers became friends.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at the First Baptist Church in Richmond. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, at Thurman Funeral Home, Richmond.

Interment will follow in New Hope Primitive Baptist Cemetery just up the road from the family farm.

Online condolences may be left at

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