Honoured by Colin and Joan Vickers.
Reta Tanner was born in 1918 in Riverfield which is located in the Chateauguay Valley region of Quebec. Reta was involved in the choir, CGIT and Sunday School of Riverfield Presbyterian Church. After graduating from Howick High School Reta attended The Mother House Secretarial College. Reta then served in the RCAF #3 Training Command Headquarters in Montreal where she met her husband Richard (Dick) Tanner who was attached to the 401 Fighter Squadron and they married in 1942. During this time Reta knit, sewed and joined the others in entertaining our soldiers. After Lorne and Lorraine were born they moved to Toronto in 1954 as Dick continued his career with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Like many parents time was spent with Cub, Scouts, Guides, hockey, dance lessons, etc. As well, Reta showed leadership and dedication as she became involved in the Thornhill Presbyterian Church … Sunday School, pot luck suppers, picnics and skating parties.
In 1956 she began her career as a Secretary with the North York Board of Education retiring in 1976 to enjoy her grandchildren. Along the way she was a guide, friend and inspiration to many including Joan Vickers who resides in North Bay.
Outside of work she helped organize the Kind Hearts Club in Willowdale. The members reached out to seniors in the community providing games, concerts, suppers, sales and bazaars. In addition, Reta and Dick welcomed several teenage members of the Toronto Marlies to their home with some eventually joining the NHL including Bob Dailey, Frank Hamill, Fred Barrett and Mark and Marty Howe.
Reta and Dick moved to the Barrie area where Reta continued to serve and lead including her work with the Women’s Missionary Society. Dick and Reta travelled extensively enjoying 57 years of marriage until Dick’s passing in 2000. In 2002 Reta chose to live in Tollendale Village, an innovative seniors’ complex in Barrie where she served three years as secretary of the Tenants Committee.
She organized a knitters group which has knit thousand of little Izzy Dolls. These dolls are carried by our soldiers today as they serve overseas. They are given to children in war torn countries … many of whom have only a stick and stones to play with. Also, they have knit baby clothes, pneumonia vests and blankets that are provided to “Canadian Food for Children” to be sent to orphanages and children’s hospitals in Asia and Africa. A visit to Reta’s suite often reveals a “room full” of these special gifts!
For several years Reta has been co-leader for the Tollendale Fitness Group.
A faithful servant, Reta continues with a Bible Study group.
Reta is the deserved matriarch of her family. She has loved and guided her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and young hockey players. At work, Reta was an exemplary employee, role model and friend to teachers, support staff, students and
administration. In the community and overseas, Reta has reached out to children, youth, seniors, members of her church and soldiers. In retirement she has been called to support her peers
where she resides and continues her outreach activities.
While Reta shies away from well-deserved praise, she is someone who is making a difference.