Timothy Paul Tanner
May 1, 1952 – May 13, 2022

Timothy Paul Tanner (Timmy, 70) passed peacefully in his sleep at home in Rio Dell on May 13, 2022. Timothy was born on May 1, 1952 in Pasadena. He grew up in Duarte, Calif. and attended Duarte High School. Timmy was the student body president of his high school for all four years and graduated in 1969. His classmates called him Sunshine Smile, a nickname that was true ‘til the end.

In his early adult years he was a genuine hippie and a mad scientist. He owned and operated a nightclub called the Wood Sound where he hosted many bands, such as The Rolling Stones. He raved about his peak in the ‘70s when he owned Persian rugs and even a few Porsches. ‘In the 80s he found himself in love and raised his first family in Southern Oregon. While in Oregon he built log cabins from scratch and tried his hand at living off the land. He gained a green thumb and perfected his art of wood carving. In the early ‘90s he met his soul mate, Christianne, and asked her children for their blessing to marry her. The only tattoo he ever got was her name across his heart.

He raised his second family in Sacramento, where he worked hard at various construction jobs and Caltrans. He raised four step kids, from two marriages, as his own, and was always true to his word, keeping every promise he made to his kids, and not making promises he knew he couldn’t keep.

Timmy continued his passion for wood carving, winning first place for his work at the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale. To get inspiration for his carvings he would wander the woods looking for burls or roam the beaches looking for driftwood, then ask his loved ones what they saw. He would turn an abstract thought into reality in the wood, taking weeks or even months to get it right. He was a passionate man, not afraid to cry, which often made us laugh because he wouldn’t hold back even in public. This passion and emotion bled into his outstanding poetry. He was a true poet and when he fell in love with his wife, he wrote her a love poem daily for years. He wrote a poem for everyone he loved, and he loved deeply.

He enjoyed fishing, especially with his mother, but everyone knows he would never beat her in a derby – even in her 90s. Timmy also cherished his mother, spending her and his last years together as much as possible. They would talk politics and play cards; they would laugh and cry together. He truly was his mother’s son, and it was always obvious how much she loved him back.

Timmy made a great dad to his kids. Some of the best times were spent in his garden having deep conversation or weekends at the family lake house on Lake of The Pines in Auburn, Calif., but he also gave the best lectures when they were in trouble and never let his kids leave the house without saying, “Make good decisions,” which continues to resonate with them still as adults. More than that though was his ability to really listen and be fair. As his kids grew up and also became parents he quickly fell in love with his grandkids, and he stole all of their hearts with his Papa charm. Timmy’s inner child came out around his grandkids, and he was always so impressed by their individual talents and beauty. He was a deep listener to all his friends and loved ones, showing the kind of interest in people that they only dreamed of. His life was a wild ride and he gained and gave many nicknames: Sunshine Smile, Mugz Mcgerk, Baby Butthead, Papa, Poppy Seed, and Love Queer to name a few. His laugh was genuine and contagious; his tears were unstoppable whether he was happy or sad. He was incredibly loyal, and he loved his wife tenderly. He found joy in “nature tripping” with her and had a need for aesthetic views in mother nature.

Timothy is survived by his wife of 28 years, Christianne Tanner (56); his brother, Christopher Tanner (of New York) (Anthony Rocanello); his children: Amanda Foltz (47, of Florida), Brent Foltz (45, of Florida) (May Mercado-Foltz (45)), Jillian Dwyer (36, of San Diego, CA) (Charles Marcus Alvarez (37)), and Brittany Berger (33, of Portland, OR) (Aaron Berger (36)); his grandchildren: Blake Schmidt (13), Ash (Sally) Berger (13), Alice Berger (11), Emma Berger (11), Fernanda Berger (7), Maggie Foltz (7), Vida Alvarez (6), and Ezra Alvarez(1); as well as many cousins. He is preceded in death by his mother, Hon. Sally Tanner (Hon. Patricia Hofstetter), his father, Paul (Pat) Tanner, and many dear friends.

Services for local friends and immediate family will be held at the Rio Dell Fire Hall at 50 West Center St., Rio Dell, on Friday May 20th at 10 a.m. with lunch and refreshments to follow. A later memorial is being planned to occur in August in El Monte with actual date TBD.


The obituary above was submitted by Timothy Tanner’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.