Bluffton Packet

Beaufort County sheriff’s dad remembered for preferring the simple things in life

Peppy, a squirrel raised by the family, sits on Harry’s shoulder waiting on a nut.
Peppy, a squirrel raised by the family, sits on Harry’s shoulder waiting on a nut. Submitted

A man and his dog.

Those memories of my husband are like so many flooding my mind.

After being married to someone 62 years, you get to know him pretty well — his likes, dislikes and what made him happy. What worked for Harry B. Tanner Sr. were the simple things in life; that’s what made him happy.

After serving in the United States Air Force four years, with three of those years stationed in Germany, away from home and family, he was happy to be back in South Carolina seeing his parents whom he had not seen for three years.

He soon settled in, started his job in Savannah at Union Camp, now International Paper, and worked shift work for 38 years before retiring. During that time he married me, built our home in Pritchardville outside Bluffton, and together we raised three fine sons.

Harry loved his family and home life. Although we traveled short trips to the mountains or other places of interest, his favorite place was home.

Harry was a man of few words, but he loved having a good conversation with his friends.

This scripture, read at his funeral on July 26, sums him up in a nutshell. James 3: 13:

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”

Harry loved to go fishing.

In earlier years, after working the 3-11 shift at Union Camp, he and his brother-in-law, E.C. Hubbard, would put the boat in at midnight and go flounder gigging when the tide was right. They both might have just worked for eight hours, but their fishing trip, no matter how late the hour, was pure relaxation.

In later years, with our sons grown, Harry spent a lot of time in the rivers, salt or fresh, with sons Harry Jr. and P.J. Tanner.

On a lot of the fishing trips they were accompanied by our little Shih Tzu, Muffy, who loved to go fishing, whether it was in a boat, on the bank or on the dock. When she’d see them getting the boat ready, she stayed right under their feet so as not to get left behind.

Harry and Muffy spent many memorable hours sitting on an overturned bucket down at the dock on Stoney Creek.

With everything set up, he’d take a swig from his Thermos of hot coffee, load his pipe for a smoke, bait his hook and cast away, all the while with Muffy watching every move, sitting near to him with her keen eye on the cork. Every time Harry would give the rod a little jerk to play the bait and take the slack out of the line, Muffy would get excited, thinking he had a bite.

Now, with both Harry and Muffy gone to their heavenly home, I still have many loving memories of “a man and his dog.”

Jean Tanner may be reached at