ORO VALLEY, Ariz. — H. Max Tanner, 87, peacefully passed away on Monday, April 8, 2013, in Oro Valley, Ariz., after a rapid decline from dementia. Born in Newton, Ill., in 1926, he was the son of Harry S. and Alta F. (Adkins) Tanner and brother of Norma.
He graduated from Newton Community High School before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1944. At the end of the war Max went on to college, completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration at Michigan State University in 1948.
Max began his career with Auto-Owners Insurance based in Lansing in 1948 and was assigned a territory as a special agent (marketing rep) back in Illinois, where he met and married the love of his life, M. Lou (Mattingly) Tanner in 1950. Together they raised four children, Michael, Ann, Barbara and Patrick.
His career with Auto-Owners Insurance Co. spanned four decades, relocation to Lansing, and many new responsibilities. He took great pride in the company he so faithfully served. He believed that opportunity comes to those who work hard, and he learned work ethic from laboring with his father and mother on the family farm. He valued education and was the first Auto-Owners associate to earn a CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) designation and was responsible for many industry “firsts,” including the Company Incentive Travel Program. Advancing from marketing rep to vice president, first vice president, executive vice president, president, and CEO and chairman of the board, Max retired in 1990, leaving a professional legacy that continues to honor him and the business he loved, at Auto-Owner’s “H. Max Tanner Memorabilia Room” in Lansing and Auto-Owners “H. Max Tanner Building” in Traverse City.
Following retirement Max and Lou resided in Oro Valley (Tucson) and Traverse City.
Hallmarks of Max’s personal life were his love of family, friends and travel. Holidays and special occasions were always joyous family/friend gatherings. Max and Lou traveled the world both with Auto-Owners and on their own, accompanied by special friends and family.