Vivian E. Tanner

November 20, 1927April 16, 2021

Vivian E. Tanner passed away on Friday, April 16, 2021. Vivian was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio and lived to be 93. She was the daughter of Helen and Otto and was the eldest of their three children, a sister, Eleanor, two years younger and a brother, Donnie, 7 years younger. They lived in the same house until she married at age 19, almost 20. She always had a mind of her own even in her youth. The neighbor kids would knock on the door when she was around 4 or 5 and want her to come out and tell them what kind of games to play. I kind of like to believe it was from that point onward she got the idea...'hmm...people like it when I call the shots'...and so it continued, for the rest of her Mom calling the shots! Her first job was in the bakery during the Summer vacations from school. Then she went onto being a switchboard operator for Ohio Bell in downtown Toledo, to and from work by bus.

She had a few boyfriends in high school, but no one ever swept her off her feet like my Dad did...a Marine...Christmas Eve, Midnight Mass, sitting in the back of Church where she entered all 'decked-out' which was of her favorite sayings...He was offering to sell her a seat for $5.00 of which she just smiled and acted cool and demure. He offered her no ride home on that cold snowy night but was waiting outside the telephone company where she worked the next day. The other girls nudged her when they noticed him but she acted all cool like she didn't see him...he then tooted his horn and the game was over...they quickly fell in love and married in November the following year. It was precisely 9 months to the day of that wedding night that my brother Jimmy was born into their lives. She would end up following my Dad for his out of town job assignments and they even bought an Airstream Travel trailer so they would have a place of their own during those times. I was born 5 years after my brother, so the need to get more settled was becoming more pronounced. A nice three bedroom home in a friendly neighborhood was just the ticket to build those memories of the 50's. Her sister and brother were also raising families by then and they had their own homes too. Many a birthday party were held in Mom's basement or Aunt Eleanor's while my Grandpa provided his talented melodies on his accordion. In 1962, my Father grew weary of his Asbestos labors, that required him to work under severe cold conditions. He decided it was time to move to Florida where the cold temperatures would be less severe for his bones; and so Dad fulfilled his dreams and Mom went right along with him and left her house she so dearly loved, and her sister and brother and all her memories of Toledo as she set out for a new life in the Sunshine state. We settled in Seminole in 1963. Mom found herself the ace of many trades. She still has a family to finish raising, she now lived in a mobile home, with 35 lots to oversee, 2 apartments, 4 cottages and a pool, all requiring every ounce of her energy, time and devotion. My Dad would work full time with his Asbestos jobs and she would labor throughout the day in the mobile home park and all of it's endless demands...renting cottages, cleaning cottages, mowing grass, vacuuming a pool, trimming, edging, sweeping, laying sod, dealing with renters various dispositions, the heat, her laundry that she'd hang on a clothesline, cooking a warm meal every night for dinner, getting up with my Dad at 4am to make sure he had a warm breakfast before he left for work, his lunch was intricately prepped and ready in his brown bag...she'd even remove the white stringy strands from his oranges and section them in a baggie so they would be as easy as candy for him to eat! Last but not least in that scenario, there was always a folded towel, along with a pair of clean white socks and white t-shirt placed on top for him to change into after his shower...of this she would term 'his-layette'. She would work as hard as she could all week long including the mowing of a 2 to 3 hour job so that he could relax on his weekends and not have to work! She saw how hard he labored in the hot Sun in Cape Canaveral and vowed silently within to do all possible to keep him out of the heat. This is how intensely she loved my Dad. He was her world, her strength, her life and they were together for 64 years. They shared in the delight of becoming Grandparents to 5 grandchildren over the years, who in turn had children of their own adding 7 great grandchildren, 1 great great grandchild and to add to the list a blessing of an 8th great grandchild on the way. Her heart continued to yearn for my Dad long after the embers lost their glow. She loved with such passion and devotion. Her birthdate is represented by the King of Hearts in the deck of cards and so it was that in her passing, her heart would be the last to go...

A loving Tribute to Mom... Living life to the fullest, her spontaneity of character, unwavering style of uniqueness and talent for speaking her mind like no other I have ever known in this life is my Mother whom I affectionately refer to as ‘Ma…and I have no idea how many times a day I repeated the mantra of “Oh Ma…” She was an endless tirade of verbalized thoughts, concerns, worries and must-do’s…and when added to my already to-do-list in my own head, could prove to be quite overwhelming at times; as her concerns were repeated until that particular to-do item had been completed. I quickly learned to do things as soon as possible when it was mentioned or the list would grow too long for me to bear! It wasn’t long before I realized that her thought processes were in rapid sequence to my own.

No matter what thought was going through my head or hers, we were so synchronized, she’d even emerge from her room wearing the same color choice. Life was never dull under our roof. Our style of bantering was speaking our own mind, without any punches, going on and on back and forth, mutually objecting with one another or in some cases in agreement upon issues we felt the same way about; but no matter how long we took to try to reach an objective we always had to laugh at the situation. Life just felt like a continual comedy movie living with Ma. Most of my efforts to explain myself were too lengthy for her to listen to so she’d either tell me ‘please no sermons today’ or ‘you’re putting me to sleep’…my determination to explain were quickly dissolved into a spell of laughter once again…as she had ‘won’ once again! We lived together these past 10 years and I grew to know and understand her from all the various episodes and events she shared about every stage of her life. The tragic, the sad and the happy moments, and it gave me a deeper insight into her invincibility of strength and wisdom. I witnessed her emotional pain as she anguished over the deaths of her beloved Son, and my Dad two years later. There was the first grade teacher that not only failed her, but prevented her from participating in her First Holy Communion with the rest of her classmates; and then having to repeat that grade with that very same teacher the following year! Failing typing class in high school because her teacher didn’t like her, but her Summer school teacher passed her with flying colors and said that her speed was superb! These two instances fortified her as well as her Father’s urgings to ‘don’t take any crap from anybody’ and to ‘stand up for yourself’…and she reverently honored his guidelines by living up to those words. She was the strongest woman I have ever known and also the most sensitive. She was blessed far more reverently than any obstacle that sprang forth in her youth. She met the man of her dreams, my Dad, in Church at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. He was home for Christmas from the Marines, and from that point forward, it was a whirlwind of a romance remaining that way for 64 years until his passing in 2011. Our 10 years together consisted of many trials and tribulations, Alaskan 21 day tour, cruising the Caribbean, driving to and from Ohio, shopping beyond a normal human beings capacity to keep up with the woman, the births of great grandchildren, social events upon social events, parties, medical appointments, business appointments, home maintenance decisions, 5 different lawn companies, family dramas ranging from ecstatic to heartbreaking disbelief…harboring 14 family members and 2 pets during a major hurricane, termite tenting of the house, the holidays we made special even if we were alone and the many TCM and Hallmark Movies that filled our hearts, if it had to do with romance…we were there! She adored Clark Gable and Tyrone Power because they reminded her of my Dad. She’d gladly watch any western, especially if it had John Wayne in it; and she had a crush on Errol Flynn of which my beloved former brother-in-law reminded her of and she loved any movie with Kirk Douglas as well. Any movie to do about the Lord’s last days or his torments, she would put herself through those every time they came on, along with a box of tissues. Yes, those 10 years were roller coaster years with my Mom. She always wanted to be on the go, and she loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren and thought about them all the time. Her hearts greatest desire was to be the best Grandmother she could be partly because she never had one when she was growing up so she wanted none of them to ever feel that heart wrenching emptiness that eats at your soul. She was always eager to go to the only restaurants in town and there were two of them in her opinion, The Frog Pond and E&E Stakeout Grill. She loved their food and she loved the servers that served her the food, if she could laugh and joke with them was the icing on the cake…and they in return loved her. She met many lovely people at the Frog Pond of which she was an avid patron for over 30 years; many became lifelong friends and connections to which she passionately valued throughout her times there. She was the Matriarch of our Family and the instigator behind every reason under the sun to go out to eat and celebrate. She could make the best pie crust I’ve ever had in my life, bake cookies in huge mass numbers, make lasagna that would melt in your mouth, bar-b-que beef sandwiches from scratch shredded to perfection and seasoned just right, German potato salad done in the pressure cooker, minced ham--grinding it into sumptuous particles of flavorful bliss. A simple meatloaf also would take on a life of it’s own, it seemed to just melt in your mouth without even the need to chew. Needless to say, she enjoyed her time in the kitchen, as she’d plan in her mind how many cookies she needed to make so all her loved ones would get the same amount to take home. She was a very unique Mother and all my friends thoroughly enjoyed being around her and loved to hear her comments, of which I was the obligingly her victim to a degree. So now here we are now and our paths are in different realms. I have no doubt that she is and will be forever with me and that she will find ways to let me know when she is around, which is exactly what I told her for many years. We are alike in many ways, just as much as we are different in many ways. The lessons we experienced together, as well as her lessons in life have prepared me to continue on in her place, holding the family torch with love and humor. Remembering those that have passed, honoring the achievements of their legacies and creating a template for future generations to follow; that love and respect for one another is what holds the key to the future we all hope to see.

God Bless You Mom…I love you and I thank-you for being in my life for the last six decades plus! How lucky was I to have my Mom in my life for that many years…but there is no doubt you are with my Dad now, and forever may you two souls remain lovingly intertwined of heart, mind and spirit for eternity and beyond…! You will live in my heart forever Mom. All my love, Robenette.

Arrangements were made under the direction of Garden Sanctuary Funeral Home 7950 131st Street N., Seminole, Florida 33776 / 727-391-0121


  • Robenette Coulson, Daughter

  • Suncoast Hospice Foundation


13 May

Memorial Mass

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church

11565 66th Ave N
Seminole, Florida 33772


Vivian E. Tanner

have a memory or condolence to add?

Donald Mahoney

May 10, 2021

Tanner Family,
Please accept my condolences on the recent loss of Vivian, a truly remarkable gift from God. A gift that you had the , honor to share with us, only a few of her many admirers. Truly a combination of the personalities of Auntie Mame , Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett and a host of other entertainers that kept us laughing, never suspecting what was going to come out of her mouth next, and enjoying life with her.

As soon as we would walk into the Frog Pond she smiled beamingly and invited us over to give us a big smooch. Always with such a warm welcome. Stewart was especially fond of talking about the "good old days" as they went on and on about things the way they were. She spoke with such sincerity and warm concern to me at the time of Stewart's passing. I will never forget her. I feel special for the many times she made me feel special. No doubt in my mind that she has everyone "up yonder" laughing so hard that.....well you know what she would have said.

Farewell, my dear friend. May you rest in peace and enjoy the rewards that have been prepared for you .

Jim Tanner

May 5, 2021

Part 2 of 2.

...she was a woman that would do anything she could to help someone. She was always there to talk to or bounce ideas off, just listen or joke around (we all know she loved to joke around and no topic was off limits with her). She was a very understanding woman and didn’t hold grievances against anyone. I’ll cherish the vacation memories with her and Grandpa, the times the three of us just sat and talked during my visits and the fun times we had at dinner or breakfast at all their favorite breakfast places (until they discovered the Frog Pond and that became our go to place). Grandma loved David, Bill and Dennis as though they were part of our family and always passed along to me her adventures with them. Family. Grandma loved family! Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all held their own special place in her heart, no matter what. She had a huge heart which made being with her during the passing of my Father and Grandfather ever so difficult. A piece of her died with each of them, but she pushed on and redirected that love towards the rest of the family. Grandma liked to tell me decisions or actions she took or was going to be taking to help other family members and I felt privileged to be there for her to confide in and trust my judgement. I always made sure she got something on Mother’s Day, because she was like a mother to me and deserved it. I was glad to have spent some time with her recently, holding her hand and talking to her. I had a feeling it would be the last time I saw her, so I made sure she knew that I loved her so much. Now a piece of me has died and I will miss you forever Grandma.

Jim Tanner

May 5, 2021

Part 1 of 2.


That word doesn’t cover what she was to me, as she was the most incredible woma. I spent so much of my life with her and Grandpa. Remembering back to swimming with her in the mobile home park pool as a kid, telling her not to splash me as I didn’t want to get wet! She was always laughing and joking, like the time I was helping her trim bushes around the pool and she sent me up the ladder to get some branches…only for me to find a big black snake sunning itself, to the times she would put an old Halloween mask on and come out scaring us kids (clearly led to me loving anything horror related). Throughout the years I spent a large amount of time with her and Grandpa around the park, as other family had moved away or were just busy with life. I learned to know them both very well and Grandma was always there to nurture me and give me anything I needed. She kept Grandpa and I fed and watered as we worked around the park during the summers and was always baking me her famous chocolate cheesecake or my favorite chocolate and peanut butter chip chocolate cookies. They both were there when I needed help with college and even made a surprise visit to me during my basic training in the Army. I’m sure the look on my face was priceless when I came down after being called down by the Captain no less, scared to death I was in trouble, to see both of them sitting there smiling back at me! After being stationed in South Korea, I received a box in the mail from Grandma and inside I found a couple dozen of my favorite cookies…individually wrapped in bubble wrap and not one broken! Grandma cared that much. Not just about me, but all of her family and friends...

Karen Woodward

May 2, 2021

I remember Vivian as a sprightly woman fluttering around, dusting and vacuuming as her daughter Robbie and I watched Route 66 in her Toledo, Ohio living room in the early 1960’s. Years later, when I visited Robbie at the house she shared with her mom in Seminole, Florida, she was vacuuming. She had a central vacuuming system! I don’t think she could find the little girl that was me in my old lady face and she didn’t mince words. What a character!
I’ll always have a warm place in my heart for the direct, honest, energetic woman who was Robbie’s beloved “Ma”.

Martin Goldman

April 28, 2021

Robenette I am so sorry to hear of your moms passing. What a wonderful life lived and what Beautiful memories For you and your family. I am glad you and your families Got to spend Such quality time together duringThese last years . Your mom Will be greatly missed . Sending you comfort and prayers at this time. Marty

David Hitterman

April 25, 2021

As people that you may have crossed in the years that have touched your heart, no couple I have known have left on my heart the lovingness ,caring, devotedness that has struck my heart. As I called them many decades ago as Mr. and Mrs Tanner that sound ended as I was told by bob those where my parents call us Bob and Vivian. Who would ever think a dear friendship would develop always including us in most of the events for your action where as the age we where never think as the two of you as our seninors. Bob was always the perfect gentlemen adoring his wife Vivian through love hard work and always by each others side for many years is unbelievable. We where never looked upon for our beliefs and sexuality they where the most understanding people I have ever meant. For as long as I look back I have been blessed from the day our paths have crossed god have taken an angle for your deeds are not done your are finally reunited with bob the one and only the love of your life. We will be together soon and the memories will follow through I am gone to miss the days of calling you granny as you walk into the frog pond with that smile from cheek to cheek. You have no idea how much you will be missed as I tear up writing this thinking about the memories and time we spent together.No one has touch me so much as you and bob save space for me and a scotch and water . Love always my dear and give bob a great big hug LOVE David Frog Pond

Cari T

April 25, 2021

Friday morning my great-grandmother, Vivian Tanner, passed on from this life. She was 93. She was a party girl. She was unpredictable. She was out spoken. She was a breast cancer survivor. She was an avid ice-cream consumer. She wanted 2 vodka martinis at the end of the night, and a hamburger for every other lunch. She like her coffee black and her jewelry gold. She was a Frog Pond regular and my favorite breakfast companion. She loved her husband deeply, even 10 years after his passing and she loved sharing memories over food. I've spoken often about my "crazy" great grandma to many friends and extended family. As I've transitioned into adulthood, I've been so blessed to have spent so much time with her, including our weekly breakfasts. I can't thank her enough for bringing me closer to my family, including my cousins, my beautiful and loving Aunt Theresa, and her ever-patient caregiver/chauffeur/social secretary, my Aunt Robenette. I know she loved me deeply and I'll always cherish so many memories with her. She lived through a changing world and did her best to keep up with it. I know she's happy to be with her husband and son again, but I miss her so much. Cheers to 93 amazing years Oma Cookoo. I hope to be as beautiful and strong willed as you always were.

Robenette Coulson

April 25, 2021

Living life to the fullest, her spontaneity of character, unwavering style of uniqueness and talent for speaking her mind like no other I have ever known in this life is my Mother whom I affectionately refer to as ‘Ma…and I have no idea how many times a day I repeated the mantra of “Oh Ma….” She was an endless tirade of verbalized thoughts, concerns, worries and must-do’s…

God Bless You Mom…I love you and I thank-you for being in my life for the last six decades plus! How lucky was I to have my Mom in my life for that many years…but there is no doubt you are with my Dad now, and forever may you two souls remain lovingly intertwined of heart, mind and spirit for eternity and beyond…!

Theresa & Bob Matus

April 20, 2021

Saying goodbye to a very special, one of a kind lady is a difficult task. Vivian will be fondly remembered by so many people. Visits at the Frog Pond, parties and the Caribbean cruise will remain in our hearts forever. Bob and I will celebrate her beautiful life and pray that she will REST IN PEACE as she enters her next phase that GOD has in store for her. I feel like Bob is waiting for her with open arms. 🙏🙏🙏🙏

Jan & Greg Fry

April 19, 2021

Robbi and Family,
Greg and I are so sorry for your loss. Our memories of Vivian can never be taken away. Her personality was one in a million. We will miss her always. Jan & Greg Fry