Mari Lee Tanner, 85, of Pioneer, CA, died Friday, Dec. 26, 2014 in Pioneer. She was born Oct. 9, 1929, the daughter of the late Edward and Ruth Zentner.
She graduated from Falls City High School in 1947 and married Melvin Brannin after graduation. They later divorced.
Mari Lee worked many years for Dr. Robert Heinz. She was a member and choir director for many years at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Falls City, and also sang for many weddings and funerals over the years. Her love for horses started when she was a young girl on the farm northwest of Falls City, even riding the family horse “Prince” to Maple Grove School for years. In later years, she rode Prince from the farm to Falls City to participate in the Horseplay Days Parade.
She married Pat Tanner and they lived in Montana for many years. He died in 2003. She later moved to northern California and Nevada, where her love of horses continued and she performed volunteer work for the Bureau of Land Management, and also adopted a mustang colt.
For the last four years of her life she lived in Pioneer with her daughter, Denise Blackwell, her horse “Smoke” and her dog, “Rosie.”
Mari Lee is survived by daughters, Denise Blackwell, of Pioneer, Tamara Brannin, of Sparks, NV, Stephanie Tanner, of Concord, CA; sons, Gary Brannin, of Wilsonville, OR, and Mark Brannin, of Thornton, CO; granddaughters, Jennifer Boschker and Sophie Speek, both of Concord, April, Saylor and Amanda Brannin, all of Portland, OR, Mandi Lee Gallagher Zbinden, of Sun River, MT; great-granddaughters, Gracie Zbinden, of Sun River, and Penny Saylor, of Portland; nephew, Dennis Heinzelman, of Falls City; niece, Judy Dixon, of Grass Valley, CA; and many cousins in Falls City and surrounding areas.
She was preceded in death by her parents; twin brother, Donald L. Zentner; brother, Edward William Zentner; sister, Arlene Heinzelman Clarke; and daughter, Angela Gallagher.
At her wishes, her body was cremated, and a memorial service is planned for a later date. Her ashes will be scattered in her beloved Montana.