Obituary

Former publisher of Goldsboro News-Argus Hal Tanner Jr. dies

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Hal Hildreth Tanner Jr. is being remembered as a genuinely nice person who was committed to Wayne County and his job as publisher of the Goldsboro (North Carolina) News-Argus for nearly three decades.

Tanner, 77, died Friday, Jan. 10.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at the Tanner residence.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 200 N. James St.

Inurnment will be at noon Saturday at Willowdale Cemetery, 306 E. Elm St. Seymour Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements.

Goldsboro attorney Phil Baddour and Tanner were classmates in the Goldsboro High School Class of 1960.

"I have known Hal and his (late) wife, Linda, we were in the same high school class," Baddour said. "So, I have known him since high school. Of course, we both came back to Goldsboro and have been here for our careers.

"Hal Tanner was a respected businessman in this community, and he assumed the helm of the Goldsboro News-Argus with a firm, clear knowledge of its tradition in this community, of its importance to this community. He took his role as publisher of the News-Argus very seriously and with a clear understanding of how important it was to the progress of Goldsboro and Wayne County."

Tanner was a tireless, strong supporter of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Baddour said.

As well, he was a tireless and strong supporter of the Goldsboro-Wayne County community, he said.

"He always prompted what he felt was in its best interest," Baddour said.

That includes serving as chairman of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, he said.

"He gave service in many ways, not the least of which was as chairman of the chamber," Baddour said. "But he and Linda were friends to many. They were extremely proud of their children, as they should be.

"I can tell you that I speak not only for the community, but for the Class of 1960 when I say that he will be missed."

Tanner was a dedicated and outstanding citizen, said longtime friend Troy Pate.

"He was a real gentleman, and he was my very dear friend, and we will all miss him very much," Pate said. "I enjoyed working with him because he always did what was necessary to get the job done."

Tanner was very interested in, and took an active part in, military affairs and the Seymour Support Council and the North Carolina Commission on Military Affairs, Pate said.

Pate said he and Tanner had been friends for more than 40 years.

Tanner was an avid outdoorsman and was active in Rotary.

"He was a sportsman, and I enjoyed hunting with him," Pate said. "He was an excellent hunter."

Tanner was totally committed to the News-Argus and to the entire community, Pate said.

"He was always a loyal Rotarian," said fellow Rotarian Tommy Jarrett. "One thing that stood out to me is that he always looked like a boy to me. He still retained that boyish look. I think that is a good thing. He was always nice. He was always friendly, but he was quite matter of fact, but not in an obnoxious way.

"You know sometimes you can tell it like it is and be obnoxious. But he was pretty much matter of fact without being obnoxious."

John Walston had known Tanner for 35 years and served as the newspaper's primary attorney for about 20 years.

"My observation is that Hal's life was really defined by three things," Walston said. "That was love of his family, love of the News-Argus and love of the community."

It was always a pleasure working with Tanner whether it was for the newspaper or personal matters, Walston said.

"I respected his personality and his intellect," he said.

Tanner was publisher of the Goldsboro News-Argus for 26 years.

He retired June 1, 2010, but continued to work with the newspaper as a consultant and adviser.

Tanner worked his way up from a reporter’s position at the paper in 1962 to jobs with the Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times in Tennessee and United Press International.

He also served as editor and publisher of The Daily Comet in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and as administrative assistant at the Enterprise and Journal in Beaumont, Texas, before returning to Goldsboro to become the paper’s general manager.

He became News-Argus publisher in 1984 following in the footsteps of his father, Hal Tanner Sr., who was publisher from 1953 until 1983.

Hal Tanner Jr.

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