We Remember

TANNER, James Edward

January 14, 1950 — September 18, 2022

Jim was born in Calgary, AB to John Willis and Frances Mary (née Kennon) Tanner, as the oldest child of four. The family lived for several years in California, USA, and returned to Calgary in 1963.

After completing a Civil Engineering degree and working in this field for several years, Jim decided to follow his true passion and return to the University of Calgary to obtain a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts.

In 1983, Jim moved to Kelowna, BC, to take a job as a professor of painting and drawing at Okanagan College. He continued to teach these subjects at the University of British Columbia Okanagan until his retirement in 2014.

In Kelowna, Jim and his wife, Dianne, had two children, Aria and Mark, in whom they fostered a love of travel, knowledge, music, and nature.

Jim was an accomplished mountaineer, and throughout his life embarked on countless climbing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, and skiing adventures in and around the Rocky Mountains, the Okanagan Valley, coastal BC, and various countries in Asia, Europe, and South America. Jim’s love of nature led to meeting his wife and to many lifelong friendships.

Jim also enjoyed painting, listening to CBC Radio, singing and playing his guitar, studying French, running, and reading on a wide range of subjects.

Jim lived a long and joyful life, passing away shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His loving family was at his side until the end.

While the beauty of the universe is undimmed by Jim’s passing, it has lost a wonderful man who was adept at appreciating it, and at sharing that appreciation with everyone he encountered.

In addition to his wife and children, Jim is survived by his sisters, Megan (Gordon) Mackey, Ruth Lachance, and Sherry Sartorelli, as well as his nieces and nephews and their children.

Condolences may be expressed to the family via inmemoryofjet@gmail.com, and a gathering to celebrate his life will be held in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Ecojustice Canada, www.ecojustice.ca.

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Ecojustice Canada Link: act.earthjustice.org




  • Beverley McCauley says:

    To Mark and Family .
    So very sorry for your great loss.
    You are in our prayers.
    Love Bev and Bob McCauley

  • Bryan and Margaret Ryley says:

    So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I always loved Jim for his passion for equality and care and concern for others and for the natural world. We shared many fine moments as colleagues, building a program that put students at the centre, a concern that Jim often championed in his quiet manner. He was a wonderful caring man, who we deeply respected and will miss.

  • Pam and Ted Simper says:

    Our condolences to Dianne, Mark and Aria. We will treasure our memories of times spent with Jim in the mountains skiing and climbing and on the ocean kayaking. So privileged to have had him as a friend.

  • BRIAR CRAIG says:

    So very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Jim’s measured and thoughtful approach to students and student learning helped to make the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Okanagan University College and subsequently UBC Okanagan a very human-centred place to work and learn. Jim’s name comes up frequently whenever talking with former students and I am sure his influences will continue to be seen in those artists’ work for many years to come.

  • Michael V. Smith says:

    Oh this is sad news. Jim was such an excellent colleague. Nobody saw the small details like Jim. He caught all kinds of little errors, because he had an amazing eye. And his paintings! Such meticulous, careful work. I greatly admired Jim. He was super kind to me when I started my job at UBCO too. He never made me think a question was too dumb, even if it was. He had the patience of a saint. I’m sending great heaps of hugs to his family and friends. What a sad loss for all of us.

  • Ruth MacLaurin says:

    So sorry to read of Jim’s sudden passing, we were colleagues for many years at Okanagan University College, Fine Arts Dept. and UBC Okanagan Creative Studies BFA program. He was an excellent caring educator, always respectful of the students’ needs and ideas. He was a good listener, considerate of others’ views-points and his attention to detail was always a positive whether that be in the studio, chatting among colleagues or in our department meetings. Jim was a kind thoughtful person and he will be greatly missed. Please accept my deepest condolences Dianne and family at your heartfelt loss.

  • Jeff Goldie and Sarah Cashmore says:

    Our sincere condolences to Dianne, Aria and Mark. We have many wonderful memories of time spent with Jim and we will miss his insight, passion for life, and wit.

  • Johann James Feught says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Jim Tanner’s passing and want to send my condolences to Jim’s wife Dianne and extended family.
    I was a Colleague to Jim for many years both at OUC in the nineties and at UBCO until my retirement in 2013.
    At UBCO both our offices were next to each other where lending a hand with something took place quit often. Over the years, our teaching schedules would overlap often where sharing of the same teaching studio was common and I was able to catch a glimpse of Jim teaching and discuss something with his students and saw various directives for them still evident on the chalk or marker boards which always impressed me.
    During many forth year exhibitions we happen to be paired going about the various gallery rooms discussing the students work on display for a final evaluation and I was always impressed by the knowledgeable and open mind he bought to our process.
    I have always perceived Jim as a somewhat shy and reserved person who gave his all to his art teachings, his own art with an eye for detail.
    Jim and I had Mountain hiking and the love for the outdoors in common and shared many stories of our them there days doing just that in and around the Alberta and BC Mountain ranges.
    I will always be thinking of Jim as a special lovely man.

  • Christopher Walter says:

    I had Jim for drawing class at OUC and even years later I reminisce with former alumni how it was never a dull moment with his dry wit, enthusiastic lectures, and anecdotes from his earlier days in engineering, even almost 30 years later.

    He ultimately was a great instructor and unique personality that will be greatly missed.

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