Catherine Gail Tanner, “Cathy”, was born on August 27, 1956, to parents Marlin Fred Tanner and Vema Ruth Williams Tanner in Linden, TN. Her siblings were older brother Ricky Dale Tanner, younger brother Joseph Lynn Tanner, and sister Pamela Jean Tanner. Cathy passed away at her home on June 1, 2023.
Cathy is survived by her first son, Jason Johnson, wife Amanda, and granddaughters Olivia and Marlynn; second son, Justin Johnson, wife Jessica, and grandson Henry; her brother Joey Tanner, wife Julia; nephew Aaron Tanner; niece Ashley Adams, husband Jeremy; and niece Mallery Sodeman, husband Rob; as well as many cousins, aunts, uncles, and in-laws.
Cathy’s mother, Vema, was her best friend. They would clean the house together every week just to spend time together and then go eat at Shoney’s. When her mother died, she would often say, “I can’t wait until I wake up next to her in Paradise.”
Cathy loved to shop, especially for jewelry, designer purses, and boots. TJ Maxx was her favorite store. She was known to surprise family members with gifts, home makeovers, and toys for the kids. Her generosity knew no bounds. She loved with all of her heart.
A perfect day for Cathy would simply be sitting by the pool with a good, salted margarita, listening to country music, and reading one of her celebrity gossip magazines. She was captivated by Lady Diana’s life, reading every story and watching every documentary. She became an expert on someone she could relate to, who also fiercely loved her two sons. Cathy was a “mama bear.” She defended Jason and Justin to anyone, including their dad. She loved them through their teenage years, which included a garage band where she had a special seat front and center. The two amigos were the joys of her life.
The Johnsons were an outdoorsy family; you might have called them “lake people.” Cathy loved nature and was a force of nature. She drove the boat as good as any man, ranging from competition skiing to getting her nieces, nephews, and friends up on water skis. She was the designated boat driver and would spend hours pulling her sons behind the boat. Justin said she never complained when he fell every 10 seconds learning new tricks on his wakeboard; she’d just whip the boat around and pick him up. She had a need for speed, loved the power and the feeling of control, and kept all of her vehicles spotless.
Cathy was an all-around country girl. She loved gardening and being outside. She loved horses and, much like horses, was absolutely terrified of snakes. She loved Chanel perfume, and all her friends knew when she was near. She was particular about her hair, entrusting a single person with her blonde locks for decades. She loved country music, especially George Strait.
Our friend Cathy was generous, loved her family, and enjoyed life, laughter, and a good fight. This was her legacy. Whenever she said goodbye, this is what she would say: “I love you, baby.”