R. Gene Tanner

Richard Gene Tanner, 87, passed away peacefully at his home in League City, Texas on March 14, 2023.  

Born in Tomball, Texas on January 20, 1936, to James and Velma Tanner.  He grew up in the Humble Oil Camp and attended Tomball High School. After graduating in 1954 he went to University of Houston on a football scholarship. While at U of H he joined Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity where he made many lifelong friends. After two years of playing football, needing knee surgery and a torn rotator cuff he decided to hang up his spikes. In 1959 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and started his career in the Cement, sand, and gravel business. He was successful as a salesman and quickly moved up to division manager at Ideal Cement. In 1967 he married Nannette Kirkpatrick and together they had three children. The family enjoyed many summers at Champions Country Club where Gene played golf and the kids swam on the swim team. Other weekends were spent in Normangee, Texas at the family ranch, Diamond T. Many memories were made at the ranch and lots of fun times with family and friends.  

In 1992 after more than 30 years in the Cement industry he decided to retire, and the family moved to Conroe, Texas. He started a custom home building business which he worked at for seven years. In 2009 he and Nannette moved to Ruidoso, New Mexico where they had spent summers for many years prior to moving.  

Gene loved his family deeply and was always saying how blessed he was to have the life he had being a poor boy from Tomball, Tx. He also loved his U of H Cougars and had season tickets and rarely missed an opportunity to watch the Cougars play. 

He will be missed by many family members and friends.  

He is preceded in death by his parents, James and Velma Tanner, brothers, Robert (Bob) and James (Jimmie) Tanner, sister in laws, Inez Tanner and Lena Tanner, and son Master Michael Tanner. 

He is survived by his wife Nannette, children Tiffany Shafer (Scott), Terri Brown (David), Richard Tanner Jr, niece Judy Tanner and grandchildren Erin Evans (Koarum), Becca Shafer, Jacob Brown, Katherine Brown, and Avery Tanner.  

A memorial service will be held at Crowder’s Funeral home in League City on March 31, 2023, at 2:00pm. 

We are going to wear red to honor his love of his University of Houston Cougars.  

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cougar Pride, in Memory of Gene Tanner, University of Houston Athletics, 3204 Cullen Blvd Suite 2004 Houston, Tx 77204-6002. 


  1. He was truly a great Cougar supporter and fan, loved and respected by the entire University of Houston family. He will be sorely missed.

    Bill Patterson
  2. This was a Cougar legend!

    Greatly missed!

  3. So sorry to hear! Praying for your family.

    Trudy King
  4. I’m sorry to hear of Gene’s passing. I met Gene and Nannette at a Tomball High reunion. Gene and my husband Donald graduated in 1954 from Tomball High. They played football together at Tomball. Donald passed away in 2016.

    .Eleanor McWilliams

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