School 14

Bonnie Sue (O'Bryant) Tanner

March 29, 1941 ~ July 5, 2021 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Bonnie Tanner Obituary

Bonnie O. Tanner, Ph.D., 80, wife of Jim Tanner Ph.D., of Harrodsburg, died Monday, July 5, 2021 at her home. Born March 29, 1941, in Louisville, she was the daughter of the late J. Earl O'Bryant and Adelee Hoefler O’Bryant.

Bonnie retired in June of 2006 and following retirement she served as the Coordinator for Special Projects, Office of the Associate Dean for Extension and Director Cooperative Extension in 2006-2007 as a post retirement position. She retired as the Assistant Director, Family & Consumer Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, UK College of Agriculture and Associate Dean of the College of Human and Environmental Sciences and served in that position from 1998-2006.

Previously, she held positions of program leadership, administration and management and policy at the United States Department of Agriculture and worked in the Office of the Secretary for three secretaries. She was appointed to run the USDA Food and Fitness Program coordinating activities of 23 federal agencies and was the executive director of the Agricultural Women's Leadership Network. In addition, she served on several White House and national committees on rural economic development, National School Feeding Programs, Small Farmer and Farmer's Markers and the Competitiveness of American Agriculture, Department of Labor Women's Bureau and Small Business Administration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Indices, and as an educator in family and consumer sciences and a Home Economics Extension Agent.

Throughout her career she encouraged and implemented the formation of strategic partnerships, collaboration and alliances with other government agencies, nonprofit organizations, foundations and appropriate private groups to carry out the mission of the federal agencies and organizations in which she was employed. She authored numerous publications, program reports and Reports to Congress. She presented papers at the International Conference for Women in Agriculture and national organizations and programs across the country. In addition, she was author of the book, "The Entrepreneurial Characteristics of Farm Women," published by Garland Press. She received many awards and recognitions, as well as was recognized nationally by many agricultural and other organizations.

She received her Ph.D., and MS from the University of Maryland and BS from the University  of  Kentucky. She was active in church and community organizations and served as a Board Member for Partner for Family Farms, Kentucky Women in Agriculture co-founder, Lexington Directions, Habitat for Humanity president, church vestry, Mercer County Fair Advisory Committee, Chair of the UK Art Museum advisory board and White Elephant Sale Chair from 2007-2009, Kentucky Society of DC Intern Interview Chair from 1999 to present and the Danville Garden Club President and 2007 Flower Show co-chair and a previous member of the James Harrod Trust, KET Friends Board, President of the Kentucky Society of DC, and imitated the Henry Clay Distinguished Kentuckian Award and the Henry Clay Intern program. In addition, she was president-elect of the National organization of State Societies and was chair of the Cherry Blossom Festival and the princess luncheon, Board of Directors of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture.

Bonnie enjoyed retirement with Jim and worked in historic preservation, art and antique collecting. Jim, a retired scientist from the FDA has an antique business, collects fountain pens, banjos, guitars, coin silver and watches. He is a member of the Bluegrass Bureaucracy where he plays guitar and banjo and serves on many boards. They have one beloved dog, JJ.

Survivors, in addition to her husband, include: one brother, James (Arlene) O'Bryant of Dixon, Tennessee; one sister-in-law, Vicky T. Thurman of Harrodsburg; two nieces, M. Margaret (Charlie) Lopresto of Harrodsburg and Elizabeth "Libby" (Michael) Nealy of Bowling Green; two nephews, Scott O'Bryant (Cecily) of New Orleans, Louisiana and James Matthew (Michelle) O'Bryant of Clarksville, Tennessee and great-nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 am on August 7, 2021 at the St. Philips Episcopal Church in Harrodsburg with Father Bruce Boss officiating.

Sims Funeral Services is in charge of local arrangements.

Memorial contributions are suggested to St. Philips Episcopal Church, 118 W Poplar St., Harrodsburg, KY 40330 or Heritage Hospice, Inc., PO Box 1213, Danville, KY 40423.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at


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Celebration of Life
August 7, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Philips Episcopal Church
118 West Poplar Street
Harrodsburg, KY 40330


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