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First Name: Jack

Last Name: Tanner

Birthplace: Hillsboro, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Dempsey

Date of Birth: 29 August 1918

Date of Death: 23 February 1945

Rank: Corporal

Years Served:
Jack Dempsey Tanner

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Jack Dempsey "Dody" Tanner
Corporal, U. S. Army
World War II

The Early Years

Jack Dempsey Tanner was born on 29 August 1918 in Hillsboro, Hill County, TX. He was the son of Herman John and , Marian Elizabeth Townsend Tanner. Jack was named for the famous boxer. How did he get a name like Dody? Older baby brother Willard was nicknamed "Son," and when he tried to call the baby a dolly, he said "Dody" and the name stuck.

Dody was a very ambitious young man that always worked hard. The family lived on Florence Street in East Dallas and, at an early age, he had a paper-route there. As a young boy, he bought things for his Mother with money from his paper route. Dody graduated from Crozier Technical High School in Downtown Dallas.

Military Service

Jack joined the U.S. Army to be a paratrooper and he spent 3 months at Fort Campbell, KY. However, he hurt his leg on a jump and was transferred into the regular infantry. Christmas 1944, he came home to show his little sister how to jump off the couch like a super duper paratrooper and rock and roll! He had a girlfriend, Eileen, they were very much in love at that time. This was his last furlough over that Christmas weekend. He was sent to Germany in January.

On Sunday, 25 February 1945, a Western Union telegram was delivered saying that Dody had been killed in action on 23 February 1945. After that, his Mother never claimed to be of Dutch descent, claiming until her death she was instead "high Dutch." Dody had written his Mom earlier to tell her Holland was beautiful.

Dody was killed in action at Kranz, Germany. He was not married, so he had volunteered to stay behind enemy lines and provide "cover" for his fellow soldiers to fall back. They said that Dody drew fire upon himself and a German machine-gun nest fired on him with fatal results. To this day, his sister says: "It sounded just like him, he always thought of everyone else first."

Medals and Awards

Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart

Death and Burial

Corporal Jack Dempsey Tanner was killed in action on 23 February 1945. Initially, his body was buried in a Veteran's Cemetery in Holland. His Mother would not rest until his body was brought back to the U.S. and that took quite some time, but her efforts were successful. He is buried at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas, TX. His grave is in Section E next to his mother's. He was not buried in the Field of Honor with the other veterans at Restland since his mother brought him back on her own.

Jack was preceded in death by his father Herman John Tanner. Surviving him was his mother, Marian Elizabeth Tanner; a brother - Willard Archie Tanner and his wife Leota; and his sister Marian Elizabeth Tanner Barnes.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
How did he get a name like Dody? Older baby brother Willard was nicknamed "Son," and when he tried to call the baby a dolly, he said "Dody" and the name stuck.

Honoree ID: 2205   Created by: MHOH




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