(1922 – 2012)
Elna Tanner was a lady who believed in Alabama families. She grew up in Morgan County, Alabama, and received degrees from Auburn University and the University of Tennessee in home economics. She taught school at Falkville High before working for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System for 37 years.
She began her career with Extension in Marion County, where she taught food and food preservation, clothing and home improvement, and financial management. The Expanded Foods and Nutrition Program (EFNEP) was a pilot program under Ms. Tanner’s leadership. Program Assistants worked with low-income families who used commodity products to ensure good nutrition in the family.
She was one of four District Agents for Home Economics in ACES. She worked the twenty-two-county region of North Alabama. In that position, she counseled Extension staff on furthering their education while providing excellent research-based programs for their counties. She also encouraged staff members to join professional organizations that would give them formal training and networking with other staff.
Ms. Tanner served as president of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science – Alabama Affiliate, and of the Alabama Association of Family and Consumer Science. The Elna Tanner Award is presented each year by AlAFCS to Extension staff who model excellence in programming. Ms. Tanner was also a member of the International Home Economics Association.
She loved to travel and often attended national meetings. With retirement, she spent time with her sisters and brother. She continued to travel, with her last trip being to New Zealand.
Elna Tanner inspired Extension staff to improve their educational status and to improve their educational programs. Epsilon Sigma Phi is deeply honored to place her name on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 577