Poultney Family - Tribute to Mike Tanner


Very sadly Jenny's father, Michael (Mick, Mike) Craig Tanner passed away on the night of August 25, 1999 in Zimbabwe. He was on a golf trip in the Lowveldt - one of his favourite pastimes along with fishing and boating on Kariba - and had played an excellent round of golf that day. He got up in the night to go to the bathroom and died instantly of a massive heart attack at age 66. Having been a successful cotton farmer on Golden Valley Estates in the Chakari district during the 50s and 60s, Mick moved to Swaziland in 1967 where he started working for Shell Chemicals. After a stint in Nampula, Mozambique prior to the Portugese pull-out he transferred back to Salisbury where he continued to work for Shell for some years. He then became Managing Director of SprayQuip and grew that into a large and profitable company until his retirement a few years ago. An avid golfer, Mick was a long time member of Chapman Gold Club serving many times as chairman of the board. His other most favourite organization was the Bushbabes Golf Team which he captained for many years.

Below is the tribute prepared by the Canadian family and sent over to be read at his memorial service held in the Chapel of his alma mater, Prince Edward and which was followed by a wake on the 18th hole of Chapman golf course.

A Tribute to our Grandpa and Dad from the Poultney family in Canada.

Times with Grandpa have always been times to remember. He always made sure that everyone was having a good time and was happy. I remember one such time at Bally Vaugn when we visited Zimbabwe in 1995. He showed the grand kids the wilds of Africa with such joy and excitement. When we sat down to lunch he and I both ordered a cornish pastie, finished, took one look at each other, then ordered another. That was the best day I would say of our time back in Zimbabwe and we spent it with him. God Bless, Simon

I remember the night we spent at Grandpa’s house and I remember when he showed us his two dogs and we played outside with them. Then the next morning he made us breakfast and he told us that he made the best scrambled eggs in the world - and after I tasted them, I agreed totally. To the rest of the family - just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and praying that you all will be comforted during this tough time. God Bless - Bronwen

So many memories of great times spent with Mick doing the things he loved so much – golfing, fishing, eating out, his work and just talking to people. I will always remember how he loved to have us over to Chapman for dinner. The car would be parked right outside the manager’s office window so that the kids could sleep in the back, watched over by the security guard, while we enjoyed the meal which he would order with such a flourish.

The week I spent at Tiger Tournament with him in 1986 is an experience I’ll never forget. We didn’t catch a thing but many bottles of beer and vit blitz helped ease the pain !

However the most enduring anecdote, as many of you will appreciate, is from the time that I was playing a round of golf with him at Troutbeck and he was giving me some pointers on how to improve my game. To be more specific – to stop lifting my head and duffing the ball. He said, "Imagine that you have a loop of string around your neck with a big hook on it, hanging between your legs. Now imagine what is going to happen if you lift your head too quickly as you swing !!" Needless to say, to this day, I cannot play a game of golf without remembering this astute piece of advice !

Thanks Mick for the wonderful times. Hamba gashle baba. God Bless you all. Love from Gordon.

I remember that Grandpa used to do what was called "boomies" with us. He would gently knock his forehead against mine and say "boomies" ! I remember when Grandpa came to visit us in Canada and we went to the Rockie Mountains. We all went up a mountain in a cable car and he loved the beautiful views of the mountains, the rivers and the valleys. I’ll miss you. Lots of love, Johanna.

Dad – you taught me how to live life to the full, to be optimistic, to be brave, to not be afraid to ‘pick up’ the pieces and start again when things crash. You taught me to hold my head up high and walk tall, wherever life takes me. You taught me to stop and appreciate the beauty of our world; the sunsets at Kariba; the smell of the air in the early morning on the lake; the magnificence of an elephant. You taught me that playing hard and having fun are as important as working hard. You taught me to be punctual by always being there, right on time, for me ! You taught me to make memories with the people we love.

Thank you, Dad, for many, many happy memories; too numerous to mention now of course, except a few. I can hear you laughing as you watched the people around you having fun. Dad, we loved the general knowledge quizzes around the dining table ! We loved it when you let us jump inside bales of freshly picked cotton ! We loved being on a boat with you fishing in Mozambique and Kariba ! I loved all your letters Dad. You were so good about writing – too bad some of that didn’t rub off on me ! Dad, it was so wonderful when you showed up, just as you always said that you would, on my 18
th birthday and took me out to dinner at the ‘Top of the Sun’ in Bulawayo. You made me feel like royalty. Dad we loved all the ridiculous nicknames you had for family members and friends. Only you, Dad, could tell me that I have feet ‘like boats‘ and get away with it !

We don’t fully understand why these things happen when they do. I take comfort in knowing that you received a letter from me saying "I love you" just a few days before you went. Also that you died after a day doing what you loved to do, with the people that you loved, in the country that you loved !

Thank you from Tony, Angy and me to every single one of you who is here today to pay tribute to our Dad. Please take comfort in these words from our loving Father in Heaven found in the book of Romans, Chapter 5, verses 3 and 4 : "Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope."

Put your Hope in God and his ability to infuse suffering with purpose. And Hope that, because of God’s healing power, our sorrow will not go on forever. Love each other, forgive each other and tell someone dear to you that you love them – today !

God Bl
ess you all, love from Jenny.