— Tanner Lane Barton, 19, Kokomo, died Sunday, April 22, 2012. He went home to be with His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ unexpectedly. He was born July 2, 1992, in Kokomo.
A 2011 graduate of Northwestern High School, he was a Marian University Dean’s List freshman, studying physical therapy. His final year on this earth was spent influencing the Marian University football team players, coaches and staff, on the field as an offensive lineman and off the field with his infectious smile, practical jokes, serenading songs and continuously positive attitude.
Tanner touched so many that he will live on in the way he taught us to live in the moment, to laugh unhindered, and to give of oneself continuously for the joy and encouragement of others. He was blessed by the Lord with the gift of encouragement, and demonstrated to others how to see the blessings in the everyday ordinary and to have special memories in the seemingly mundane.
Tanner spent hours strumming his guitar, singing songs both requested and unsolicited. He loved playing guitar, bowling, football, and making others laugh. He did not know a stranger and would be the first to invite the new student over to the lunch table. He reached out with impromptu visits, cheerful conversation, special treats, spontaneous road trips or serenades. He spent his summer (and his earnings) working at Mr. Fireworks.
With Tanner’s passing, his loved ones’ days will always be a little less bright, but we remind ourselves and others that his life is one to be celebrated, and that we were blessed beyond measure to have been graced with his light for 19 years. He impacted hundreds for the better, especially with his infectious smile and perpetual good mood. Through his light-hearted approach to life, Tanner made his parents feel privileged and proud that he created wonderful memories for others.
Tanner’s sister, Jamison, had a strong relationship with her brother, and she will hold dear the memory of Tanner as her best friend. There is a special place in the hearts of Tanner’s loved ones for his girlfriend, Mica Hoover. Their unique friendship manifested in constant giggling. Tanner leaves behind so many new and old friends.
Tanner was able to accomplish so much. Not limited to North/South All Stars, he bowled two 300 games by age 17, broke all of Northwestern High School’s weight-lifting records, taught himself to play the guitar, and above all else, knew his Lord. He will be dearly missed by family, friends, teachers, coaches and teammates from both Marian University and Northwestern High School.
Tanner is survived by his loving parents, Jeff and Michele (Brooks) Barton; sister, Jamison Barton; paternal grandparents, Wanda Evans, Kokomo, and Clayton and Wanda Barton, Tennessee; maternal grandmother, Nancy Brooks, Peru; maternal aunt, Katherine (Brooks) Lehman, Fishers; maternal uncles, Darren Brooks, Indianapolis, Mark Brooks and Shannon Brooks; and cousin, Blaine Brooks, Westfield.
He was predeceased by his maternal grandfather, Philip E. Brooks.
Services are 1 p.m. Friday at Crossroads Community Church, Ind. 26 and U.S. 31, with Pastor Scott Hudson and Pastor Brad Marcum officiating. Burial will follow in Albright Cemetery. A celebration dinner will be held at the church following the graveside service. Visitation is 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Tanner Barton Memorial Scholarship Fund for a Northwestern Football Senior Player Pursuing College Football, c/o Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union, 201 Southway Blvd. E., Kokomo, IN 46902.
Shirley and Stout Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Messages of condolence may be left online at www.shirleyandstout.com.