Valdosta Daily Times


April 12, 2014

Tanner David “Dave” Knox

-- — Tanner David “Dave” Knox of Hahira passed away on April 11, 2014 at age 86. Dave was born on September 25, 1927, in Citronelle, AL. He grew up in Mobile, AL and attended Old Shell Road Elementary, Barton Academy, Murphy High School and the University of Maryland.

From an early age his aunt, Marguerite Lemons (deceased), taught him that his movie-star good-looks would only get him so far; if he really wanted to get the girls he would need to learn how to dance. Taking her advice to heart, Dave not only learned how to dance, but has even been called a certifiable Fred Astaire. His dancing skills were put to good use allowing him to dazzle the likes of Ann Sheridan, whom he danced with at the Hollywood Canteen during his WWII tour with the Navy. This talent helped him woo his own personal Ginger Rogers- Columbus, GA beauty, Dolores “Dee” Vining – whom he has been married to for over 64 years.

Together, Dave and Dee saw the world while raising four children: Tanner David Knox, Jr., Michele Knox, Cynthia Knox Cochran (deceased), and Pamela Knox Burckel. Their adventures with the U.S. Army led them to such far-flung places as Carmel, CA; Columbia, SC; Heidelberg, Germany; Lawton, OK; Vicenza, Italy, Livorno, Italy and Washington, DC. His tenure with the Army included combat roles in the Korean Conflict and Vietnam – the latter for which he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service.

After Dave retired from the Army, he followed in the footsteps of his father, William Henry Knox (deceased), and became a detective for Norfolk-Southern Railway. This new career led the family to New Orleans, LA and eventually Hahira, GA where he was responsible for a region stretching from northern Florida to Macon, GA. Railroad crossing safety was a particular passion of Dave’s, and was something that he lectured about frequently at local schools and to all of his newly-licensed grandchildren. Dave also enjoyed building and displaying models trains for his friends, family and community.

When Dave retired from the railroad in 1988, it allowed him time to pursue his adventurous hobbies, sailing and flying. His sailboat excursions included trips on the Potomac River, Mississippi River (yes, he sailed the length of it like Huckleberry Finn), and the Florida Keys (like Ernest Hemmingway). His, “tail-dragger,” Aeronca Chief was dear to his heart as it is the same model of plane that he flew to take Dee on their honeymoon in 1949. He attended numerous national air shows in his plane and was an active member of local airports, participating in the annual Thomasville fly-in for several years. Dave loved sharing these hobbies and skills with others including his children, grandchildren, and other local children.

Dave had a passion for a variety of music, especially songs from the Big Band era. He also enjoyed attending Broadway musicals at VSU and other venues. The only activity that could rival his love of music was cheering on his favorite college football team, the Alabama Crimson Tide.

“God and country,” were ideals that he learned in the Boy Scouts and that he practiced and shared with those around him. Dave bonded with other local veterans and served as both President and Treasurer of American Legion Post 218. For many years he would travel to his grandchildren’s schools to share stories of his military service with them on Veteran’s Day. More than once, he was seen riding shotgun with his nephew, Jerry Knox, in a restored WWII era Jeep in Hahira’s annual Honey Bee Festival parade. When it became fashionable for the local college kids to stage protests against our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan on Valdosta’s City Hall lawn, Dave was out there protesting the protestors by blasting patriotic music from his truck, waving the flag, and supporting the troops with various signs. “I fought in three wars defending the ideals of this country including freedom of speech. They get to practice it their way, I get to practice it mine.”

Dave is survived by his wife Dee, his son David, daughters Michele and Pam, his daughter-in-law Karin, his son-in-law Joe, six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and many, many friends. He will truly be missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to the United Methodist Church of Hahira, Langdale Hospice or the Wounded Warriors program. Arrangements are being coordinated by Martin McLane Funeral Home in Hahira. A viewing will be held on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at the United Methodist Church of Hahira at 1 p.m. followed by a memorial service beginning at 2 p.m. on April 16, 2014. His final resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery. Condolences to the family may be conveyed online at —  Martin/McLane Funeral Home of Hahira.

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