He was a real estate broker just launching his first company. She was a part-time secretary working toward her real estate license. When the two met, it felt like home.
“We had a lot of things in common, but he taught me a lot, too,” said Sand Canyon resident Shirley Tanner of her husband, Howard. “He introduced me to skiing, and I introduced him to horseback riding. It was just lovely.”
One night, they decided to go out and visit friends in Puerto Vallarta. They left in love, and by the time they boarded their flight home, they returned married.
“Oh, it was such an adventure,” Shirley said, no nostalgia in her voice, just happiness – enough that you could hear the smile in her voice.
It’s been 50 years since the two were married, and this past summer, Howard and Shirley Tanner celebrated their big anniversary with a houseful of family and friends. With a lifetime of adventure and a future that promises more beautiful memories, they have much to celebrate.
It all started with a common passion for real estate. By the time Howard and Shirley met at Tanner Realty, they both had experienced love and loss. But they recognized lasting love in each other. After they married, they slowly built a beautiful blended family, with two children from a previous marriage and two children together. “We were melded together as a whole family,” Shirley said. “It was a little different time than it is now.”
In the 60s, Howard and Shirley began looking for a lifetime home where they could raise their family. Interested in space for an equestrian area, their house hunting brought them to Sand Canyon. Today, they have lived there for 34 years, filling the place with love, life, and a whole lot of laughter. They’ve celebrated many milestones, including the growth of their business.
In the early days, Shirley got her broker’s license – and was the youngest person to do so in the San Fernando Valley. Shortly after that, Howard opened Canyon Country Realty with Sandy Woodward, and their son Jim began showing an interest in the family business. After Jim earned his license, he opened Realty Executives while still in his early 20s, as did their son Todd. It also turned out that daughters Laura and Tina got their licenses, as well!
Eventually, Jim and Sandy took over most of the family business under Realty Executives, though Howard and Shirley remained involved in their North Valley office, managing their properties until retirement. Today, Jim is CEO of Realty Executives, and Todd is carrying on with Tanner Realty and Property Management.
During the real estate peak, the Tanners oversaw more than 125 sales personnel in six offices in Southern California. “It was booming out here,” Shirley remembers fondly.
Throughout the years, the Tanners have enjoyed watching the Santa Clarita Valley grow alongside their family. When they first moved to Sand Canyon, Shirley recalled with a laugh, they owned a pony cart for local transportation. Joking about a lack of rush hour traffic, Shirley remembers how rural the area was in the early days before incorporation.
“Robinson Ranch was an egg farm, and there was just one market,” she said. “It was a wonderful experience because we all knew each other.”
And today, the Tanners still enjoy the closeness of their friends and family, and the beauty of the valley.
“We’ve traveled. We’ve loved. We’ve done a lot of things,” Shirley said. “We appreciate what we have. Some of our friends are gone now. We are so just blessed that we’re here, and we have such a wonderful family. Everyone enjoys each other – we’re very lucky to have that.”