Born for adventure, Tanner Scott Jackson began to weave his meandering tapestry of life on January 27, 1981, in Rock Island, Illinois. He journeyed forth without fear or regret, unconcerned with earthly constraints; his singular obsession locked on the ethereal vision painted in his mind.
Although he died on his 38th birthday, January 27, 2019, after a decades-long battle with depression, the ripples of exuberance created by his existence continue to be felt. All who knew Tanner will be forever blessed by that connection.
After moving to Bozeman, Montana, as a young child, Tanner began his love relationship with the Mighty Mountain. He and his two brothers spent their youth in the woods, hiking, camping, skiing, climbing, and backpacking. As the boys got older, they continued to explore together, adding biking, ice-climbing, and paddle-boarding to their repertoire. They rode bicycles coast to coast across the U.S., climbed, hiked, and skied most of the highest peaks in the West, and had many other wilderness adventures in unnamed places off-trail. These experiences filled and defined Tanner’s life.
No matter the trip — be it a months-long expedition or a simple outing to a park to play pickleball — Tanner was leading the way. He was a thoughtful and meticulous planner; his imagination for new climbing routes and ways of moving through the world were unrivaled; his enthusiasm for being on the leading edge (or watching and cheering others on as they led) was infectious. If you were scared, he would go first; if you needed encouragement, he had your back; if you were learning, he was a patient teacher; if you nailed it, he was your biggest cheerleader. In short, if you had Tanner on your team, you were already a winner, regardless of the outcome.
Tanner was a young man when his twin sisters were born. His passion for adventure was contagious and he gently passed along his love of skiing, climbing, and rafting to them at a very early age. He showed them the rewards of taking good risks and pushing themselves, helping mold them into the strong young women they are today. Children were a bit of an enigma to Tanner, but he never hesitated when engaged with them. He always treated them as the beautiful little humans they were and they responded, as many of us did when meeting Tanner: with awe, excitement, and joy. For this and many more reasons, he was similarly adored by his niece and nephew.
Tanner grew up in Helena, Montana, graduated from Helena High School in 1999, and attended the University of Montana in Missoula. Always a free-thinker, his love of writing, reading, and creating art were cultivated through his experiences in school and matured over years of great conversations, intense practice, and a tireless pursuit of truth. Tanner thoroughly enjoyed intellectual challenges and engagement, but it was with his sweet spirit and big heart that so many people connected. He saw the world with the eyes of a poet: a sunset could stun him, a hoarfrost-covered branch caught his eye, a world of paradoxes engaged him and compelled him to respond. As Tanner’s intrepid spirit led him around the world in search of new experiences, his curiosity and drive led him to continually push his creative and physical boundaries.
Tanner was truly larger than life and being close to him was like riding a rollercoaster that you never wanted to get off. Sometimes it was scary. Sometimes it was thrilling and made you feel things you never expected. Most of the time it was just plain fun. Regardless, for all who were lucky enough to have had a ticket, it was the ride of a lifetime.
Tanner was preceded in death by his grandfather, Donald Jackson, and his grandmother Wilma ‘Honey’ Crase.
Tanner is survived by his parents, Scott Jackson (Lisa) of Missoula, Montana, Claudia Crase (Ric Blevins) of Gallatin Gateway, Montana; siblings, Kyle (Lindsay Selser), Logan, Anja, and Rane; niece and nephew, Willa and Boone (children of Kyle and Lindsay); grandmother, Jean Jackson and grandfather, Claude Crase (Barb); and a huge, crazy, and adoring extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, and true friends.
Although our hearts are broken by the loss of our beautiful boy, we find some comfort knowing that Tanner ALWAYS knew he was very, very loved and cherished. Our family is grateful to all who have expressed condolences and shared touching memories and hilarious stories. In lieu of flowers (or any other material items), those wishing to honor Tanner can consider a donation to the Bozeman Help Center at www.bozemanhelpcenter.org or to the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association at www.southwestmontanamba.org. And if you want to feel close to Tanner, go outside and have an adventure!
A celebration of Tanner’s life will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 on Saturday, February 9, 2019 (with a toast beginning at 1:30), at the Kleffner Ranch near Helena (www.kleffnerranch.com). Please join us!
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com