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Exeter ag leader Tantau dies

An agricultural leader who helped grow Exeter’s mural program passed away this week.

On Sunday, April 14, George Blake Tantau Jr. passed away, at home in Exeter, at the age of 74.

Services will be private .

After 10 years of marriage George and Rosina Tantau welcomed their only child, George Blake Jr., into the world on February 15, 1939. It was a glorious occasion.

George attended Exeter schools, graduating from Exeter Union High School in 1956. He attended COS then transferred to the University of California Davis graduating in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in agricultural production. After graduation George pursued a career in agricultural chemical sales. He worked for Chevron Company and Mobay Agricultural Chemical Corporation; a subsidiary of the Bayer Corporation.


In the late 1960s George purchased his first ranch on Road 192 in Exeter so named the “Home Ranch.” George continued his career in agricultural chemical sales while expanding his interest in farmi

ng. In 1977 George became a partner in the Venida Packing Corporation.

George lived his life his way. He was a tough but fair businessman, a task master to himself, his family and employe

es. He maintained high expectations in every area of life. He was an avid supporter of the Exeter mural project becuase of its positive effect on the economy and spotlight on the history and agricultural hertiage of his hometown.

Though farming was his passion he always claimed his greatest achievement was providing the opportunity for his children to attend college. His reward was seeing all four children graduate from college and become gainfully employed. His children were an endless source of pride, love and laughter.

Travel became his favorite leisure activity. He traveled throughout the United States visiting most of the popular

destinations and many hidden gems. He enjoyed the breath-taking beauty of Lake Tahoe and the magnificent red rocks of Sedona, Ariz. With Cathy as his enthusiastic traveling companion he cruised the rivers of Europe, stood at the base of the pyramids, saw the sun rise on the Treasury building in Petra, Jordan and marveled at the beauty of the European countryside. He met many people on his travels and kept in contact with a number of those friends over the past 10 years. Every year at Christmas he sent his travel friends a box of oranges; which were always received with great

appreciation. He believed that travel had enriched his life more than any other activity and was the best education a person could experience.


In a life blessed with a wonderful family, many achievements, assets and experiences if you asked him what

his one greatest regret was he would say, without hesitation, “smoking.”

George is survived by his wife of 37 years, Cathy Rehfeld Tantau and his four children: Blake and wife Susan of Bristow, Va., Chris of Exeter, Matt of Flagstaff, Ariz. and his daughter Julie Anna and husband Michael Scho
ppa of Bern, Switzerland. Four grandchildren: Conor, Olivia, Jake, and William Tantau.

George would like to be remembered dancing with his daughter at her wedding reception on March 16, 2013. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in memory of George Tantau to: Kaweah Delta Hospice 900 West Oak Ave., Visalia, CA 93291 or Exeter Festival of the Arts (the mural project) c/o The Exeter Chamber of Commerce 101 West Pine, Exeter, CA 93221.

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