Willard Tanzer was born in Appleton, Wisconsin. By the time he was 28, he had made his way to Pequot (now Pequot Lakes), Minnesota to work for the Woodworth Davis Company from 1909 to 1912. Later in 1912, he came to Fresno, at the age 31, to work as a bookkeeper and estimator for the Hollenbeck-Bush Planing Mill. He would stay with the company until his early retirement in 1928.
He was a member of Las Palmas Masonic Lodge No. 366 in Fresno and served as its Master in 1931. He then served as the full-time secretary of Las Palmas Lodge beginning in 1935. He also served as Executive Secretary of the Masonic Board of Relief and Employment in the Fresno area. Prior to the California Unemployment Insurance Reserves Act in 1936, the Masonic Lodges had their own system of helping brothers find jobs and provide some economic relief. In essence, he ran an employment office for Masons out of the Lodge Secretaries office during the great depression. He was also a director of the Masonic Blood Bank.
Mr. Tanzer was appointed chairman of Fresno County Civil Service Commission in 1945. He helped oversee a merit system of selection and retention of County employees in the classified service sector.
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