Cover photo for Dr. John A. Tanis Ph.D's Obituary
Dr. John A. Tanis Ph.D Profile Photo
1945 Dr. 2022

Dr. John A. Tanis Ph.D

November 18, 1945 — October 3, 2022

St. Joseph, MI formerly of Kalamazoo

Passed away Monday October 3, 2022 in St. Joseph, MI.   John was born November 18, 1945 in Holland, MI the son of Purlin and Eleanor (Folkert) Tanis.

John attended Zeeland High School and received his BA from Hope College.  He earned a Masters at the University of Iowa and a Ph.D in Physics from New York University.  John served on the faculty at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI for 40 years, retiring in 2020.  Over his career John became world renowned for his research in the field of atomic physics while mentoring both Ph.D and postdoctoral students.

John was an avid traveler throughout his life, and was a passionate fan of the Detroit Tigers.

John was an extremely kind, hardworking, loyal and compassionate husband, father, grandfather, brother, teacher, and friend.  He will be missed dearly.

John is survived by his loving wife, Patricia (Mateer); his children, Derek (Loni) Tanis, Kimberly (David) Prusa, Kristin (Fred) Albert; his 8 grandchildren, Drew Tanis, Jack Tanis, Catie Albert, Tanis Prusa, Kyle Albert, Riley Albert, Kaline Prusa, and Payton Prusa; and his brothers, Dale (Pamela) Tanis and Robert (Marie) Tanis.  A memorial service will be held at 1:00pm Sunday October 16, 2022 at Bethany Reformed Church, 1833 South Burdick, Kalamazoo, MI 49001 with Rev. Bob Terwilliger officiating. To view John’s personalized webpage please visit

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Sunday, October 16, 2022

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