Hundreds of people including most of Jacksonville's mayors who succeeded Hans Tanzler filled St. John's Cathedral Saturday to pay respects to his family and also to remember all of his accomplishments. Family says wasn't just a funeral, but a celebration of his life.
"The Lord called him and we're here to celebrate his life and the community is coming out to that he deserved to be celebrated and I'm grateful we have the opportunity to do that," the former mayor's son, Hans Tanzler III said. "It's a sad day, but a happy day."
Hans Tanzler III has a name he says he is extremely proud of, named after his amazing father Hans Tanzler Jr, who served for more than a decade as the first Mayor of the consolidated city of Jacksonville. He died Thursday at age 86.
Tanzler says Saturday was a bittersweet day, sad at the loss of his father on Thursday, but happy that the community got to celebrate his life at his funeral.
Tanzler says his father was an all around great guy, the best dad he could ask for, and an amazing Mayor who led our city to great things.
"He leaves one of consolidation a cleaner river a legacy of good character leadership integrity he leaves a name that my family is proud to have and I'm proud to have him as a dad big legacy."
Tommy Hazouri, who served as mayor of Jacksonville eight years after Tanzler, says future mayors need to follow in the footsteps of Tanzler.
"He was a mentor for me and his time in office , 10 years, I think close to 11, served this city," Hazouri said. "He had quite a background he was a renaissance man. I admire him for what he did and he was one of my inspirations for wanting to be mayor."
Tanzler III says he knows his dad is in a better place and can even recall when his dad became a Christian, he was on stage with a Vietnam hero who lost an arm and an eye.
"The spirit was with him and my dad broke down in tears and was converted and has been an active evangelist for the Lord ever since. In a quiet way, a tasteful way, but in a sincere way."