Paul was born and raised in South Philadelphia. After graduating from South Philadelphia High School in 1943, he enrolled at Pennsylvania State University for one semester, then enlisted in the Navy. He served as a Chief Petty Officer and flagman on the Rockaway, a seaplane tender off the coast of Brazil. After completing his tour of duty, he returned to Penn State and earned a business degree on the GI bill in 1948.

In 1949, Paul married the former Leona Kornblau in Atlantic City. He and Leona have four children: Mark, Joanne, Scott and Richard. He also has two step-daughters, Jennifer Overton and Stephanie Cousins, from a later marriage.
Over the years, Paul held multiple jobs including auditing retirement plans with the Pensions and Trust Department of the IRS.  He left government service in 1960 and created Paul A. Tanker & Associates, a pension and actuarial consulting firm in Center City Philadelphia. In the 1960's he was a founding member of the American Society of Pension Actuaries (ASPA) and was a leader in the development of pension, profit-sharing and employee benefits plans.

When Paul A. Tanker & Associates humbly began in 1960, it had two employees; by 1989 it had grown to 55 employees.  The company was sold that year to Noble Lowndes, an international benefits company. Thereafter, Paul continued to act as a consultant and also obtained his real estate license.

At that time, Paul created the Tanker Family Charitable Foundation, beginning a Jewish studies program at Pennsylvania State University to promote and cultivate interfaith dialogue. He, along with several other alumni, endowed a chair of Jewish Studies at Penn State. Paul was an active supporter of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia, and served on the boards of several area synagogues.

Paul became committed to the mission of Moss Rehabilitation Hospital in the late 1970s.  As a member of the Board of Directors, he assisted the Board’s efforts to raise over $1 million to support the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute which brings hope to so many across the country.

In the spirit of giving back, which was extremely important to Paul, he coordinated his family’s efforts to fund the Tanker Family Canteen at MossRehab.  Named in honor of his mother, Dora, Paul wanted to thank the hospital for the outstanding care she received as an inpatient following a stroke.

Paul remained an active and vocal member of the Moss Rehabilitation Hospital Advisory Board until his death in July 2013.  MossRehab, its Advisory Board, and the All About Art Committee are exceptionally grateful for the Tanker family’s support over the last forty years.   

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