Friday November 27th, 2015 11:07PM

Friends of murder victim raise money for domestic violence efforts

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - Ginger Tanner's co-workers said they knew the popular Gainesville hair stylist was in an unhappy marriage; what they did not know was how dangerous that relationship was.

Tanner, a hairstylist for more than two decades, was shot and killed by her husband in June. Hank Tanner committed suicide after he shot his wife, according to Hall County Sheriff's Office investigators.

On Friday, fellow stylists, customers and friends gathered at Washington Commons Shopping Center in Gainesville to raise money for Gateway Domestic Violence Center, hoping to bring something positive from the death of Ginger Tanner.

"She was the clown of the salon, she was always happy in front of everybody," said Connie Finks of II Shae Salon, one of the organizers of Friday's event. "In the back with us, the tears and the problems we would hear."

Still, Finks acknowledged that she and others did not realize just how badly Tanner was struggling until after her death. And, she said there are many unanswered questions about why Tanner stayed in a troubled marriage.

"Maybe she was too afraid to [leave], we don't really know. Maybe she was ashamed to tell anyone. We don't know. So, that's why we need to be educated as friends," said Finks.

She said they are now hoping to help other women who may be in a situation similar to Tanner's. Plus, she said, she hopes the money they raise will also educate the public about what to look for.

All of the money raised is going to Gateway Domestic Violence Center in Gainesville. Executive Director Jessica Butler said deaths like Tanner's are not unusual, and the money raised in her memory will be well-invested.

"A lot of people don't tell what's happening in their lives," said Butler. "Each year in Georgia we lose between 110 to 130 people to domestic violence-related homicides like this one."

So far, Finks said the salon has sold $6,000 in t-shirts alone. She was unsure how much money the mini-festival (complete with music, food and vendor booths) in the shopping center parking lot would raise, but she said the event would not be the last. Plans are in the works for a 5K and maybe even a tennis tournament.

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