A 10:30 a.m. gravesite service Tuesday will be held at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches for Rev. Bob Tatum, a 1954 All-America football standout at Northwestern State.
Tatum, 85, passed early last week in Texas. The service is open to friends and the public.
He was one of the first inductees in the N-Club Hall of Fame at Northwestern, enshrined in 1972, just four years after the Hall was established.
Tatum was a Little All-America selection as a senior for the 7-2 Demons at offensive guard and a three-time All-Gulf States pick as a guard and linebacker for coach Harry Turpin. In his junior season, Tatum helped lead the Demons to the GSC championship.
The Demons were 13-4 in his final two seasons, including a 9-3 mark in the GSC. He was vice president of the N-Club, the association of athletic letterwinners, as a senior.
When Northwestern commemorated its football centennial season in 2007, Tatum was chosen as one of the Top 100 Demons of the Century and included on an all-time roster selected by fan vote and a blue-ribbon panel of former players, coaches and administrators.
Tatum is survived by his wife, Carla, and their daughter, Jo Ellen Di Donato, along with other family members including two grandchildren. He was a doting grandfather who enjoyed watching his grandkids’ activities.
After graduating from Northwestern, Tatum was a history teacher and a lifetime sports instructor for 28 years in the Comal (Texas) Independent School District, and began a ministry in the city of New Braunfels. He maintained the ministry as an associate pastor with the United Methodist Church and also a substitute pastor in nearby Prosper and Celina, through the year 2000. He also was associated with the Red River (New Mexico) Community House.
He and his wife moved to Prosper in 2005, where he continued to serve as a substitute minister for area churches.
Tatum was an avid outdoorsman who spent the majority of his free time outdoors and enjoyed hunting mule deer and elk. He maintained a deep affection for Northwestern and Natchitoches, making a visit just over a year ago.
At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, contributions are encouraged to concussion research initiatives or to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).