William “Bill” Arthur Tatum, loving husband, father and grandfather and a friend to everyone he met, died Friday, Dec. 2, in Bend. He was 62.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Dec. 31, at 11 a.m. at the FirstBaptist Church in Grass Valley, Ore.
Bill was born Feb. 17, 1954, in The Dalles to Robert and Geraldine Tatum and was raised on his family’s farm in Kent, Ore. He was the youngest of three children with a brother, Jim, and sister, Bonnie.
He graduated from Sherman High School in Moro, Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton and Oregon State University in Corvallis before returning to the Kent homestead where he farmed for 38 years until his death.
In 1981 he married Laurie Leff, from Moro, Ore. the love of his life, longtime educator and farming partner. Together they raised a son, Ryan, and daughter, Marci, who grew up farming alongside their parents. One of Bill’s greatest joys was watching his children play youth and high school sports.
Bill loved living in Sherman County and the close friends he had there, but he knew his eternal home was in heaven and shared his life, laughter and faith with everyone he met. Grocery store clerks, mechanics, strangers in line at the movie theater and anyone else who found themselves in Bill’s company for even a short time were drawn into conversation with him. He kept no secrets and didn’t believe others should, either, but instead cultivated inside jokes and shared experiences. He spoke plainly, shared generously and lived humbly.
Bill was a deacon and worship leader at Kent Baptist Church, but his ministry stretched much wider and his love for Jesus Christ was evident in his life.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert, and brother, Jim. He is survived by his mother, Geraldine, of The Dalles; wife, Laurie, of Kent; sister and brother-in-law Bonnie and Bill Shupe, of The Dalles; son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Jessica Tatum, and their children Mackenzie, Kyle, Brevan, Elena, Amelia, William and Tia, of Caldwell, Idaho; daughter and son-in-law, Marci and Daniel Wattenburger, and their children Anna and Nolan, of Hermiston.
He also dearly loved his nieces and nephews Kim, Serena, Shannon, Heather, Jesse and Devan.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sherman County Scholarship Association at 65912 High School Loop, Moro, Ore. 97309 or Camp Morrow, 79551 N. Morrow Rd, Tygh Valley, Ore. 97063.
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