John E. Tatum passed away peacefully after a long battle with advanced stages of Parkinson's Disease on August 11, 2022. John was born February 16, 1941 in Fairfield, Illinois to Alma Levelle Owen Tatum and T. H. Tatum. John grew up in Heavener, Oklahoma and graduated from Heavener High School in 1959. John was a gifted athlete and earned a full scholarship to the University of Oklahoma where he played for the famous football coach Bud Wilkinson as both center and middle-linebacker from 1959 to 1963. He graduated from O.U. majoring in Zoology and Pre-Med classes. He earned his Masters Degree of Education from Central Oklahoma University in Edmond, Oklahoma.
He taught Biology and coached football and baseball for 7 years before entering the insurance business with Farm Bureau as an agent in Durant, Oklahoma. John retired as Chief Operating Officer of Farm Bureau Mutual in 2005.
John is survived by his wife Nancy Jean of Wickenburg, Arizona; 2 sons John Mark and Robert Loyd Tatum; step-daughter Monica Bolin; step-son Sam Steele Marshall; step-daughters Penny Dee Marshall-Bigelow and Marilee Marshall-Dose; 2 granddaughters Kelsey Tatum Mason and Isabella Dianna Tatum; 1 great-grandson Baker Owen Mason; and 7 step-grandchildren Summerslee and Sterling Latham, Davis Bigelow and Daryan Marshall, Myla Batchelder, Digby Rose Marshall and Dipper Steele Marshall; and 2 nieces Pam Cox and Shirley James.
John was preceded in death by both his mother and father, his grandson, Jake Tatum and sister Peggy Lewellyn "Lou" Gartner.
Funeral service will be 10 a.m., Monday, August 22, 2022 at the Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home Chapel in Heavener, Oklahoma with Reverend Ricky Huggins officiating and Mr. Hal Dowden reading the eulogy. Burial will follow in Heavener Memorial Park in Heavener, Oklahoma arrangements are under the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home in Heavener, Oklahoma.
Viewing will begin at Noon until 6:00 p.m., Sunday. The family will be visiting with friends from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., Sunday at the funeral home. To sign John’s online guestbook please visit www.dowdenrobertsfuneralhome.com.