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ROBLEY HENSON TATUM

TATUM, Robley Henson Robley Henson Tatum died Jan. 17, 2014. Whether you called him Rob, Robley, Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle Rob or even Daddy Scum (an affectionate term, I assure you) you knew you were in the presence of a unique and precious character. He was born December 21, 1922, one of those pre-Christmas babies. He would have killed for a June birthday. He hated combined birthday and Christmas presents, possibly because his brother Charles would give him one sock for his birthday, and another for Christmas. So several years ago we moved his birthday to MLK day. We'll be having his birthday lunch this year without the guest of honor, I'm afraid. The best day of his life occurred when he was 17. He was invited to go to Jacksonville with his friend JH Hallman. There he met 16 year old Irene Johns, and there he lost his heart. For the next four years their courtship consisted of one week a year in Atlanta, one week a year in Jacksonville, and lots and lots and lots of letters in between. It must have worked because exactly one week after he returned from Germany (a trip courtesy of his Uncle Sam where he fought the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge), he married his "Sugar" and they spent every night together until she died in 2002. Burton and Taylor may have shown more passion and fire, but no man ever loved his wife more than my daddy. A year after their marriage, Daddy graduated from Georgia Tech. Even before he graduated, he had taken a job with Tech, and for years was a fixture in the Tech Tower, where he was the Vice President of what is now the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and if we do brag a little, was more than a little responsible for helping turn it into the colossus of research institutes that it is today. Mom and Dad (or Bob and Sugar as the grandkids called them) settled into their house on Gail Drive in Brookhaven where they raised three girls. Daddy was the last first generation original resident of the neighborhood, and we know all the newbies will miss him. The worst day of his life was when he was 13, and a gas explosion at his house killed both his parents, Jesse and Queen Kinard Tatum. Luckily, he had a loving family, and, along with his brother Charles, was taken in and raised with great love by his grandparents, and his much loved Aunt Jessie and Uncle Buddy. But the trauma did take its toll, and to his dying day he spent much (really really much!) of his time worried that something would happen to one of his girls. And a world class worrier he was. Even into our 60's , his girls knew they better call Daddy immediately when they got home from a trip, even it was just to Cartersville. We thought it was silly, but we also knew we couldn't outstubborn him, so we acquiesced. He loved his family, his neighbors, Georgia Tech, the Atlanta Braves, bowling (he was a great bowler), the Atlanta Journal/Constitution (where his dad had worked), Waffle House, Hickory House and the Picadilly Cafeteria, and Little Debbie. He didn't get his final wish for Tech, which to see Paul Johnson get fired, but hey, there's still time. He was also predeceased by his middle daughter, Connie Lewis and his brother, Charles Tatum. He is survived by his daughters Pat Miller, and Jerri Tatum, son-in-law, Norman Lewis, grandsons Scott (Donna) Lewis, Kevin (Lisa) Lewis, Kirk (Rebecca) Miller and Joe Kimbell, greatgrandchildren Jacob Lewis, Phillip Lewis and Hannah Lewis, and his much loved nieces and nephew, Susan (Rod) Hynson, Andy Tatum, Kathy (Mel) Hatfield and Mary Beth (Tom) Wilson. The funeral will be held at the Chapel of A.S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home in Decatur at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 with burial at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs. Visitation will be Monday night from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at A. S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 20, 2014
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