Charles G Tatham
Phoenix - Chuck Tatham of Phoenix, Arizona, age 88, passed away in hospice on November 25, 2020 with his family by his side. He was born in Passaic, New Jersey, on January 9, 1932. He excelled in football and baseball and was active in Boy Scouts. He earned his way through optometric college firing tug boat boilers on the Hudson River. He earned his doctorate in optometric medicine in 1954 from Pennsylvania State College. He then served in the US Army stationed in Germany for two years where he was in charge of the eye care division. He also competed in the US Army swim team, drove Army ambulances and was invited to participate with the US Special Forces based in Germany. After the Army, he and Joyce Ann Gregg married in Phoenix, Arizona on March 9, 1957. Around the same time Chuck opened his optometric practice in Show Low, Arizona and the Navajo Nation. In order to serve the Navajo people he acquired his pilot license and flew his small plane (a Mooney) to various remote locations. Their first two children were born during this period of his life.
In 1963 Chuck decided he wanted to become a lawyer. The family moved to San Francisco, where he began law school at Golden Gate University. Their third child was born. Chuck continued to pursue his law degree in Tucson at the U of A, all the while practicing optometry and raising a family. Their fourth child was born in Tucson during this time. In 1969 the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where Chuck continued in optometry and graduated from the Arizona State University, College of Law in 1969 with a Juris Doctor. He practiced optometry and began his work as a lawyer. Chuck provided legal services to ranchers and farmers. He also did pro bono immigration work. He and Joyce sponsored several Mexican immigrants who are now successful American citizens.
Family adventures included traveling into Canada and Mexico in a converted greyhound bus, traveling Europe in a 1934 Rolls Royce, and enjoying the Rocky Point beach house in Las Conchas.
Over the years, Chuck and Joyce opened their home to foreign exchange students, needy immigrants and single mothers. Chuck enjoyed remodeling and flipping homes. In later years he mastered the stock market. He continued to play bridge and tennis into his eighties. He is survived by his loving wife, Joyce, his children Connie (Steve) of Santa Fe, NM, Greg (Amy) of Phoenix, Suzanne of Olympia, WA, and John (Rachel) of Scottsdale; sister Lois (Bassam) Mitri of Beirut, Lebanon, grandchildren Rene, Lucas, Cameron, Spencer, Nathaniel, Sydney, Rena Beth, Macey, Jake and Jack; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is predeceased by his parents, Grigson and Wilhelmina (nee Vander veen) Tatham and his brother, Walter (Kitty) Tatham.
He will be greatly missed and always remembered.
Memorial ceremony anticipated in Summer 2021.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Dec. 6 to Dec. 9, 2020.