To the Family and Friends,
Word came to me that our friend John David "Jack" Tatum, beloved husband and father, died of a heart attack at the age of 61. I was unbelieving then and I am still in a state of disbelief now.
I first met Jack while both of us were students at Ohio State. We had much in common. Also, we were the same age with less than a month separating our birthdays. I always reminded him, since I was a month older that meant that I was that much wiser than him.
Once while visiting with him at his dorm, Woody Hayes arrived on the floor. As the players gathered-round, Woody looked at me and said, "You are not one of my football players, but you look like one, so why don't you come-out for the team."
Man, I was on cloud nine. After we got back to the dorm room, I looked at Jack and he looked back at me with that wry smile of his. That smile made me pause in my jubilation and warily recount the testimonies that came from his own teammates about the punishing tackles that he meted out on a regular basis. That smile brought my aspirations back to earth...with a thud.
"Tate" was something special and over the years, I marveled at his magnificent career. God bestowed athletic gifts upon Jack Tatum that he did not give to others. He was a world-class athlete...an All Pro player with an uncompromising approach to the game of football.
More important than that, he was just a darn good person. Quiet and reserved off the field of football, I will leave it to others to debate his public image versus the man that I knew privately as friend.
After I departed Ohio State, my career as a professional soldier and Jack as a professional football player obviously meant that we lived in parallel worlds. However, on those occasions when we did get together, we greeted each other like long lost cousins, which was to my unending delight.
Now, we have come to this day. I call on all True Believers to mark the passing of John David "Jack" Tatum with great reverence. We are once again humbled by the power of God and his tender mercy as we submit to his will and surrender the soul of our brother Jack to God and his heavenly host.
To Denise, the children, and the family; with undeniable love comes undeniable grief and we mourn your loss with you.
With this momentous event, we once again call into question God's infinite wisdom. In fact God wants us to question his actions, because when we seek his truth, we find his answer. And his answer strengthens our faith as Christians.
Although Jack was an amputee through sickness, his broken body has now once again been made whole.
Michael L.Nelson, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army, ret.