November 5, 1926 — April 23, 2023
Robert Walton Tatum, 96, a fine example of The Greatest Generation, passed away April 23, 2023 at his Chesterfield, VA home with his beloved bride of 72 years by his side.
Born November 5, 1926 at his Patrick County homestead, he was a lifelong Methodist and member of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Petersburg, Va. Robert was a veteran of World War II, making several journeys aboard Liberty ships in the U. S. Merchant Marines, and then enlisted in the U. S. Navy during the Korean War. Robert retired from Allied Signal (Honeywell) as a maintenance supervisor.
Robert’s great exuberance for life and good humor was infectious and inspiring to all who knew him. Among his many gifts, he will always be remembered for the wonderful stories he would tell of his adventures growing up in a rural town on a tobacco farm with no running water, at sea around the world, and traveling across country with his young family.
Robert loved to volunteer to service organizations and give back for all of which he was grateful. He was a member of American Legion Post 284 for 60 years; a 55 year member and past Chef de Gare of Voiture 1530 40/8; a longtime member of Masonic Lodge Blandford #3; an active participant in ACCA Shrine Temple and Oriental Band, including time as President; and also belonged to the Antique Car Club, The Scottish Rite, and Petersburg Shrine Club, including past President. He was proud of his heritage and country as evidenced by his belonging to the Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Robert was predeceased by his father Thomas Calhoun Tatum, mother Kathleen Hylton Tatum Sizemore, siblings Thomas C. Tatum Jr., William H. Tatum, and Emma Susan Tatum Davis. He was also predeceased by his eldest son Robert Stevens Tatum. He is survived by his loving wife and best friend Marguerite (Rusty) White Tatum, son Mark A. Tatum (Patricia), daughter Karen T. Valente (Anthony), grandchildren Jennifer T. Heyward (Marc), Megan T. Cannon (John), Anthony R. Valente (Victoria), Andrew T. Valente, and Christopher A. Valente. He was also blessed with numerous great-grandchildren: Marlee and Emmree Stalls; Emily and Claire Cannon; Beres, Maddox, and Remy Heyward; Justin and Brendan Temple; Tatum and Monroe Valente. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Dorothy H. Tatum and many dear nieces and nephews.
The family would like to give special thanks to his devoted caregivers Debra Payne, Kimberly Stokes, and Nicole Viers.
Visitation is April 29th from 1-2 PM with a service at 2:00 p.m. at E. Alvin Small Funeral Home, 2033 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, VA. A committal service with military honors will be held at 2pm, Monday, May 1, at Nettle Ridge Church, Stuart, VA.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Greenville Hospital c/o ACCA Shrine Temple, 1712 Bellevue Ave., Richmond, VA 23227.