I never thought I’d be putting this in a blog entry, but Joey Tatum died last week. It had been a while since either Lori or I had heard from him, but he was one of those people with whom you could pick right up where you left off in a friendship. Joey had been part of a circle of friends at seminary who made things better just by being around him. He loved to play the guitar and sing, and made a great impact on young people in particular with his ministry to them through the church and youth camps.
We made a herculean effort to travel to Picayune for the funeral and back in a 48 hour period, with great appreciation to friends here who cared for our children in our absence. They dropped everything to help us. Travelling to Mississippi proved to be a trip down memory lane for us, since we hadn’t seen those kinds of interstate signs in a very long time. It was unusual being back at Roseland Park Baptist Church for the funeral, as the last time had been for Joey and Cindy’s wedding.
I knew Joey had been sick, but had no idea that he could have a heart attack. Diabetes is rough, and Joey battled that disease and gave himself insulin shots. He lost an eye along the way but never made a big deal about his sufferings. His boyish charm and kind ways will always be remembered. I consider him among my closest friends and my life is better for knowing him.
Joey leaves behind his devoted wife Cindy and 6-year old son Zeke. His brother Brian is also in the ministry, and I will be remembering him also. It will be a Christmas like no other for the Tatums this year. Their emphasis on faith and family is truly an inspiration. The funeral, while very emotional at points, pointed to the Christ that Joey dedicated himself to serve. He was humble, winsome, and an all around good guy. We will miss him terribly.