Pastors' Memoirs

William Pryor Tatum, Jr., 1924-2000

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William Pryor Tatum Jr., was born the son of William Pryor Tatum, Sr. and Grace Harris Tatum in Richmond, Virginia, where he lived until he reached adulthood. Prior to entering the ministry in 1962, "Bill," as he was called by his friends, was an insurance salesman. He also served in the Navy, during World War II, for three years.

On September 6, 1946, Bill was married to Marion McMullin. During their 54 years of marriage, they were blessed with four children, one son and three daughters. They are: Patricia Ann Tatum Poythress of Aylett; William Pryor Tatum III of Gasburg; Jeannette Tatum Gephardt of Aylett; and Marion Jean Tatum Fauver of Staunton.

  At the age of 27, Bill had a religious experience which turned his life around 180 degrees. As he surrendered to the Lord, he committed his life to prepare his mind, heart and soul for ministry in the United Methodist Church. In his early years of preparation, he graduated, with honors, from both Louisburg College in North Carolina and Duke’s Course of Study. Bill is one of the few full-time local pastors to be ordained as a deacon (1965) and as an elder (1967). Following his ordination, he was received on probation in 1968 and in full connection in 1970.

As a student local pastor, he served three appointments in the Petersburg District. The appointments included Claremont, South Brunswick and Winterpock. After being received on probation in 1968, he served Mathews in the Rappahannock District, and Grace in the Danville District where he was also serving when he was received in full connection in 1970. As an elder in the conference, his appointments included Fairview-Lawrence Memorial; Alleghany-South Covington; Marquis Memorial; Parkview and Wesley in Hopewell. In 1987, he took disability leave where he remained until he retired in 1992.

As I was a young pastor in the conference, I remember Bill sitting in the canteen area at Blackstone during the ministers convocation with his friends. As smoke surrounded the table and their heads, they would tell stories about their ministries. Their laughter would fill the room, regardless of the truth of what they were sharing. This -experience simply compliments Bill’s commitment to bearing witness to what God had done in his life and could do in others. Because he had experienced forgiveness and a new life, Bill wanted others to have a similar experience in being saved.

After being hospitalized in Greensville Hospital in Emporia, Bill died on November 20, 2000. Following his death, a service of resurrection was held at Olive Branch United Methodist Church on November 22, 2000. Dr. Albert C. Lynch, pastor of the South Brunswick Charge, and the Rev. Wm. Anthony Layman, district superintendent of the Petersburg District, officiated. Following the service, Bill’s physical remains were laid to rest in the church cemetery as his soul was commended to God.

-Wm. Anthony Layman, Petersburg District Superintendent



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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