Curtis Tatum Jr.

Curtis Tatum Photo

Curtis Tatum Jr. was born on September 28, 1946 in Newark, New Jersey to the union of Gertrude and Curtis Tatum Sr.  Later that year the family moved to Roselle, New Jersey.  He was the oldest of three children.

He attended Lincoln Elementary, Pilgrim Middle, and graduated from Roselle High in 1964.

Curtis went on to Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio majoring in Biology and Education.  1970 he began substitute teaching for the Columbus Public Schools In that same year he married Sakena Belai, out of that union they had a son Awad Tatum in 1971.  Curtis began teaching full-time for Columbus City Schools, where he taught science at Berry Middle in SouthEast Columbus.  Later taught at Marion Franklin and Independence High School.

Curtis had many talents, he had a black belt in Shotokan Karate and taught for many years martial arts to anyone willing to learn, he also taught track and karate at Berry Middle.  He owned several businesses, such as the Earing Palace and The Elite Fashion House.  He was a skill carpenter and enjoyed building future in his spare time.  Many knew him as “the Tie man” for his hundreds of selected ties he gave or sold.  He believed a person was known by how the tie they wore.

On April 20, 1984 Curtis married Fannie Thelma Davis and with open arms received Tony and Tonya Willis.  Curtis loved and cared for them as his very own.  1988 Fannie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Tiara.

Recently, Curtis served as a board member to Renaissance Academy, built a science library, and was assisting in his granddaughter’s karate class.

Curtis Tatum departed this life on Friday, November 24, 2017 at The Ohio State University Hospital at age 71.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Fannie Tatum of 18 years, parents Curtis and Gertrude Tatum, and sibling Margaret Armstrong.  He leaves to cherish his loving memory: his children Awad (Maria) Tatum, Tony Willis, Tonya Willis, and Tiara (Daquan) Osborne, and Sister Shirley Tatum of Roselle, New Jersey, and ten grandchildren, and a host of family and friends.

Visitation 9:00am and Funeral 10:00am Saturday, December 9, 2017 at MARLAN J. GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST 5456 E. Livingston Ave.
Interment at Evergreen Burial Park

Condolence Messages

  1. Donald Phillips

    To the Tatum Family, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, you have our deepest condolences. I didn’t know Mr. Tatum but we have all experienced the pang of death because the Bible reminds us: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”(Romans 5:12) Death was not part of God original purpose he wanted his humans creation to live forever right here on earth as his obedient children.(Genesis 1:26-28; 3:1-6) God promised that those who have fallen asleep in death will be raised to life by means of the resurrection to live life free of sickness, sorrow, pain and death right here on earth. (John 5:21,28,29; Revelation 21:3,4)

    • Thank you Mr. Donald Phillips, the family appreciates your words of encouragement and the scriptures of hope.
      A. Tatum

  2. You have my sympathy, I knew Mr. Curtis from the South Drive-in. He will be missed. May God bless you all.

    • Thank you Joyce Calames, we appreciate you and I know South Drive-In was one of his favorite places to be. I hope to visit one day soon when I’m back in Columbus. I know we have plenty of stories to share.

  3. michael roberts USAF retired

    to the tatum family,especially sister Shirley and cousin willis.I’ve known the tatum families since moving to roselle in 1960,my condolences on the passing of ‘junior’.kinda like the big brother I wish I had,you would know times I see him helping his dad and his uncle buster fixing up old cars and thanks to the 3 of them,old classic cars is my hobby now.i let my mom know and she remembers you all.i am glad I connected with some of you after all this time,namely willis,and Jamila.prayers to all.

    • Thank you Michael Roberts, my father would tell all types of stories about growing up in Roselle, NJ. I knew he was proud of his Roselle community, just as much as he enjoyed his Columbus community. Maybe the next time I’m in New Jersey we can connect and you can share some of those classic stories about growing up with Junior to his family. Thank you, Awad Tatum

  4. To the family of Curtis, you have my deepest sympathy in your loss. He accomplished many things in his life, as some do not achieve half as much! When someone you love dies, it is like losing a precious jewel! Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” May you rely on God’s promise that Curtis will live again!

  5. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time.. Curtis was not only a customer of mine but a school teacher, and a friend. He always came into my office just to see how my daughter and I was doing.. Another angel has gained its wings. You will truly be missed by many of us here at Simply Self Storage.. With much love, Linda

    • Thank you Linda Rice, thank you for your prayers and I agree, “Another angel has gained its wings.” Thank you Simply Self Storage staff and Linda for your words of encouragement. I know my father always said he had friends at his storage unit.

  6. Mr. Curtis Tatum was my every other wednesday for the last 2 and a half years. Hed come through my door ready to start chemo with a smile on his face. He was never mad, upset, or having a bad day. He was always thankful to be here. He would always say “see i’ve been lucky with this stuff”. He always encouraged me to run hard and run fast and always aim for the fence in softball. He encouraged me to be a great nurse after I graduate. He’s very missed. My condolences to the family and anyone who called him friend. He was amazing.

  7. Pastor Malcolm & Michele Scott

    To the Tatum Family, “Earth hath no sorrow, that God’s grace cannot heal!” We at Word For Life Worship Center wish to offer our most sincere condolences in the loss of our friend, Curtis Tatum Jr. Although absent from our earthly presence, we take solace in the knowledge that God has granted him eternal rest and peace. May our God grant you peace and comfort. And may His love guide you each and every day until you see him again.
    With Grace and Peace,
    Pastor Malcolm & Michele Scott
    Word For Life Worship Center

  8. John and Bessie Price

    To Curtis Tatum Family,
    In the deepest losses of life when Jesus alone can fill our hearts with the hope and peace to carry you
    through, may His comfort and strength be yours.
    As it is written in 2nd Corinthians 1;7 God will tenderly comfort you… He will give you the strength to endure.
    As a dear friend of Curtis he will be miss by us.
    Thinking of you with PRAYERS AND SYMPATHY.

  9. michael roberts USAF retired

    my condolences to Shirley as well as ‘junior’s’ cousins willis,alex and mabel,I have known the tatum family since 1960 and enjoyed watching and his dad and uncle buster work on old cars in his driveway,not knowing what they were contributing to,i’m now an old classic car enthusiast. we lived right next door and we all knew him as ‘junior’.

  10. Roberta L Blackwell-McGrapth

    To the Tatum family mr. Tatum was the teacher at Barry Junior High School when I was in junior high school and also a teacher when I was at Marion Franklin High School and I like to give you my deepest condolences from the Blackwell family.

  11. Roberta L Blackwell-McGrapth

    To the Tatum family you have our deepest condolences from the Blackwell family

  12. John N. Williams

    I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of having known Mr. Curtis Tatum as both a friend and professional colleague. We taught together for four academic years at the FCI Academy charter school from August, 2005 to June, 2009. Mr. Tatum was the consummate educator and scholar. I was deeply saddened at the hearing of his passing. I was further dismayed that I couldn’t attend his “home-going” ceremony due to the fact that I had to attend another funeral which was held at the same time and the very same day. My most heart-felt condolences go out to his family members. This “mortal sphere” is depleted by the loss of this fine scholar, devoted father, and overall exemplary human being. He will be greatly missed. Rest in God’s eternal Peace, my very dear friend and colleague!
    John N. Williams
    Department Chairperson of High School Social Studies
    @ The FCI Academy (2005 – 2009)

  13. Toya Ryles Mathis, Exec. Assistant to the Superintendent @The FCI Academy School District (2004-2014)

    My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Curtis Tatum. I am saddened beyond expression at the loss of such a phenomenal man. I had the pleasure of working with him for two years at the WC Handy Middle School for The Perfoming Arts, where he served as science teacher. I also had the joy of working with him for four years at The FCI Academy. At both schools Mr. Tatum poured into the lives of young people everything he knew about science and about life. His room was jam packed with scientific fun things and became either the student’s hangout or the place to send the children for a tie or some “fatherly correction”. And that’s who Mr. Tatum was to us, the student’s AND staff – “Deddy” (as he affectionately called his own father). He was a great great friend and was a beloved member of our hang out cooking, eating and laughing crew. He cooked the best tilapia and made the best shrimp pasta salad on the planet. He gave me incredible pieces of artwork and jewelry that I have treasured for many years. I will never forget how he cared for my children, always beaming when he talked about how proud of them he was. I could go on and on and on about this wonderful human being that God has allowed me the the honor of knowing. I am so very hurt about his passing and totally taken aback to have just discovered it this very morning. But it is my hope that I will leave such an eternal impact on the world as Mr. Curtis Tatum has. He is a legend and will never ever be forgotten. Thank you family for sharing him with us. To God be the glory.

  14. Awad, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. The Sinkler family Nancy her daughter Tanya, Barbara, Mark, Robin and Sandra will miss him dearly.
    Contact us. 614-203-4369

  15. The sister of Nancy Sinkler i have many fond memories of Curtis. Awad i send my love. Be strong my brother. Take care. Barbara Sinkler

  16. Jason Bond, Joe Bond

    I was one of his favorite students. He was someone I looked up to. My father and him were good friends, going to the flea market every weekend. You will be missed Mr Tatum.

  17. Isidra Person-Lynn

    I worked at Tatum’s, Curtis’ family’s restaurant in Linden when I was 13. He was friends with my big sister, a cool older cat with a Wildcat, so he recommended me. I wanted to drive a Wildcat so bad, but they stopped making them by the time I was old enough to buy a car. I always wondered what happened to him so I looked him up and sadly landed here. Dear Tatum family, just know that you gave me my first job and I always put Tatum’s down when signing up for things and they have questions like “What was your first job?” Glad to know Curtis had a successful life and a beautiful family. May he rest in peace.

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