White River Now’s Gary Bridgman remembers longtime Izard Country physician “Doc” Tatum, who passed away yesterday.
A dedicated member of the Izard County medical community has passed away.
Harold Maury “Doc” Tatum, 88, died on New Year’s Day.
Tatum was also affectionately known as “Papa Doc” and “Hally.” He was born in Tyronza, Ark. and graduated from Ouachita Baptist College in 1951, the same year he married the love of his life, Billy Joe Taylor.
In 1955, he graduated from what is now known as UAMS in Little Rock. After medical school, “Doc” served in the Air Force as a flight surgeon for two years. He moved his family to Melbourne in 1958, becoming the first full-time physician in Izard County. Tatum served the county’s citizens for over 40 years, many times providing care for little or no payment.
After retiring, “Doc” Tatum continued his longtime hobby of woodworking, producing unique works of art. He was a strong family man and was strong in the Christian faith.
He was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church of Melbourne, participating in many church activities.
If anything matched his love for medicine and the people of Izard County, it was the love of his family.
“Doc” Tatum was preceded in death by his wife, Billy Joe, his parents, and his brother Ray. He is survived by his children: Angel Tatum Craddock of Nashville, Lisa Tatum of Maumelle, Lori Tatum Purtle of Melbourne, Maury Tatum Quo of Little Rock, and Tobias Tatum of Melbourne; his brother, Phillip Tatum of Farmington, Mo.; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 6, at l p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Melbourne. In lieu of flowers, the family requests making a donation in Doc’s name to Manna House, a local food pantry supported by the Tatums for many years.