Newton G. Tatum, Sr.
Newton Guy Tatum, Sr, was born on October 6, 1934, in the Willis community of Calhoun County, to M.D. “Doc” Tatum and his wife, Pearl Chason Tatum. He was the youngest son, and the 5th of 6 children.
While still a student, Newton drove the school bus, which is where he met his wife-to-be, Kathryn Free. Following graduation he did odd-jobs for the next year until accepting the invitation of Uncle Sam to serve his country. His time in the Navy was short-lived and he was honorably discharged the same year due to his father’s failing health.
Soon after returning home he began his career as a master builder and married the young lady he’d met on the school bus. In June, 1961, he moved his family to Marianna where his building career took off. After building many homes and the 1st Assembly of God Church in Marianna, he decided a career change was needed, and took the position of teaching building trades to the young people of Blountstown High School. Believing that teaching by example was best, he received approval from the School Board to build a house every two years, and auction it off to help fund the next house.
While at Blountstown, he organized the first local chapter of VICA as well as a Christian Fellowship Club where students met after school to freely read and discuss the Bible. In addition to teaching and hosting the clubs, he also made time for, perhaps, one of his greatest joys—volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, where they built homes for the needy. All of these activities, however, never took him away from what he felt was his true calling, being a devoted Sunday School teacher and a dedicated deacon of his church.
Following retirement, he kept busy by gardening, drafting house plans, and volunteering at the Pioneer Settlement where he regaled visitors with tales of his youth in the Chason cabin, which is on display at the Settlement.Back to the list of inductees