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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Captain
Age: 66
Year of Death: 2021

Lee Tatum Sr.

Lee Edward “Buddy” Tatum Sr. was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to the late Hosie “Lee” and Shirley Tatum on August 16, 1954. Buddy was a welder and machine mechanist for most of his work life prior to retirement. Buddy was also well known for his generous heart and dedication to the community that he called home for 40 plus years.

He was a very dedicated part of the fire department for over 25 years. During his time of service, he was voted into various ranks and named Firefighter of the Year. He completed his training at the Mississippi State Fire Academy, in addition to various training courses for equipment, and EMS alongside fellow volunteers, including his son.

Buddy was a very devoted Christian man who loved his family and his church family dearly. He leaves behind his wife of nearly 50 years, Valerie “Jean” Tatum; daughter, Brandy Key, and her husband, Scott; son, Lee Edward “JR” Tatum Jr., and his wife, Jessica; and his six grandchildren, Adrian (Austin), Daniel, Summer, Autumn, Makayla, and Brooklyn.

He loved the Lord, good music, and fellowship. He was always up for a trip or vacation with his beautiful wife, whom he called “Baby Doll,” and a grandchild or two to tag along. He modeled to his daughter and son how to be an outstanding human. His grandbabies were his world, and he made sure they knew that often. Buddy was always a listening ear and a phone call away for so many and would always tell it to you straight and pray for you often. During his retirement he found himself more available to serve in so many ways to his family, church family, and his community.

During his downtime, you would most likely find him watching TV with his wife and dogs, sitting in his recliner, which no one was allowed to sit in, unless you were one of the grandbabies in his lap. After his newly found love for his chickens, he would often have “egg” stories to share. Usually, it was a quick brag on how many more eggs his chickens laid than yours. He was a jokester who could make you smile; that’s for sure.

Although so many hearts were shattered when he departed from this earth, his family and friends have found great comfort in knowing he is now in his heavenly home in the arms of Jesus. His earthly chains are gone, and he has been set free.

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