Tatum, Eskel Leonard


“He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.”

When writing about Eskel Leonard Tatum, I can only do so as my very personal friend. Eskel was a loving husband to Marcella, and a good father to Martha, Sandra and Bill. He was understanding Pastor, Counselor, Preacher and Church Administrator to the people placed under his care by the Louisiana Annual Conference. But to Hazel Lea and me, and to so many he served as pastor, he was a dear friend.
Eskel was born in LaRue, Texas, June 11, 1915. He grew up in LaRue, Corsicana and Waco, Texas. He attended Baylor University and was graduated from Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas in June 1939. That fall he entered Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. It was here that both Eskel and Marcella came into Hazel Lea’s and my life. We dated together, married the same year and Eskel and I joined the Louisiana Conference in the same class, November 13, 1941. The four of us have remained close friends.
Marcella and Eskel were married on November 11, 1941 in Gladewater, Texas. To them were born three children: Martha (Mrs. Glenn Jordan), William E. and Sandra (Mrs. John Howard). William is married to the former Jill Smith. They have six grandchildren who have lost a loving grandfather.
After graduation from SMU in 1941, Eskel worked as a summer associate in First Methodist Church, New Orleans, then filled an interim appointment to the Pearl River Charge. In November he was appointed to the Live Oak Charge. Other appointments followed: Delhi, Morgan City, Oak Grove, Metairie, Jonesboro, Bunkie, Leesville, Jennings, Winnfield and Oakdale.
Eskel retired in June, 1980. He and Marcella returned to Jennings where he was made Minister Emeritus of First United Methodist Church. In retirement he served Lake Arthur, Raymond, and as Visiting Minister of the University United Methodist Church, Lake Charles.
The warmth and friendship Hazel Lea and I experienced from Eskel and Marcella through these more than fifty years, was experienced and felt by countless people not only in his Pastoral Charges, but in the communities where he served. Jesus once said: “I have not called you servants, but friends.” It seemed to Jesus that being a friend and giving friendship was the epitome of living. So, our very good friend Eskel will be sorely missed, surely by Marcella, the children and grandchildren, and by many others who called him “Friend!”
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1990; p. 235……………..By James W Ailor

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