James B. Tatum celebration of life service

Neosho, MO – A celebration of life service honoring education pioneer James B. Tatum will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept.17, in the theater inside the Elsie Plaster Community Center on the Crowder College campus in Neosho. The service is open to the public.

Mr. Tatum, 95, died Dec. 8 in his McDonald County home. A businessman, soldier, and educator, Mr. Tatum is remembered for his love of life, family, God, country, Crowder College and his respect for others. He was a key figure in creating community colleges in Missouri and bringing Crowder College to life to serve Southwest Missouri. He served a chair of the Crowder Board of Trustees for 45 years and was a board member and president of the Association of Community College Trustees.

Mr. Tatum became chair of the Board of the Robert Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership after Mr. Greenleaf’s death. Under Mr. Tatum’s leadership, servant leadership grew into a world-wide movement. This philosophy was instilled in Crowder College and has led to it gaining a national reputation as a student-centered institution.

Speakers in the Sept, 17 service will include Dr. Don Frick, biographer of Mr. Greenleaf and consultant on servant leadership; Andy Wood, current chair of the college’s Board of Trustees; Dr. Kent Farnsworth, retired college president; and Mrs. Susan Brown, Mr. Tatum’s daughter.

Due to COVID-19, college officials and the Tatum family suggest guests wear masks and respect social distancing.