Gerald “Jerry” M. Tatum, 86, of Mason City, passed away Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at the Good Shepherd Health Center surrounded by his family. A private graveside service will be held in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery at a later date. Memorials may be directed to the family of Gerald Tatum.
Jerry Tatum was born on March 5, 1936, in Mason City to parents Merle and Hazel (Lemon) Tatum. Jerry graduated from Mason City High School in 1954. He went directly into the United States Air Force in 1955. With his time in the Air Force, he rose to the rank of Airman 1st Class. He was stationed at the Étain-Rouvres Air Base in France where he was a military police officer. He later traveled to Africa as the Head of Air Police for training, bombing and gunnery of the aircraft. On October 11, 1958, he was Honorably Discharged from the United States Air Force.
In 1959, he was united in marriage to Sally Snyder. The couple had been married for 63 years. After his time in the service, Jerry joined the Mason City Fire Department. During his time there he was promoted to Lieutenant and later to Assistant Fire Chief. He retired after 29 years of service. While serving in fire service Jerry taught in Mason City and other communities in Iowa as a certified Hazardous Material Instructor. He also taught classes at both the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland and the Iowa Fire Service Training Bureau in Ames, Iowa. Jerry was also a certified scuba diver for the Mason City Fire Department.
After his retirement, Jerry and Sally traveled the United States in an R.V. They spent summers in their cabin on Bowstring Lake, MN and winters in their park model in Harlingen, TX. They lived in Mason City most of their lives except for four years while they lived in Ankeny. They enjoyed traveling, camping and fishing.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Sally; children, Todd Tatum (Jackie), Julie Servantez (Phil), Scott Tatum (fiancé Jennifer); grandchildren, Jessica, Jennifer, Jamie, Ashley, Ryan, Zach and Cole; step-grandchildren, Brandon, Teagan, Kaylee; six great grandchildren; sister, Dixie Yuhouse; sister-in-law, Joan Ortlieb; numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Merle and Hazel; father and mother-in-law, Jerry and Ruth Snyder; son-in-law, Mike Servantez; sister, Joanne Pedelty; brothers-in-law, Bob Yuhouse and Milton Pedelty.