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91521 Posts in 6450 Topics- by 1298 Members - Latest Member: Kendell Hamer 00
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Author Topic: Hello fellow 86ers!  (Read 18217 times)
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Doug Sipple 86
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« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2009, 01:36:08 AM »

Welcome John! Please fill me in on your work for the Lord as a pastor.

There are only two kinds of people in the end; those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." ~ C.S. Lewis

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave. ~Martin Luther
John Tatum 86
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« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2009, 03:18:32 PM »


     My "flock" is rather small, so I would not call myself a

"Pastor", but perhaps a "Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor" is a
more appropriate way to put it.  This is due to my main work
being done as a hospital and nursing home chaplain as well as
doing pastoral counseling in whatever form is needed.

     I do this work as a volunteer, since I am on disability.
I do not have the endurance to work 40+ hours a week, and I
can not "afford" to do less.  I have had Guillan-Barre Syndrome
since age 7.  I kept fighting using crutches or a wheelchair
throughout the following 10 years.  By the time I graduated from
EDHS, I was in a wheelchair.  The reason I was so clumsy during
my 4 years at EDHS is from literally "tripping over my own feet",
if I did not walk with my head down watching my feet, I would fall
on something such as an uneven expansion joint in the concrete, or
the door flashing at the bottom of the door entering one of the
buildings on campus.

    But if I could find a ministry that would provide me with
my own home (just a simple, one story, 2 or 3 bedroom home; one
for a personal care attendant, one for me, and perhaps a third
would make a nice "pastoral study" for sermon preparation or
visiting with those who need Pastoral Counseling), will arrange
for my moving expenses, and fly me out to the location, and
provide reliable ground transportation, I would relocate in a
"New York Minute".

     From 1986 to 1988, I was a partner in a Business Consultancy
firm.  My partner used the funds from a "motorcycle versus semi"
accident, to fund the business.  He did the paperwork in the office
in California while I traveled, both domestically and internationally.
I worked 7 days a week, 100+ hours a week.  The only time I took a
"vacation" was when I volunteered at Saddleback College for the
Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp during Easter Break, each year.  I did
that from when the camp started until 1996, when I moved to Ohio

around the time of our 10th reunion.  I also took off the 15 days
of the US Open of Wheelchair Tennis each October.

     After the 1988 US Open of Wheelchair Tennis, I had my first
heart attack at age 20.  I was returning the 15 passenger van that
the US Open rented for me, and as I got back into my own car, I
felt chest pains and a sore left arm (I thought it was from being
in a very smoggy downtown Los Angeles to pick up sponsor items,
and having my elbow in the van window when I drove a two seater
compact car at the time, so a difference in "driving style" and
"too much smog".  I was in Westminister at the time, so I drove
to Hoag, since it was only a couple of exits down the freeway
from where I was.  They hooked me up to a heart monitor, they told
me "Mr. Tatum, you are having a heart attack", then I died for a
few minutes.  They brought me back.  I spent 2 weeks in the Coronary
Care Unit and a month in the hospital doing inpatient Cardiac Rehab
due to my being in a wheelchair (they wanted to watch me closely).

     My business partner "fired" me, by paying off most of my debt.
I remained an "unpaid consultant" (if I was paid, odds are I would
have worked the same "Type-A" schedule I did before, at least that
was the feeling of my partner).

     I flew a minimum of 2 flights a day, 7 days a week.  So it
could have been PAD, or DVT that caused my heart attack (I also
was a certified scuba diver and if I could get time on a "business
trip" to dive, I would, and perhaps I traveled too early).

     But, it was not unusual for me to fly many more flights in a
single day.  It was not unusual for me to catch a "Red Eye" from
LAX to JFK for a "breakfast meeting" in New York City, then catch
a flight to ORD for a "lunch meeting" in Chicago, then catch a
flight to SFO for a "dinner meeting" or a speaking engagement in
San Francisco.  Then I would fly back to LAX on the last flight of
the day, and then start over again (my secretary would meet me with
a new suitcase full of clean clothes, a different briefcase with
the documents that I needed for the next day, and a different
"portable office" which was a laptop and a very heavy cell phone
built into a briefcase.  This is in the days that such a combination
would weigh about 30 pounds or much more.  Sometimes it would be
domestic, sometimes, it would be "catch a nap at the airport and
fly over the Pacific on the first available flight").

     So in February of 1989, I was approved for Social Security
Disability and Supplimental Security Income.  I got my Medi-Cal
card, and would qualify for my Medicare card on the 1st of July,
1991 (2 years after I qualified, on the first day of my birth
month).  Then from then on I moved 11 times from about 1990 to
1996 (if the rent went up, I could not afford it).

     My last roommate in California had a mother with "memory
problems"... I prayed that if the Lord would provide a way
for him to get back to Ohio, I would come back to help.  The
Lord provided, and so we were able to go.  I left on the 31st
of October, and my roommate had to deal with mover problems
so he was unable to come to Ohio until the 16th of November.

     By April 1997 (the spring thaw), we were able to get her
evaluated by a Gerintologist and a Neurologist, and she came
up with testing as positive as you can on a live person, with
Alzheimer's (that condition is "diagnosed" definatively on
the autopsy table).  With her son and myself here, we were able
to keep her in her own home until August of 2001, when she
became too violent for us to take care of, and she went
sharply down from there.

     I started my education with night classes at UCLA, took
a few courses at Cypress College afterward, and completed my
education through Canterbury.  Gaining my Doctorate of Divinity
in Theology and my Doctorate of Philosophy in Counseling (the
British Equavalent of a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology).

     I had a fiancee, and we were to be married on my 18th
birthday (met her at UCLA, she was a Psych Major and graduated
with her Ph.D. in Psych).  On the 24th of February 1986, she
was mortally injured in a semi versus Corvette accident.  She
was conscious, and she held on until the 20th of July of the
same year.  Her parents had paid for the wedding at the church
and the wedding reception, for the 22nd of July (my 18th Birthday).
So it turned into a funeral service and an "Irish Wake".  I
transported her body back to Australia via Quantas, and she
was buried on her families Sheep Station (Ranch for those who
do not know the Aussie Lingo), on my Godson's birthday of the
27th of July.

     After the death of my fiancee, and the "death" of my
career as a consultant, I decided to take time for much
thought and prayer.  That is when the Lord lead me to go
into the ministry "full time" as much as I could.  I completed
my education, and was also volunteering whenever I was needed
as a Chaplain.

    In 1987, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (she
played "ignorant", because she did not have health insurance,
and she was a Critical Care Nurse, so no dummy.  She bought
insurance and waited 6 months for the "preexisting conditions"
period to end).  I took her to Phillis Diller's plastic surgeon
in Newport Beach, he put us in touch with a cancer surgeon who
was waiting for us at his office.  This is when I was invited
in and I was able to see it (at the cancer surgeon's office),
her breast had an ulceration the size of a silver dollar, and
I could see a golf ball sized tumor in her breast through the
hole.  The doctor gave her two days to get her affairs in order
and do pre-op testing.  Then she went in for her breast to be
removed.  Then came 3 day a week radiation treatments, and 2
day a week (moved to 3 day a week after the radiation treatments
ended) chemotherapy.  At the time of her surgery she has "stage
4" breast cancer (basically "the walking dead"), but she managed
through faith, to survive for 9 years.  She died on the 24th of
February 1996, 10 years to the day that my fiancee was injured.

     I have worked as a non-denominational minister (weddings,
funerals, guest sermons, temporary pastor), but most of my
ministry work has been Pastoral Counseling.  Plus being an
"On Call" Chaplain wherever I am needed (Hospitals, Nursing
Homes, Jails, Prisons, Police Stations, Sherriffs Offices,
Red Cross, wherever).  I would never ask for anything in
return.  If I had to travel, I asked for that to be provided.
If I had to stay someplace for a time, for that to be provided.
But I never asked for money for this.  Some would give me a
stipend for my services, even if I refused, they would send
it in the mail or to me via PayPal.

     With me, if I had the house I described earlier, if I
could "go green" (solar electricity and hot water, well water,
large septic tank), I would pretty much go "off the grid".  Not
because I am a "tree hugging liberal" (heck, I am to the FAR
RIGHT of Rush Limbaugh)... but just to keep expenses down.  Plus
one can use cinderblock on top of the ground where the septic
tank is, and build about a 3 or 4 block high "square foot garden"
that is about 4 feet by 4 feet for each "square foot garden", and
grown my own food.  Things to keep costs down to a bare minimum.
The reason for the cinder blocks is so that I could have it high
enough for me to reach from my wheelchair.

    One of the main reasons I would be willing to move is that I
live in the dining room of a house built in 1920, with the only
bathroom upstairs.  So I bathe in the kitchen sink and use a
plastic commode in the living room guest closet.  I am not needed
here anymore, and so I am ready to move on to wherever the Lord
can use me.

    I would continue to serve the community in which I live.  If
it is part of a church position, I would serve there as well.  I
would also continue my Pastoral Counseling.  Heck, I have thought
this out enough I have thought of ways of building a house using
either cinder blocks or shipping containers, on private land
(beyond my finances or physical abilities), but I can go into
that privately with anyone who is interested.

     I am still a Californian even though I have been in Ohio
since October 1996.  But I am willing to go wherever the Lord
will take me.

Take care my friend,


Rev Dr John Benjamin Tatum DD PhD
[Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor]
(EDHS Class of 1986)
Jolynn Butler 86
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« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2009, 04:57:12 PM »

Wow John...I think you have had led a very interesting life.

I hope that something comes your way that is ideal, since it does not sound like what you have now is very accommodating.

After reading your story....may be you should write a book?
John Tatum 86
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Mansfield, OH

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« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2009, 09:13:09 PM »


     You are not the first person to suggest that.  What I need is a "ghostwriter" to help me put it on the page.  With my Asperger's, PTSD, and experience as a public speaker... my writing style is more "verbal" than proper writing skills.

     Plus, what I have shared is just the "tip of the iceberg".  I think I could come up with at least 40 chapters (at least one for each year of my life... for example I was born "frank breech, placenta previa", or in "English" that is "butt first, and the afterbirth before my butt", back in 1968...), so I have not had a boring life.

God Bless,


Rev Dr John Benjamin Tatum DD PhD
[Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor]
(EDHS Class of 1986)
Doug Sipple 86
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« Reply #49 on: April 13, 2009, 12:46:01 AM »


Thanks for the brief review!  Grin

It is awesome to see the Lord working in our lives...I will pray that He keeps using you for His glory, and that you are willing to be His vessel.

God bless you John, and Happy Resurrection Day!!!

There are only two kinds of people in the end; those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." ~ C.S. Lewis

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave. ~Martin Luther
John Tatum 86
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« Reply #50 on: April 17, 2009, 02:25:43 AM »


     Thank you very much, I truly appreciate it
beyond words.

God Bless,


Rev Dr John Benjamin Tatum DD PhD
[Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor]
(EDHS Class of 1986)
Justine Uy 90
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« Reply #51 on: July 02, 2009, 10:11:35 PM »


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