Tag: memorial

The life and love of Tatum Deason

Katie ClineEditor-in-Chief

“I’ll definitely miss JSU’s Wonder Woman,” Paris Coleman wrote on Facebook.

“Wonder Woman” is Tatum Deason, a grounds caretaker at JSU who was killed in a car accident on March 1.

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Tatum Deason in her November 2012 Employee of the Month photo (photo by Steve Latham/JSU)

The Anniston Star reported that, at the time of the accident, Deason was traveling north on Alabama 9 into Centre around 8 a.m. when her vehicle left the roadway and flipped.

Following the announcement by JSU, hundreds of people expressed their condolences and shared memories of Deason on the Chanticleer’s Facebook page.

“I remember one time when she was landscaping in front of Houston Cole [Library] and she told me that she had ‘been doing this for 20 years!’” wrote Joseph Read, an accounting student at JSU. “I could tell by her words and actions what a genuine and encouraging person she was. She is missed. Let’s continue to pray for her grieving family.”

In addition to being employed by JSU since 2007, Deason was also a JSU student, and many students fondly remembered the classes they had with her.

“Tatum, in 2014 we shared multiple classes together and then 2015 came and we shared one class,” English language education student Whitney Gillespie wrote. “In that class I learned more about myself from the dialogue we held within our group. Your story and your determination to provide and help others was above and beyond. You were working full time on campus, going to school full time to finish your degree, raising your own children and then supporting sporting events often. Your love and your wisdom will be forever cherished and carried.”

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On Oct. 19,2009 Confederate Roses donated to JSU by Mr. Ralph Haggarty, were planted on the President’s Home lawn and near Ayers Hall. Pictured L to R are Tatum Deason, Haggarty and Steven Johnston (photo by Steve Latham/JSU).

Old friends of Deason’s spoke of Deason’s childhood and her caring heart.

“I remember becoming friends with Tatum when her mother worked with my family in the store at the crossroads,” Stacey Barnes I haven’t seen her since we were kids, many years ago. Then after many years we reconnected our friendship on here [at JSU]. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. She was a sweet friend and I will miss her dearly.”

“I’ve known her since she was about 10 years old,” Rodney Hamby wrote. “She always had a strong but compassionate spirit taking in small animals that had fallen out of the nest or when a tree fell with young ones in it and raised them till they could fend for themselves. Truly a rare trait in this world we live in today, she will be missed.”

Deason could often be seen around campus tending to the shrubbery or handling a leaf blower and always made time to talk to students. She was honored as the JSU Employee of the Month in November 2012.

“She told me once that she doesn’t work any harder than the men, but that people weren’t used to seeing a woman do that kind of work,” Buffy Lockette, the JSU Director of Public Relations told the Star. “She looked like a Disney princess ripping a tree out of the ground. It was an empowering image. She was a little hero on campus. [Her loss is] really shocking and sad.”

Deason’s funeral was Sunday. She left behind two elementary-aged daughters, an adult son and other extended family members. The Jacksonville community has rallied around the family, and Kitty Stone Elementary School counselor Brandie Green started a Take Them a Meal page to help provide food for them in the coming weeks. Individuals or groups can sign up to deliver a homemade meal or send a delivered meal to the family. Dates range from March 7 to May 31. For more information, contact Brandie Green at bgreen@jcsboe.org.

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The 2012 Employees of the Month, including Deason (second from right): Michael Walker, Linda Prickett, Jennifer Evans, Tony Hulsey (2012 Employee of the Year), Kathy Matthews, Debrah Fragoso, Kerri Reese, Gina Glass, Lora Spivey, Tatum Deason and Debra James (photo by Steve Latham/JSU)


JSU remembers Justin Tinker

Justin Tinker (right) in his Facebook profile picture (Justin Tinker/Facebook).

Brannon CahelaStaff Writer

Students gathered to mourn the loss of graduating senior Justin Tinker on Monday evening at the TMB auditorium. Tinker was struck by a vehicle on Highway 204 near campus on Tuesday, February 6.

Initiated by Active Minds Club President Paris Coleman, the Active Minds Club, ACE tutoring services and the SGA came together to plan a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of Tinker. Among those in attendance were his family, friends and professors.

Tinker, a chemistry student, planned to attend graduate school at Auburn University. He shared his knowledge with other students as a tutor with ACE.

Tinker was very intelligent and had a great knack for music and art. He was a talented drawer and was able to pick up any instrument and be able to play it within minutes. To know him was to love him, family and friends said. He was very kind-hearted and generous to anyone he met, and had a great love for all animals.

“At JSU we are more than just college students, we are a community and we are a family,” said SGA Vice President of Student Activities Kasey Gamble. “JSU is a super close-knit school, and it is important for us to acknowledge when we lose a member of our family and help one another in any way we can.”

Among those who spoke at the candlelight vigil held for Tinker were: Active Minds Club President and 2017 Homecoming King Paris Coleman; Dr. Donna Perygin, Tinker’s research advisor; Quinton Thornton, personal friend and science education major; Dr. Laura Weinkauf, Tinker’s physics and astronomy professor; Dr. Nixon Mwebi, Tinker’s chemistry professor; Bro. Joey Hanner, Pastor at Union 3 Baptist Church of Gadsden, and Tinker’s younger brother Tristan.

Those that spoke had nothing but kind words to say about Tinker. He was beloved and respected by those who knew him. Those that shared their memories of Tinker at the vigil portrayed him as an incredibly intelligent, hard-working, humble and resilient young man who showed great love and kindness to those he came into contact with every day.

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Justin Tinker (left) poses with other members of the Gaston High School marching band in August 2012. Tinker marched saxophone in the band and graduated from Gaston in 2013 (Tabitha Angela Rinault/Facebook).

It is often difficult to understand the loss of someone so young and with such potential. Students seeking help during this time may call (256) 782-5475 to schedule a free important with the JSU Counseling Services.

Tinker was scheduled to graduate this spring, and his diploma will be presented to his family at the spring commencement ceremony.

Those in attendance asked Justin Tinker and his family be kept in the thoughts and prayers of the JSU community.