Nell Tatum Wester, 79, of Grand Ridge, Florida died Friday, January 13, 2017, at her residence.
Nell Patricia Tatum was born to Annie Lee and Curtis Tatum, Sr. on September 17, 1937.
She joined an older sister, Annie Ruth and, much later, two little brothers, Mike and Bubba, came along to complete the Curtis Tatum family.
Nell’s father owned and operated the community store in Peterman, Alabama. They were very “close-knit” family known by everyone in the community.
Nell graduated, valedictorian, from High School in Beatrice, Alabama, and from Troy State University, in Troy, Alabama.
It was after graduation from TSU with honors that she came to Sneads, Florida to begin her teaching career at Sneads Elementary, which was then yet a part of Sneads High School.
How ironical it was that “Miss Pencie” Wester was also a teacher there. The teachers had a beginning-of-school picnic to which Ms. Pencie invited her son to be her guest. There, Jackie and Nell met for the first time and a true love relationship began. They were married on June 6, 1959, and enjoyed 53 years of life together. To that union came two children who were always their pride and joy: Jacquelyn Annell and William Curtis Wester.
Nell continued to teach at Sneads Elementary until her retirement in 2003. She earned the reputation of being the teacher who had skills for motivating all students to perform at their best—especially the more reluctant learners. She loved her students and they knew that she did! So many have visited during her illness and shared experiences that have brought joy to both Nell’s and her family’s hearts.
Since the death of her beloved Jackie in 2012, Nell’s health had declined rapidly. She loved life, loved people, and loved being with people. Her caregivers from Emerald Coast and Covenant Hospice loved her deeply. Her most constant care giver, however, had been her loving daughter, Jacquelyn, who had been with her 24/7 after moving her into her home about a year and one-half ago.
Nell loved the Lord and longed to be with Him, with Jackie, and with her Mother and Daddy. God granted that desire when He called her from peaceful sleep on Friday morning, January 13, 2017. Nell was preceded in death by her parents: Annie and Curtis Tatum and by her loving husband, Jackie.
She is survived by her daughter, Jacquelyn McArthur and husband, David of Inwood, Will Wester and wife, Patty, of Grand Ridge, her sister, Ann Stokes of Hampton, Virginia, brothers “Bubba” Tatum of Peterman, Alabama, and Mike Tatum of West Palm Beach, Florida, Grandchildren: Noah Tatum McArthur, Madison Wester Smith(Griffin), Amelia Anne Wester, Grace Wester, Olivia Wester, and Willa Wester. Two great grandsons also survive: Wes and Deacon Smith. Nell is also survived by her loving sister-in-law, Billie Dickson, and many nieces, nephews, special friends.
Services for “Ms. Nell” will be at First Baptist Church, Sneads, Florida, at two o’clock in the afternoon, Monday, January 16, 2017, with Revs. Robert Johns, Caron Harn and Charles Kleiser officiating. Interment will follow in Carpenter Cemetery with James & Sikes Funeral Homes Maddox Chapel directing. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m., Sunday, January 15, 2017 at James & Sikes Maddox Chapel. Flowers will be accepted or memorial gifts may be made to Covenant Hospice, Emerald Coast Hospice, or The Baptist College of Florida, Penice W. Wester Family Scholarship Fund in her memory.