Friends and family are celebrating the life of Trinity County Deputy Lester Tatum. "He was a very kindhearted person. He would give you the shirt off of his back. He helped people, and he loved helping people. I don't care what it was doing," says Cathy Tatum.
Lester and Cathy Tatum had been together since they were teenagers, but days ago, tragedy cut their relationship short when his car went out of control and hit a tree. "It's like a knife has cut my heart out. He was my soulmate. I met him when I was in high school. We've been married for 26 years. It was a wonderful 26 years," says Cathy.
In those 26 years, Lester Tatum dreamed of being in law enforcement. He achieved his dream. Most of all, he loved being a grandfather and inspiring others. "I was mixed on what I wanted to do. After riding with him a few times, I decided I wanted to be a state trooper," says trooper Bill Clark.
Cathy is finding it difficult to deal with her loss so, in the meantime, she says she will cherish the memories. "It's hard, you know, when someone has been with you every day of your life. He's always picking and joking, always had a smile, always pulling a fast one on you. I'm going to miss that. He never left unless he told me he loved me," says Cathy.
Deputy Tatum leaves behind his wife, mother, two daughters, two grandsons, and his K9, Garrison. Funeral services are at the First Methodist Church in Livingston at 2:00 Sunday afternoon.
The family will get to keep the K9 because Tatum purchased Garrison months ago. Because of transportation issues, Deputy Tatum could not take his K9 with him to work on the day of his fatal accident.