Etha “Ditty” Irene (Plunkett) Tatum was born March 24, 1942 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma to Clyde and Myrtle (Spaniard) Plunkett, the youngest of their nine children. She gained her wings Thursday, June 18, 2020 in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
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She met and married the love of her life Ed Tatum in 1961 and they had two children. In 1975, they beaome foster parents because of their shared love of children. They lived in many places during their 38 years of marriage, before settling in Warner, Oklahoma. They enjoyed traveling around the United States as well as several foreign countries.
Etha started her collegiate education at The University of Tulsa where she competed for the Lady Golden Hurricanes in basketball, tennis, track & field and softball. She also attended Troy State College and The University of Maryland before graduating from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts. Upon receiving her degree, she taught for 35 years at Warner Public Schools. She taught English, Spanish, History, Civics, Newspaper and Yearbook, along with being the Cheerleader sponsor. She was also a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority. After her retirement from teaching, she went to work for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services as a social worker and later worked for Workforce Oklahoma as a Disability Navigator in Muskogee.
As an active member of the First Baptist Church of Warner, she served as a Sunday School teacher for many years. She was an avid reader, enjoyed playing Skipbo and loved traveling with her family and friends.
She is preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her siblings Iomagene Plunkett Lathrop, Colleen Villerreal, Jack Plunkett, Howard Plunkett, James Plunkett and John Plunkett. Also, her nieces Jeane Burruss and Pollyanna Warren and nephews Joseph Villerreal and Steve Plunkett.
Etha is survived by her daughter Linda Tatum of the home, son Jack (Christina) Tatum of Warner and stepdaughter Gay (Cindy) Kennedy of Sioux City, Iowa. Her grandchildren: Tony Tatum, Emily (Ryan) Smith, Nathan (Emily) Tatum, Meagan (Jordan) Cochran all of Muskogee, OK, Laura Wright of Taft, OK, Craig Luster, Daniel Tatum, Abby Tatum, Landon Tatum all of Warner, OK. Great grandchildren Airabella Wright, Titus Lewis and Audrey Smith. Brothers Charley (Maura) Plunkett of Mesquite, Nevada and Ira (Connie) Plunkett of Council Bluffs, Iowa. In addition, there are numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as leaves behind special friends Roberta Sutton and Randy Mitchell. She also leaves behind many foster children to include Kathi Kennedy, Steve Aderholt, Bryan VanWey, and Marcy Harris.
Viewing will be held at Lescher Millsap Funeral Home in Muskogee, Oklahoma Tuesday from 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. Services will be held at First Baptist Church of Warner on Wednesday, June 24 at 10:00 A.M. with Rev. Sam Dunn and Rev. Blaine Ross officiating. Services will also be streamed through Facebook Live. Burial will follow at Warner Memorial Cemetery with Jeremy Hobbs, Jeff Hobbs, Chris Beene, Mitch Purdom, Korey Keith, Dusty Rogers and Bradley McCoy serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be John David Hobbs, Johnny Lewis, Lee Smith, Charlie Brown, Colin Beene and Randy Mitchell.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association.