Cayman Brac bids farewell to Captain Arlin Tatum

The Veterans and Seamen’s Centre was filled with mourners on Sunday, Dec. 20, who had come to pay final respects to Captain Arlin Royston Tatum, who died on Dec. 3, 2015. 

Reverend Audley Scott officiated the service and family members, friends and the Honor Guard offered testimonies. 

Born on July 23, 1936, Captain Tatum was renowned for his skilled seamanship as a seafarer and commander of crews. Those who knew him observed that, through his benevolent and intellectual personality, he commanded, yet never demanded the respect of all who had the privilege to know him and call him a friend.

Capt. Tatum was known as a devoted husband to Magdelene Scott-Tatum, whom he affectionately called Maggie, and father to Arlin Royston (Roy), Allen Russell, and Arlette Rachel Fatta. During their 38 years of marriage before Maggie’s death, Arlin took his family to sea with him whenever possible. His journeys carried him around the Caribbean Sea. Otherwise, the family called the Brac home. Sadly Maggie and son Russell both preceded Capt. Tatum in death. 

Capt. Tatum was also a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist, and his CDs were distributed widely throughout the islands. His fame as a musician reached international shores as both locals and visitors enjoyed his strong clear voice and vibrant country songs. Musicians from all the islands, as well as his son Roy, participated in the service playing and singing tunes dedicated to his memory. 

A keen supporter of youth development, Capt. Tatum also donated his talents to the local Junior Achievement program and the Business and Professional Women’s Association. 

At the service, Capt. Tatum’s children, his numerous siblings and friends, many from the musical side of his life, as well as government officials, stood up to pay him honor. Premier Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell were among those recognizing his contributions to the betterment of the Cayman Islands, joined by other officials from government and seafaring associations. 

Members of the Veterans and Seamen’s Society gave their final salute and tolling of the bell in Capt. Tatum’s honor, and accompanied him to his final resting in Cayman Brac’s West End Cemetery for the grave-side service. Pall bearers included Roy Tatum, Dave Tatum, Francis Fatta, Steve Bodden, Lloyd Bodden, Renwick Conolly, Kyle Tatum, and Ricky Lee Tatum. 

Captain Arlin Tatum had a colorful and extensive history at sea.
Captain Arlin Tatum had a colorful and extensive history at sea.