Bill Tatom, 89, of Bolivar died July 7 after an extended illness.
Born June 9, 1920, in Higginsville, Billy Ray Tatom was the son of David Ray and Hazel Tatom. He learned building trades from his father, but he was called to preach and preached his first sermon in 1939.
The longtime pastor attended Southwest Baptist College and received a bachelor’s degree from William Jewell College. He married Mildred McGranahan on June 5, 1943.
He was the pastor of churches in several communities in Missouri before assuming pastorates in Casa Grande, Ariz., and in Bellflower, Calif., where his leadership among Southern Baptists was widely recognized.
After returning to Missouri, he became pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Independence and served from 1967 through 1978. He retired to Bolivar in 1984 after serving Ridgeview Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark.
Tatom continued to preach, serving more than a dozen interim pastorates during his retirement years.
His outstanding service in ministry was honored by a Life Service Award from Southwest Baptist University and by an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the Cambridge Graduate School in Springdale, Ark.
He is survived by his wife, Mildred, of Bolivar; his daughter, Nancy Tatom Ammerman and her husband, Jack, of Boston, Mass.; and his granddaughter, Abigail Tatom Ammerman of Chevy Chase, Md. He also is survived by a brother, Jerry Tatom, of Santa Fe, N.M., and a sister, Dorothy Summers of Concordia.
Funeral services were held July 12 at First Baptist Church in Bolivar. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery.
The family suggests memorial gifts to the American Bible Society.