Jim Tatum was born and raised on a farm in rural Custer County Nebraska. He graduated from University of Nebraska, Kearney in 1960 and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Tulane University in 1962 and 1968 and spent 38 years teaching at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He received a Fulbright Scholarship and a National Defense Education Act Title IV Scholarship for his graduate studies.
During his high school and college days, he played trumpet and sax in a dance orchestra. Past hobbies include Indian artifact collecting, classic car restoration, gunsmithing, bird watching, taxidermy, flying (single engine, land), fossil preparation and woodworking. He has been diving Florida’s rivers for fossils since 1977 and currently does fossil preparation and woodworking. He writes the posts for the OSFR newsletter. He is an avid reader.
Jim has taught university courses in the National University of Mexico and in Honduras, and has published two books and many articles. As a youth he spent summers working for the Forest Service in Idaho and the Fish & Wildlife Service on Kodiak Island. He has traveled extensively, including Europe, South America, Alaska and remote areas such as the Northwest Territories, Siberia, China and Mongolia.. He is married with two sons, three stepdaughters and nine grandchildren and currently resides in rural Florida on the banks of the Santa Fe River near High Springs. Board member from 2012-2013 and since 2016.