top of page

Jeanne Cuffey Tatum

October 18, 1943 - September 19, 2010

Jeanne was a classic. To quote an old friend, "She was a cute, feisty, funny, no-BS woman", who could have an easy going manner, BUT always with a little edge. Born October 18, 1943 to Nancy and Wellington Cuffey in Smithfield, Virginia, Jeanne was raised in East Orange, New Jersey where she attended high school and excelled in every subject. She married young, and had one devoted son, Michael Arrington of East Palo Alto.

In her 20's Jeanne moved to California. In 1973, she met the love of her life, Richard Tatum, and they spent 37-years devoted to one another. They prized family, friends, music, theatre, the 4gers, community organizing, camping, cooking, bargain hunting, entertaining and enjoying an ice cold can of Pepsi. The two, affectionately known as Frick and Frack, shared a passion for travel. They explored the Caribbean Isles, Mexico, Canada, China, Thailand, Belize, Costa Rica,~ Panama, and Ecuador.

Jeanne was a very talented, passionate and strong woman. She was a writer, regional actress, a singer-songwriter with an incredible 5-octave range, a community activist, a nonpareil administrator, a fiscal manager, and one heck of a dominoes player.

For all who knew her, she was a fiercely loyal friend. As a passionate, strong woman, Jeanne actively advocated social change, championing children, youth and family welfare issues.

Although small in stature, her contributions to countless efforts to improve quality of life in East Palo Alto were gigantic. She worked quietly in the background as one of East Palo Alto's unsung heroes and a committed community builder at or for Nairobi College, the Community Development Institute, the East Palo Alto African American Leadership Summit and One East Palo Alto, to name just a few organizational beneficiaries.

Indeed, in her community building capacity, considered by many to be one of her greatest legacies, Jeanne was a philanthropist extraordinaire - one who more than generously gave of her time, talents and treasure to make sure the world knew of the true greatness within EPA. A tower of strength, both to family and friends, Jeanne became a role model for many and will live on through time immemorial as an East Palo Alto treasure.

Jeanne is survived by her loving husband Richard, her beloved son Michael Arrington, and her stepson Rashaan; her grandchildren Stephon, Preston and Dominique; her cherished cousins throughout the East Coast; her in-laws, Stephanie Tatum, Sylvia and Roosevelt Alexander, and Woodrow Tatum; her nieces and nephews Tazamisha, Tacuma, Tabari, Rachel, Veronica, Christina, Nichole, Jennifer, Joel, Brandon, Taylor, Andre and Johnny; and a community of friends too long to list. An extraordinary human being, Jeanne Tatum will be dearly missed. The Tatum family asks that in lien of flowers or contributions a donation is made to:

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation Attn: White Family Fund (White was Jeanne's mother's maiden name) 2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300 Mountain View, CA 94040

35 views0 comments


bottom of page