GARDINER - Arthur L. Tatlock, 94, of Gardiner, left this earth for his heavenly home on May 16, 2014. He leaves behind a loving family who stayed by his side during his final hours at the VA Medical Center Hospice Unit. They will sorely miss his gentle and loving presence in their lives.
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He was born to the late Arthur and Sarah Wedgewood Tatlock on March 22, 1920, in Gardiner. He graduated from Gardiner High School in 1937 and earned his degree in journalism from Syracuse University in 1941. While still attending Syracuse, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
Called to duty in 1942, Arthur went through basic training in Quantico, Va., where he attended Officer Candidates School. Ordered to San Diego, he spent time at Camp Elliot and Camp Pendleton before being shipped overseas. Assigned to the 12th Marines, 105th Artillery Battalion as a forward observer, he was at Eniwetok Atoll on his way to Guam when he received news that his brother had been killed in Anzio, Italy. He later saw action in Guam and Guadalcanal before landing at Iwo Jima. While on Iwo Jima he and his men captured the remnants of a company of Japanese infantrymen who were hiding in a cave. Noting that they were starving, he ordered his unwilling men to share rations with their enemy.
He was on his way to Honshu when the atomic bomb ended the war. Called back for the Korean Conflict, he served at Camp Lejeune as general staff and camp housing officer. After receiving offers to work in the Washington, D.C., area for the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the CIA) following the Korean War, he opted to remain in Gardiner to raise a family. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in 1980. Arthur was employed at the VA Medical Center at Togus for 30 years and retired as a claims adjudicator.
During the war, he corresponded with his fiancee, Madaline Milligan. They met while working at Gardiner Shoe prior to his service with the Marines. The two wed on Dec. 2, 1945. They enjoyed an enduring love for over 68 years. Shortly after beginning their family, the couple purchased a camp on Pleasant Pond in Richmond where they spent summers. The family has many fond memories of camp, where their Dad taught them to swim, fish and water ski. After Arthur's retirement in 1975, he and Madaline split their time between Maine and Florida until returning home to Maine full time in 2011. Arthur and Madaline's lives have been blessed by God and all who have known the pair have been touched by their warmth and fun-loving spirit.
In addition to his love of God, family and country, Arthur had a great passion for sports. He was influenced by his father, who played semi-professional soccer in England. As a freshman baseball player on the varsity team at Gardiner, he hit the first pitch ever thrown to him for a home run. He played baseball and lettered all four years in addition to playing football and basketball. He was on the freshman baseball team at Syracuse and tried out for the football team, but his 140 pound frame wasn't equipped for the college game. Undeterred, he made the most of his journalism major and dabbled in sports broadcasting.
Arthur instilled his enthusiasm for sports in his children. Five of his six children played varsity sports at Gardiner, and he and his family were avid high school football, baseball and basketball tournament fans. The family was a fixture at home and away Gardiner games. Arthur, with his two sons, continued to attend home football games until the age of 85.
In addition to raising six children, working full time and serving in the Marine Corps Reserves, Arthur still found the time to be an active member of Highland Avenue United Methodist Church, umpire Little League games and serve as commander of the local American Legion Post. He also watched over his mother who was widowed in 1941, living next door to her until her death in 1976.
Arthur was predeceased by his father, Arthur, mother Sarah and siblings Eric Tatlock and Mary Fitch. He is survived by his wife Madaline; daughter Judy Corcoran and her husband, William, of Saco; son Terry, of Augusta; son Dennis, of Brunswick; daughter Karen Brann and husband Donald, of Gardiner; daughter Patricia Donnell and husband Wilson, of Pittston; and daughter Lori Gagnon and husband Roger, of Gardiner. He will be sorely missed by his 13 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, as well as many extended family members and friends.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Maine Veterans Home in Augusta, where he and Madaline have shared a room since January 2013. They would also like to express their gratitude to the VA Hospice Unit team for their compassionate care during the final days of his life. Before entering these facilities, Arthur and his wife were lovingly cared for in their home by Renaissance Quality Home Care, which is operated by their daughter Karen and her husband Don. They also received loving care and support both at home and at the Maine Veterans Home by their nurse Jayne McLaughlin.
Visiting hours will be held at Staples Funeral Home 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 20. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 21, at Highland Avenue United Methodist Church in Gardiner with graveside burial to follow at Oak Grove Cemetery. A reception to follow the burial will be held at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Arthur's name to V.A. V.S. Hospice Unit, Voluntary Services 135, Department of Veteran Affairs, 1 VA Center, Augusta, ME 04330.
Staples Funeral Service
53 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, ME 04345
Published in Central Maine on May 19, 2014