Mrs Geraldine Thelma “Gerri” <I>Rounds</I> Tatum

Mrs Geraldine Thelma “Gerri” Rounds Tatum

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 4 May 2010 (aged 90)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Jasmine Terrace, Sanctuary of Peaceful Rest. aside her husband
Memorial ID 62559435 · View Source
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Second wife of jazz pianist Art Tatum. She was "tall and good-looking," and had worked as a telephone operator. Art was reportedly "crazy for her." They married in October 1955, after his divorce from first wife Ruby was finalized on 2 February 1955.

Gerri was lifelong friends with comedian Rozelle Gayle and his wife Lois. Rozelle spoke at Art Tatum's funeral and was an honorary pallbearer that day. Gerri's last public appearance was with Lois, at a Hollywood Bowl concert in August 2009, where Gordon Goodwin's big band presented Zenph Sound Innovations' re-performance of Art playing "Yesterdays."

Obituary of Geraldine Tatum

Geraldine Thelma Rounds was born October 19, 1919 in Los Angeles, California to Thelma Theresa Rose and Guy Earl Rounds. Gerri lost her father at a very young age and was lovingly raised by her mother, and her extended family. Her paternal grandmother, Mrs. Katherine Tutson, especially doted on her.

Geraldine graduated from Jordan High School in 1938, and worked in a department store before landing a job in defense to support WWII.

She met and married Harry Elmer Williamson (1913-2000), and in 1943, her only child, Patricia Ann Williamson, was born.

Accompanying her cousin, Greta, to a job testing in 1948, Gerri was asked by the recruiter to also take the test. Both were hired that day, and thus began Gerri's 32-year career as a long distance operator for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company.

On a trip to New York in the late 1940's, Gerri met Art Tatum while at a nightclub with her friend Lotus Taylor. Although legally blind, Art was intrigued with Geraldine, and wanted to contact her on his next trip to Los Angeles. He asked for her number, and when she gave it, he recorded it to his memory, and called her months later. She traveled the country with Art and they eventually settled in Los Angeles, being the first colored family to buy a home in Baldwin Hills.

Gerri attended Holman Methodist Church, and later attended Founders Church for Religious Science.

Gerri loved jazz music and had a wide collection of records of all the great artists of the 1930's and 1940's. Gerri also loved the theatre, and was a patron of the Music Center of Los Angeles for over 40 years. She and her dear friend, Mrs. Lois Gayle, would make a day of it with theatre and long lunches/dinners. Even into her eighties, she continued to ask her caregivers "Do I have any tickets?"

While quiet and retiring, Gerri enjoyed traveling, shopping, and spending quality time with her family. She loved to go to Chicago, Las Vegas, and Palm Springs.

Gerri was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Art Tatum, and granddaughter, Stephanie Monique Hurd. Gerri leaves to cherish her memory, her daughter, Patricia Ann Williamson; grandsons, Michael Van Hurd, and Anthony Adams II; great-grandchildren, Keith Allen Hurd, Nicole Renee Hurd, Vanessa Michele Hurd, Anthonhy Adams II, and Jasidy Dayona Adams; and great-great-grandson, Zylan Allen Hurd, and a host of cousins and friends.

May 10, 2010 at 11am
Founders Church of Religious Science
3281 W. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Family Members



1919 - 2010

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  • Created by: Researcher
  • Added: 4 Dec 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 62559435
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mrs Geraldine Thelma “Gerri” Rounds Tatum (19 Oct 1919–4 May 2010), Find a Grave Memorial no. 62559435, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Researcher (contributor 47327837) .