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Dr. Gadson Jack Tarleton, Jr.

Age 102, passed away September 3, 2022 at Brookdale Green Hills. He was born April 29, 1920 in Sumter, South Carolina to Gadson and Ruby Delaine Tarleton, Sr.  

  Called "Jack" and "Doc" by those who knew him, he was an eager learner as a child according to his mother "Miss Ruby." Miss Ruby taught her children at home before they started school and added to their education using fun and games to keep learning fun. Jack was known for bringing joy wherever he went but few knew where he learned the skill of mixing joy with work.
  .As a child, he grew up with both parents in the home. His father was a tailor and clothing cleaner and his mother was a seamstress. The importance of his early home training was important in his future. His job was to thread needles for his mother and iron pant seams for his father. Precision and attention to detail was learned as a child and carried through to his medical career where he would be careful in reading XRays and seeking cancer using new technology in those days but very old compared to today.
     Jack attended school and graduated from high school  in Sumter, South Carolina. He had one sibling, Juanita called "Nita" and he was required to protect her, however, it is believed that she protected him too. In Sumter, he had a very large extended family who moved to the city from the family farm seeking better wages and careers. One extended family member was called "Aunt Vashti" who would only give loans and help those who "went to school." Jack's mother once told of taking him to meet Aunt Vashti and one of the questions was about his plans for future education.Her encouragement was meaningful and remembered.
     To earn money for college, he worked as a porter carrying luggage for tips for a railroad. After earning enough money for going to college, his father demanded that Jack give his earning to pay for college for his sister, Nita. Jack and his mother remembered the sadness of that time. Ruby, a prayerful women thought of a plan. She told of how she went to the only doctor in Sumter who served African Americans and asked for a loan. If the doctor loaned her the money, she would work sewing more clothes and repay the loan. Unknown to all for many years, Miss Ruby hid money inside a piano she bought with her own earnings. She said that if her husband knew she had money, "he would spend it." The doctor gave the loan to her husband who then worked extra hard to repay the loan. The doctor then gave the payments to Miss Ruby who built up her savings again. When Jack wanted to attend medical school, she sent him $4 a week which he had to use for all his expenses. In the 1940s, $4 had the buying power of about $70. Jack had to live on about $280 a month. Once he discussed those hard financial times and how he became creative finding ways to eat and pay rent, eat, and survive. He remained thrifty and was known for repairing worn soles on shoes instead of buying a new pair.
 
     After graduating from Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, he attended Meharry for medical school training. 
     Entering the Army as an enlisted serviceman, he was promoted to officer rank on the same day he was offered training as a radiologist. He chose to go to radiology training without serving as an officer.
     During part of his medical residency training, he went to New York, New York where he received further training riding on ambulances providing direct medical care to complete his medical residency.
 
     He had a plan in New York to seek and marry "a good Catholic girl". While in New York he met the large Thomas family. And then met his future wife Rhea Thomas at a Catholic dance, which was nicnamed the MeetUp in those years. Jack and Rhea married  then moved to Nashville in 1949. They remained married for 63 years.
 
     Jack worked at Hubbard Hospital and the VA in Murfreesboro where he retired. His hobbies were Bridge, hunting, fishing, deep sea fishing, gardening, and more. He enjoyed being a Sportsman and at one time was a member of the Sportsman Club. He worked tirelessly for the betterment of the city of Nashville and it's African American residents. His name is listed in Bronze at the Bordeaux YMCA where he stood firm that African Americans could and should have a YMCA when they were not permitted into other YMCAs. He received many awards from the YMCA, NAACP, and recognition by the State of Tennessee. His volunteer work included the battle to integrate Catholic schools and churches in the southern USA.
     His final years were overshadowed by Pandemic restrictions. The children of his long time friends and new friends and the Bridge club were a lifeline for him including his neighbors Josh and Erin Hurst, Helen Ross, Mai Olive Lusk and more. Howard Gentry and his sister Carol were children of his friends who continued to the end. Jack remembered his Alpha Phi Alpha song to the final weeks of his life.
 
     Jack was preceded in death by his parents (Gadson Jack Tarleton Sr and Ruby Delaine), his sister (Juanita Tarleton Gordon), and his adopted daughter (Therese Tarleton) and her grandson, Kendrick Frazier.
 
     Gadson Jack Tarleton, Jr. Jack leaves to cherish his memory survived by his son Gadson Jack Tarleton III, daughter-in-law (Jacqueline Dawson Tarleton), grandchildren (Gadson Jack Tarleton IV), (Michael Maceo Tarleton m. Sharmin Kamaria, great-grandchildren Ariel and Samuel Tarleton), (Iyona Tarleton) and children of Rhea Therese Tarleton (Antonio Gadson Landro Tarleton), (Taquwania Chante Tarleton), and (Jacara Tarleton and her children Jadaria and her children and Rico and his children), nieces and nephews, and a host of friends. (Taqawunia L Tarleton children include Sean Frazier,  Kanesh Tarleton,  Brandon Desean Tarleton, Keshawn Sanchez Tarleton, Quanetra Tarleton, Quionia Tarleton, Traquan Tarleton, Brianna Nicole Tarleton and their children include Sophia Grace Frazier, Nyla /Rose Fraizier, Lil Brandon, Kendrick Lamont Frazier, Ken Darius Frazier, Kennedy Frazier, Kyrie Frazier.
 
     Gadson Jack Tarleton Jr was a member of St. Pius Catholic Church and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. He was awarded the Order of St. Gregory by the Catholic Church for his volunteer work for the desegregation of Catholic schools in the southern USA.
Viewing Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 1-6 at funeral home. Visitation Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 11-12 with Funeral Mass to follow at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church 1700 Heiman Street. Burial in Greenwood Cemetery Main. A Repass will be held at St. Pius Catholic Church 2800 Tucker Rd. 
 

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Guestbook

Generous knowledge, kindness, patience, clear crisp voice with perfect punctuation is how I remember Dr. Tarleton . In 1981 I was a radiology transcriptionist at Meharry hospital and new to the medical language, the knowledge I obtained from Dr Tarleton made a difference throughout my nursing career. It was a blessing to work with him.

Venus Stadaker-Woods Sep 24 2022 7:28 PM

Dr. Gadson Tarleton, Jr. was truly an inspiration and role model for Meharry students. On behalf of all future young radiologist Meharrians, I express my condolences.

Tina Chatterjee Sep 14 2022 11:24 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Dr. Gadson Tarleton, Jr.

Sydney Owens Sep 14 2022 11:40 AM

A beautiful and holy man. He made such an impact and was humble and kind. A true believer and Apostle of God. My heart will forever cherish the time I have known him and how he helped my Mom understand her cancer. May his soul rest in eternal peace. I wish I could have heard more of his stories. I will miss seeing him at Mass but am truly thankful to have known him.

Christine Ragan Sep 14 2022 8:56 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Dr. Gadson Tarleton, Jr.

Karen W. Bunch Sep 13 2022 6:30 PM

We are the parents of Dr.T's neighbor Erin Hurst. It was a privilege knowing him... such a humorous and intelligent man. We had a great time listening to him quiz our grandson Michael on the periodic table. He will be missed.

Nancy Lakin Sep 13 2022 1:22 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Dr. Gadson Tarleton, Jr.

Terrie Utley Sep 13 2022 12:12 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Dr. Gadson Tarleton, Jr.

Kathryn Mitchell Sep 12 2022 7:49 PM

My deep and sincere sympathy to the family of Dr. Tarleton. May you have peace and many fond memories of a long life, well lived!

Vivian J. Fielder Sep 12 2022 11:07 AM