Tam F Cato, “Sonny” was born in Alachua Florida on March 14, 1915 to
Barnard Wade Cato and Myrtie Christine Hawkins Cato. He died in
Gainesville on December 5, 2019.
He enlisted in the US Army in August 1941, serving in the Army Corps of
Engineers 390th Engineers General Service Regiment until 1946, leaving
as a first lieutenant. He received four Bronze Service Stars, the
American Defense Service Medal and the European African Middle Eastern
Theater ribbon for his service. In May of this year he was awarded the
Knights of the Legion of Honor by the President of France for his part
in the liberation of France in World War II.
He met and married his wife Emma Boyd Camp during the war where she was serving in the US Army Nurse Corps. Sonny was very proud that he and his wife served his country in World War II and that his son served in the Army also. After leaving the service, he bought property off Williston Road where he was a dairy farmer and delivered milk door-to-door in the city of Alachua. His next occupation was with the state of Florida Department of Transportation inspecting roads and bridges.
Sonny was an avid fisherman and avid hunter of deer and turkeys. His
last turkey hunt happened at the age of 102 where he shot two turkeys
from his golf cart. Up until his death at 104 he loved to regale people with his
recollections of his long life: his childhood, army service and life in
Alachua County. He had a ready smile, engaging personality and love of life that made people enjoy his company. He will be greatly missed by his many family
members and so many people he touched during his long life.
His family is especially grateful to Corky Cheshire, his long time caretaker, for her love and selfless care of Sonny in the last years of his life.
He is predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Emma, and his son, Tam F.
Cato II. He is survived by grandchildren Tam Finley Cato III and Bonnie
Cato, daughter-in-law Lenita Cato, and many loving nephews and nieces.