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Dudley E. “Del” Latham

April 1, 2017

Dudley Eugene “Del” Latham III died at Stormont Vail hospital April 1, 2017, following complications from a heart attack last fall. He was 73.

Mr. Latham was born on September 28, 1943, on Long Island, New York, to his parents Dudley Eugene, Jr. and Virginia Latham, nee Jarman.

He graduated from CW Post College, Long Island, with a degree in pre-medicine. Some years later he was awarded a master’s degree in Family Studies from Kansas State University.

He married Kathleen Boylson in New York in 1966, where he sold pharmaceuticals and she worked as a nurse and Lamaze instructor.

Within a year of marriage, they moved to Chicago where Del transitioned to medical tape and label sales. Shortly thereafter, they moved to the Madison, Wisconsin, area, where he sold for Permacel Tape Co.

In 1976 Del started his own business – Roll Products, Inc. – in his garage. Within months, he rented a small shop and employed several local members of St. Therese’s Catholic Church, which he and Kathleen founded and which still functions as a thriving chapel of the Society of St. Pius X.

Always involved heavily in the lives of his children, they also founded a small private Catholic school, the Academy of St. Therese, to fill a gap which he and Kathleen saw in their local educational community.

In 1986, he moved his family and later his business to St. Marys, Kansas, where he lived until his death.

Residents of St. Marys will remember his eager involvement in St. Marys Academy through his love of the athletics programs and music, and his varied contributions to the broader St. Marys community in the forms of the Chamber of Commerce, EMS Department, Police Department, Fireworks, Arts in the Park, Community Band, and more.

He retired from these activities some ten years before his death, spending his time pursuing his hobbies at his home and managing care for his wife.

He will be remembered by his family and friends as someone who always looked for a way to serve others. His generosity was boundless, and he understood that the good fortune God had granted to him was meant to be shared widely with others. He sought out families in need and gave generously to help them through times of difficulty.

Del tirelessly worked for his family, not only in his business and in the school he founded, but also through his attendance at every possible sporting event, recital, show, and contest in which his seven children participated.

Del is survived by his wife, Kathleen; his brother, Larry of Madison, WI; his children Elizabeth (Joe), Cliff (Monica), Greg (Jennifer), Tom (Anne Marie), Mark (Alicia), John (Kristina), and Andrew (Alison), as well as 33 grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Dudley Euguene, Jr and Virginia, and his Stepfather, William Brodhagen.

Requiem Mass will be at 7:00 A.M. Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at Assumption Chapel.  Interment will be in Our Lady Of Peace Cemetery, St. Marys, Kansas.  A Rosary will be recited at 5:20 P.M. Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at the church.  Memorials may be made in his name and sent to Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple, St. Marys, KS.  66536.

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One thought on “Dudley E. “Del” Latham

  1. My condolences to the Latham family; a family led by two of the finest and most generous people I have ever known.

    I was a boarding student at St Mary’s for many years, and a frequent recipient of Del and Kathleen’s kindness; their boys accepted me as friend and I consider them as brothers. Perhaps over the years and distance I have not kept in touch as much as I would like, but the kindness the Latham family have shown me for all those years, was immeasurable and had a deep impact – there is a hardly a week that goes by that I don’t think positively of my experiences, participating in your lives.

    As I read Cliff’s comments online, they ring so true with my observations. Del was a consummate leader, an inspiring role model on so many levels – an awesome coach on life. I always loved the way he was so creative and positive, all the time. I particularly remember the “Fathom Football” – a subtle funny way to motivate the football team over the many years. Perhaps some found it needless, but even then, before I knew the heavy burden of family life (a fraction of the responsibilities he shouldered), I recognized this was a person of great accomplishment. To be at the leadership position he held – a true community leader, with strong business acumen – to take the time to draw up such simple, effective motivation that spoke to even the most insignificant of the team members, was amazing.

    As a kid you don’t recognize the cost of what is given to you, you are the center of the world; period. Del often made me feel this way; now of course I recognize the magnitude of his generosity to me. His time, probably the most precious resource, he shared with me without any hesitation.
    I remember him coming to the dorm, and having a chat with me about growing up. I could tell he wasn’t very comfortable, I sensed Kathleen had probably made him do it. But here was Del who had enough on his plate without me, recognize that I was away from my family, taking the time to comfort me and making sure my practical well-being was looked after, even though it was not anywhere near “his job”.

    As I a father I strive to emulate the many great qualities I recognized in Del, and try, to my limited ability, to reproduce them towards others. I try not to set goals for my boys, but to show them how to set their own goal, but most importantly how to reach them in practical terms. I always admired that Del surrounded “you” with no only motivation, but opportunities to improve and learn; one time, I bought a unicycle. Perhaps one day, someone will pick up the challenge and surprise themselves and gain the great satisfaction that comes from achieving a personal goal. I try to be as kind and generous to the kids in the neighborhood, no matter what their circumstances might be, as I observed Del and Kathleen doing.

    At work, I try to be patient, nurture curiosity and creativity by mentoring and leading by example as I saw Del doing. It brings me much happiness to see music being a big part of family now, something I always admired. I have many great memories of watching Del and Greg practicing “Peter Gunn” or the likes, as I spied from the edge of the stage – I’d be grinning ear to ear, as he belted out a swing tune on his trumpet. Was there anything he couldn’t do?

    Kathleen, Elizabeth, Cliff, Greg, Tom, Mark, John and Andrew; there are few words that can adequately express my sympathies for your great loss. I just wanted to share with you that Del left an indelible mark on me; there are not many days that I don’t think of you, and Del, and how much of a positive influence you have on my life.

    Thank you for having shared him with me.

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