On Saturday, August 31, 2019, John C. Latham, loving husband of Donna Lee Latham and father of Michael Blake Latham his wife Carissa Latham and Nicole Latham-Bechhold, her husband Ronnie Bechhold, Papa to Andrew Blake and Samantha Latham, passed away at age 84.
John was born on July 1, 1935, in Chocowinity, NC to Dempsey Blake and Nancy Latham. After High School, he joined the National Guard later enlisting in the Air Force and serving for four years. After his service in the military, he and Donna settled down and started their family in Merritt Island, Florida where he worked at NASA on the Apollo Projects up to Apollo 11 as a Pad Engineer. Shortly after that successful mission, he was recruited to help lead and build the infrastructure of what would be known as Disney World moving the family to Pine Hills, Florida where they lived for 23 years. In 1996, he and Donna built their dream home in Clermont, Florida. Four years after moving to Clermont and after over 30 years at Disney Reedy Creek John retired to play golf, travel with Donna, and spend time with family as much as possible.
In John’s retirement, he stayed active in civic organizations including; Boy Scouts, Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary Club, and The American Legion. John served as a Trustee for the First United Methodist Church of Clermont for many years where he and Donna were active members and where John was baptized around his 70th birthday, making it an extraordinary birthday celebration. John had a passion for the outdoors and loved to be part of his son’s scouting and in his retirement part of his grandson’s scouting often camping with his guys. He was very proud of both of his kids Michael and Nicole, and their immense love of family and work ethic that he and Donna instilled. He was also proud of his grandchildren and loved to share stories and hear about how things were going at school; he was one of their biggest cheerleaders, supporters, and motivators. After retirement, John stayed in touch with a large circle of colleagues that became dear friends from Disney; they met once a month to catch up and share life. In the most recent years, John has been a caregiver to the love of his life, Donna Lee of 61 years of marriage. After Donna was admitted to Memory Care in the summer of 2017, he would pick her up almost daily take her out to lunch and spend time with her, including the day before his passing. John loved his family near and far; recently he and his son Mike went to Washington, North Carolina for his family reunion held on July 25, 2019, where he was greeted and overwhelmed by the incredible love and hospitality shown by all of his family there.
John was preceded in death by his father, Dempsey Blake, and his mother, Nancy Louise, his brothers Alec, D.B. Jr., Bobby, and sister Edna Latham-Grimes. He is survived by his wife Donna, his two children; Michael, his wife Carissa and Nicole, her husband Ronnie, grandchildren; Andrew Blake and Samantha, his sisters; Anne, Shirley, and Barbara, and many loved cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Funeral service to be held on Saturday, September 7, 6pm at Highland Funeral Home, 3329 E. Semoran Blvd., Apopka, Florida, 32073; where the family will receive friends beginning at 5pm. In lieu of sending flowers, please consider donating to Boys Scouts of America Central Florida Council. This is an organization that was near and dear to our father’s heart. He served over many years as Scoutmaster and on the Orange and Lake counties Councils as a committee member. He also supported and mentored his son Mike and his grandson Andrew to achieve their Eagle Scout status.
Boy Scouts Donation Form (https://form.jotform.com/83445436809162)
Learn More about the Boys Scouts Central FL Council (https://www.cflscouting.org/districts/)