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Crosby mourns outstanding citizen Tommy Latta’s death

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – The greater Crosby community lost a friend, booster, and leader unexpectedly early Tuesday morning. The hardest thing to write is an obituary for a best friend. The greater local areas and perhaps the nation had a best friend go the greatest reward on Tuesday morning, February 24.

Thomas Hugh “Tommy” Latta Jr., 52, of Crosby went to be with our Lord Tuesday, Feb. 24. He was born May 21, 1951 in Orange, Texas to Thomas Latta Sr. and Mary Ann Latta.

The warmth and character that he generously gave to those in need, and stood for in numerous voluntary capacities will surely be missed. If a situation seemed intractable or futile, it was Tommy’s gift to begin an alternative approach with a gentle teasing of the frustrated follower and apply a wonderful sense of humor that shed a new light. His faith, ability and willingness to take action made him undefeated.

It is fitting that his son, Shawn Latta, presented Tommy with Volunteer of the Year at the Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce Banquet last Friday night, before a crowd of hundreds of admirers. As Shawn presented his oration to Tommy’s numerous friends, not only was there few dry eyes in the assembly but each of us came to understand the fullness of wisdom and shepherd’s guidance Tommy bestowed upon his family.

“My choice for Volunteer of the Year Every Year,” began the speech, and perhaps those of us that knew him will ever think of him in that way. But for his friends and loved ones it is far more likely that we will remember as a humorist, leader by example and benevolent influence to the community. It is fitting that he was able to support his son as his son spoke for the gratitude of those of us that came to know him.

He is survived by his loving wife of 30 plus years: Mary Latta of Crosby, Baytown P.D. Officer Shawn Latta and Shawn’s wife, Nikki, of Crosby. His parents, Thomas Latta Sr. of Kirbyville, TX, brother, Jimmy Latta of Bridge City, TX survive. His grandson, Caleb Latta of Crosby, is a survivor that brought Tommy profound joy in his later days. Many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends survive him.

His grandparents Hugh and Vivian Latta precede Tommy in death.

Tommy owned and operated Senor Smoke in Crosby and Dayton; prior to founding those stores he was in law enforcement. He was Assistant Chief in Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. before he retired from the post. He enjoyed playing golf, going for tea at Hector’s and Saturday and Sunday breakfast with friends. Tommy was involved in many different community functions and served on the boards of directors, these include: Crosby Fair & Rodeo, Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce, and ESD#5 (Crosby’s ambulance service.) Tommy not only helped mold a modern ambulance service, he also rode in the ambulance as volunteer, and was constantly learning about the service to enable its betterment. Tommy was a member of the Crosby American Legion and Commander of the Crosby Veteran’s of Foreign Wars.

Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Crosby Fair and Rodeo Rockin’ C Arena with the Rev. Dr. Larry Koslovsky officiating. Burial will follow at White Cemetery in Highlands. Visitation will be Friday, Feb. 27 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Sterling White Chapel.

Arrangements are entrusted to Sterling White Chapel, 11011 Crosby-Lynchburg Rd., Highlands, Tx 77562, phone (281) 426-3555.

Remembering Tommy Latta…


by Dr. Don Hendrix

Tommy was glad they served breakfast on Saturdays. How else would we know about the really important things in this world told by experienced schoolmen of the world? I watched the interaction, on many mornings, as a group of Saturday friends met over breakfast at Hector’s. Tommy made this port of call almost every Saturday. He had a way with people that settled you and made you feel like you were important. It was a skill he cultivated from his soul. Nothing could have taught him better than the experiences of a life well led where respecting people was the hallmark. Often I would talk to him on the way in or out. In the fall I could always count on football stories. You see, Tommy Latta did many wonderful things and one of those was calling football games in the golden triangle. “Where ja call Tommy?” There was always a cogent story that followed that ended up with him explaining a rule to me, or telling me what a good guy some coach was, or talking about whether his knees would finally give out on the field. Large schools, small schools, it didn’t make Tommy any difference. It was just one of the lives he led.

Lately, I noticed the EMS around him. I served on the ESD Board in its founding days and now Tommy was at the heart of their operation as a Board Member. He would keep me up to date. I watched him drink coffee with the EMS techs and knew this, also, was a part of his life.

Tommy Latta was a special man who had remarkable insight into not only events of the time, but into himself also. He was a person of many passions who was never consumed by himself. He was a person who tried to look at a lot of points of view, and succeeded. I feel fortunate to have known Tommy and to have had my life åtouched by his. Words do not exist to tell everyone how much he meant to so many people.

Typical of Tommy was when Shawn Latta was introducing him at the Chamber banquet just a day or so before he passed. Shawn was full of emotion and before long you saw Tommy creeping toward the podium to help his son. No one picture of a person’s life could have been more clear than Tommy helping a family member through something. Some of us have remarkable moments. Tommy had a remarkable life, every day. Touching all of us in countless ways. I was not even on the radar in terms of being one of Tommy’s inner-circle, but it was enough just to have contact occasionally.

Everyone always says how someone will be missed. Often, that is a temporary thought and we go on to the next point in life. Tommy will actually, truly, for real, always be missed. He was one of a kind.

I just wish he could have finished explaining defensive holding to me, or maybe more about how to live a good life.