Willard J. "Bill" Latham
Bill Latham, 74, of Urbandale, Iowa, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 31, 2015, after a near 6-year battle with leukemia and later complications from that disease.
Born in Hampton on May 8, 1941, Bill was the eldest son of Willard and Evelyn Latham. He graduated from Alexander High School in 1959. While majoring in Agronomy at Iowa State University, Bill was an active member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and was initiated into the Alpha Zeta agricultural honor society. He graduated from ISU in 1963.
Bill served in the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve. For several years after college, he served as a sales representative and agronomist in Louisiana and eastern Nebraska. He returned to Franklin County in 1966 and joined the family seed company.
Along with his father, Willard, and brothers Don and Tom, Bill helped grow Latham Seed Company into a regional seed business that provided soybean seed in the Upper Midwest. Bill served as the president of the company and enjoyed the research side of the business.
He also served as president of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA) and the Iowa Seed Association. Bill and Linda traveled to five continents and nearly every state, promoting the seed industry.
Bill was passionate about his community, too. He served as president of the CAL Community school board and of Nazareth Lutheran Church in Coulter. In 1999, Bill was presented with the Floyd Andre award for outstanding alumni by the ISU College of Agriculture. He also received three awards from the Eta Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity: Agricultural Leadership in 1996, 50-Year Testimonial in 2010; and Alumni Achievement in 2013.
While Bill was very accomplished professionally, he had an intense love of family. He married Linda Laverty on August 26, 1967, and they were blessed with two sons and five grandchildren. Bill rarely ever missed a sporting or other event for his kids and grandkids. He held season tickets to Iowa State basketball and football games for 40+ years. Bill and Linda attended many games and tailgates over the years with family and friends.
Bill is survived by his wife of nearly 48 years, Linda; son John and his wife, Shannon, of Sheffield; grandchildren Ian and Elizabeth; son Chris and his wife, Ann, of Des Moines; grandchildren Will, Courtney, and Morgan; and four brothers: Robert (Sue) of Cedar Rapids, Jim (Marcia) of Clear Lake, Don (Marilyn) of Alexander, and Tom (Kathy) of Clive. He was preceded in death by his parents, Willard and Evelyn, and his sister, Carol Jean.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Iowa State University Foundation for scholarships, CAL Schools Foundation, or the Franklin County Relay For Life .