Donald “Don” Hudson Latimer passed away peacefully on Sept. 4, 2023 at his home in San Diego, CA.
Don was the middle child of five children born to Luther and Della Latimer. He was born in Stamford, Texas in 1937, but the family moved around quite a bit when Don was young, and he spent most of his formative years between Moran, Albany, and Lueders Texas. He attended grade school in Albany, Texas. He graduated from Lueders High School in 1956 where he excelled in several sports.
After graduating high school, he joined the Navy with three other friends from Lueders High School: Harry Prince, Aaron Petty, and Durwood Taylor. Don was assigned to Patrol Squadron Five (VP-5) otherwise known as the “Mad Foxes.” His initial plan was to do one enlistment term and save up some money for college; however, he enjoyed his time in the Navy so much that he re-enlisted. The time in the Navy allowed him to travel all over the world, in over 50 countries, including Iceland, Greenland, Spain, Italy, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and South Africa. He and his crew dropped survival gear in the North Pole.
In 1959, while a bomb bay tank was being checked, an electrical spark ignited the gasoline and fire broke out endangering the aircraft and the lives of other crew members. He and another shipmate, Bob Dyer, extinguished the fire. They were commended by the Navy for saving the lives of their shipmates and the aircraft, and preventing damage to other nearby aircrafts.
During the Cold War, Don was part of a 12-person crew under a Unit which monitored Russian submarines that came through the Denmark Strait, which flows between Iceland and Greenland. While he was in another post, the rest of the crew tragically died when the aircraft they were on, patrolling the Denmark Strait, mysteriously disappeared in January 1962. Some of the bodies were recovered in 1966 in Greenland. The rest of the bodies were not recovered until 2004.
During his time in the Navy, he lived in San Diego CA, Jacksonville FL, Rota Spain, and Liberia Africa. He worked at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia from 1966-1968, and that is where he met his wife of 54 years, Dolores Helene Cino. They were married in Liberia in 1968. Don’s next duty station was San Diego, CA. He received a medical discharge from the Navy.
Don and Dolores decided to stay in San Diego and raise a family there and where they lived for the next 54 years. Their sons, Andrew and Kris, were both born in San Diego. After leaving the Navy, Don initially went to work as an electronics repair technician, but within a few years he had bought the business and for over 15 years ran a small electronics repair business. The business was bought out by Blockbuster Video, and he worked there managing their repair department for several years.
He retired in the mid-1990s, but kept extremely busy with his passion for research. He devoted countless hours to researching and documenting the family tree and the history of the local communities he grew up in. He was also extremely active in planning and coordinating family, Navy, and high school reunions. He travelled at least twice a year to Texas for family reunions, high school reunions, etc., often driving the 2600-mile round-trip by himself. His heart never left Texas.
Don is survived by his sons Kris Latimer and Andrew Latimer, daughter-in-law Janice Latimer, brother Ron Latimer, sister-in-law Joy Ice, and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Dolores Latimer, his parents Luther and Della Latimer, his brothers Duane Latimer and Jerry Latimer, and his sister Billie Sue Offield.
There will be a memorial service at the Elliot-Hamil Funeral Home, 5701 Highway 277 South, Abilene Texas at 11:00 a.m. on Oct. 14. This will be followed by graveside services, military honors and interment at the Albany Cemetery. PD