Whitt L. Latham
Whitt L. Latham
  • October 11, 1935 - February 18, 2017
  • Alabama

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Funeral services will be Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church for Lt. Col. Whitt L. Latham, 81, of Gadsden, who passed away Saturday, February 18th, 2017. Rev. Roger Beshears will officiate. Military graveside honors will be at Forrest Cemetery. Col. Latham will lie in state at the church one hour prior to the service. Collier-Butler Funeral and Cremation Services directing.

Col. Latham was a 1953 graduate of Emma Sansom High School. He was a graduate of JSU, Troy State University, and attended Auburn University and the University of Nebraska. Col. Latham graduated Aviation Cadet School and received his Wings, however due to his sitting height he could not be a pilot, so he became a navigator. He was selected for the worldwide SR71 briefing team to all Air Force Commands and Joint Commands globally. Col. Latham was deployed to Vietnam several times and was shot on one such deployment. Later in his military career he commanded three squadrons in succession, initially as commander of the 544th Target Materials Squadron of the 544th Recon Tech Wing at SAC Headquarters, which included command of 750 officers and enlisted personnel. Next, he was transferred to Tactical Air Command, Bergstrom AFB, TX as the Director of Wing Intelligence and Commander of the 67th Recon Tech Squadron. He closed the 67th RTS and started from the ground up as the Commander of the 12th Tactical Intelligence Squadron at Bergstrom, he brought it up to about 500 personnel as a fully functional air mobile facility that formed with an Operations Squadron to become a Forward Air Command and Control Wing. In the spring of 1980 he was called early one morning by the CINC Tac to inform him that he had been selected as the Director Of Intelligence for a new Air Force Command, including a promotion to General that was being formed at Key West which required immediate deployment and a move to Iraq 18 months later, his family would not be allowed to travel with him at the early stages of this deployment, ultimately leading him to decline this offer and retire from the Air Force. Since his retirement he taught school, worked with JP King Century 21 Real Estate as a realtor, and worked for the State of Alabama Pardon and Parole as the officer in charge of Cherokee County for 25 years. After his retirement he enjoyed multiple cruises with his wife, Jeffie, hunting and fishing with his oldest son Jeff, watching his grandchildren play sports, and being an avid supporter of Auburn sports.

Col. Latham is preceded in death by his parents, Ted and Helon Latham; in-laws, Dr. C.R.D. and Rita Burns; and brother-in-law, Douglas Burns;

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Jeffie Burns Latham; sons, Jeffrey Whitt (Melissa) Latham, Bobby (Lane) Latham; grandchildren, Devin Rae, Jeffrey Seth, and Abbey Kate; sisters, Sonia (Bob) Smith, and Nancy (Stan) Croley; several other family members; special friend, Donna Nail; and caregivers, Angie and Emily.

Pallbearers will be Stan Croley, Jeff Dodd, Domingo Heminez, Seth Latham, Bob Smith, and Frank Smith.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home Tuesday from 6:00-8:00 p.m.