Dennis L. Latta, 90, of Seelyville passed away on Aug. 8, 2006, at 2:10 a.m. at his residence following a short battle with cancer. Dennis was born at home in Seelyville on Nov. 29, 1915. He would live in this same house except for a short time for the rest of his life. He was the only son of Rose Schlatter Latta and Clifford Latta. Dennis attended Glenn High School and was faithful to the annual Glenn reunions until last year.
His parents started a tourist cottage business in the '20s and Dennis continued in the business. In time, the Lattas owned and operated a restaurant, gas station and tourist court on the Old National Road that became a landmark. Many notable people stopped in over the years to stay all night or to eat lunch at the restaurant. Tom Mix, Joe Lewis, Louie Myers, the famous race car driver George Earnshaw, and Duke Ellington all came by at one time or another.
Dennis Latta continued this business and eventually built a modern motel which later was converted into apartments and a mobile home park. His property was always known for its park-like appearance. Dennis was a contractor and built many of his buildings and other improvements. He would proudly point out the thousands of tons of Bedford Stone that he had laid. From a very early age he was gifted mechanically. As a teenager he even built his own car. This was to get him in trouble with his father when he painted his car and his new shoes the same color yellow.
Dennis was unique in his ability to conceptualize how things looked and worked. If he could see it he probably could build it. As a young man he painted with oil and canvas. He also purchased his first camera and dark room enlarger and equipment. This hobby was to be his for a lifetime. For over 35 years he was a member of the Terre Haute Camera Club and was also a member of the Parke County Camera Club. He became known as an accomplished local and regional photographer entering and winning many salon photographic contests. For years he was active in the Manufactured Housing Association and was past president. He was fascinated with bees and throughout his life always had several hives. He always liked animals and owned horses for a time and obtained a federal permit to raise wild ducks and geese. He was a member of the Terre Haute Audubon Society all the birds, and squirrels loved his feeders. Later in life he became an avid gardener. The great love of his life was his home and business in Seelyville.
In 1973, he married Dr. Lois Coulson and over the years they enjoyed many trips together.
He is survived by his wife Lois Latta of Seelyville; sons and daughter-in-laws, Dennis J. and Mary K. Latta of Vincennes; Martin C. and Denise Latta of Terre Haute; and daughter and son-in-law, Orbie R. and Donald Bryan, of Rockville and numerous grandchildren and three great-granddaughters.
Services will be Friday at 10:30 a.m. at French Funeral Home with his son, the Rev. Dennis Latta officiating. Burial will follow in Clearview Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at the funeral home and prior to services on Friday.