James “Hammer” Latva began his life’s journey on January 30,
1944 and ended his journey on February 13, 2019. He was raised in Amasa,
Michigan and graduated from Amasa High School in 1962. Always a man of great
intelligence and intellect, he graduated in the top 10 in his class. A
tremendous feat for any scholar, regardless that there were only 11 people in
his class. After High School Jim took
his talents to the United States Navy where he served aboard the USS Hancock as
a radioman from 1962-1966. He was very proud of his service to his country
during the Vietnam War. He could always be found wearing his Vietnam Veteran or
In 1973 he married the love of his life, Judy (Boese) Latva.
He had finally found a woman that could handle his extraordinary good looks,
superior intelligence and quick wit. Judy was truly his soul mate and likely
the only woman that could keep him in line, and she was able to do that for the
next 45 years. In 1976 his son Jason was born. Jim knew perfection was obtained
and to have additional children would only lead to disappointment, so they
decided to stop at one. Jason is obviously the writer of this obituary.
Jim started his career as a guard at Dodge Correctional
Institute in 1980 and retired in 2003. He made many great friends throughout
his career there and always had a special place in his heart for his
co-workers. He also acquired the nickname “Hammer” there. In retirement he loved spending time at
Lakeside Park watching softball in the summer and he was a proud member of the
Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 270.
Even though they only had one biological child, Jim had many
other “sons and daughters” that he loved and adored with all of his heart. He
considered himself blessed to have all of the amazing people in his life that
he had. He was very proud of his Finnish heritage and being a “Yooper”. He will
always be remembered for his great sense of humor and wonderful personality.
Jim loved everyone he met and was loved by many. The happiest times in Jim’s
life was spending time with his grandson’s, Tyson and Beckett.
Jim is survived by his wife, Judy Latva; son, Jason Latva;
daughter in law Sherie (Payne) Latva; and grandsons Tyson and Beckett Latva; sister
in law Sandy Latva and many special nieces and nephews. Jim was proceeded in
death by his parents George and Ilmi (Maki) Latva, brother Bill Latva, sister
and brother in law Esther and Vic Kivimaki, sisters in law Shirley Michels and
Barbara Tabbert and brother in law Ronald Tabbert.
Per Jim’s wishes there will be a Celebration of his Life at
the Fond du Lac Eagle’s Club, 515 N. Park Avenue, on March 9th from
11:00 to 2:00. There will be a memorial
service at 11:30 with lunch to follow.
Cremation has taken place. No
flowers please. Memorials to the family.
Funeral Chapel & Crematory is serving the family, www.kurkimachfuneralchapel.com.