Neil Roberts Latham was born on October 13, 1938, and passed away on January 9, 2012, at the age of 73. He was the youngest of three born to Frank and Esther (Bickerdyke) Latham. He was born in Buffalo, South Dakota, and attended grade school at Bullock and high school in Buffalo and he graduated in 1957. In 1961, Neil was drafted into the Army for two years, stationed at the Panama Canal and was Honorably Discharged. After the Army, he worked on the Latham family ranch and then married Frankie Allan on January 10, 1966, and along with Frankie, he was blessed to have daughter, Julia, come into his life, in September of 1966 Lori was born and in December of 1968 Bob came along.
Neil and Frankie worked on several ranches around the area doing exactly what they always wanted to do and that was ranching. He loved to go to brandings and would help anybody if they needed him. Neil tried various other professions but he always seemed to slide back to what he knew best – ranching. Neil really knew no strangers because if anyone sat and visited with him for five minutes, they were friends for life.
He dearly loved the Camp Crook Fair and Rodeo and Labor Day in Buffalo because all his old friends would come home to visit and of course there was a rodeo. He usually could be found working the stripping chutes with Dave Brence or at the beer stand with any number of people laughing and having a great time. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1988, he “bared-down and grit his teeth” to fight a disease with far too many unknowns. On July 1, 2002, he became a resident of Mission Nursing Home in Plymouth, Minnesota, where he received necessary, specialized care from their amazingly kind and capable staff until his death January 9, 2012. Many staff have shared how they will miss his storytelling and what they termed a “truly, nice man.”
Neil was a lifetime member of the Camp Crook Roping Club and a member of the American Legion. His survivors include his wife of one day short of 46 years, Frankie of Spearfish, South Dakota; children, Julia (Doug) Davis of Camp Crook, South Dakota, Lori (Darren) Buck of Ekalaka, Montana, and Bob (Joni) Latham of Upton, Wyoming; grandchildren, Jamie (Audrey) Lubken of Gillette, Wyoming, Josh Lubken of Gillette, Lindy (Jason) Watt of Gillette, Jake (Calli) Davis of Norfolk, Nebraska, Lita Latham of Laramie, Wyoming, Travis Davis (Amanda Mrnak) of Rapid City South Dakota, Dalton Latham of Gillette and McKenzie, Mattie and Morgan Buck of Ekalaka; great-grandchildren, Tariq Lubken, Spencer Lubken, Charli Watt and Lincoln Lubken; a brother, Erwin (Shirley) Latham of Camp Crook; a sister, Marilyn Olson of Bowman, North Dakota; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Neil was proceeded in death by his dad, Frank; mother, Esther; uncle, John Latham; and his brother-in-law (that ornery ole’ Swede), John R. Olson.
A Memorial Service for Neil was Saturday, January 14, 2012, at the Camp Crook Area Community Center. Military Rites were provided by the American Legion, Laminson Post #147. A family inurnment will be held at a later date at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, South Dakota.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at: www.stevensonfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are under the care of Stevenson Funeral Home of Ekalaka.