On Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, Duane Lathim passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home on the family farm at the age of 85. Duane was born on July 24, 1934 in Dayton, WA, to Art and Okal (Walker) Lathim.
After high school graduation, Duane married his high school sweetheart, Anita Jean Reynolds.
Duane and Anita shared 66 great years together and raised four children: Victor, Richard, Sherri and Dale.
In 1960, Duane left his employment at the Franklin County Public Utility District to farm alongside his father-in-law, Harla Reynolds, on the family farm. Within a few years, Harla and his wife Amelia retired, passing the farm to Duane and Anita. Besides raising wheat on the farm, Duane had a true passion for raising champion pigs and steers.
All four of the Lathim children exhibited grand champion animals at various fairs over the 25 years that they were eligible to exhibit animals as a part of the 4-H and FFA programs, of which Duane dedicated countless hours as a leader and volunteer.
In 1981, when the Lathim children were no longer eligible to participate in 4-H and FFA, Duane continued his passion for championship livestock by annually selling animals to other 4-H and FFA youths. In the 39 years of providing show steers and pigs to area youths, there have been countless championship ribbons won by these exhibitors.
In addition to raising championship quality livestock, Duane was highly sought after as a judge at many county fairs throughout the Pacific Northwest. Not only did Duane have a great eye for judging livestock, he had a gift for being able to give each exhibitor genuine praise and critique that many took to heart to greatly improve their livestock and their showmanship. To honor his many years of service, the North Central Junior Livestock Show in Moses Lake made him a lifetime judge.
They closed the dedication of this award to him with a paragraph that could sum up Duane’s life. “THANK YOU for being an excellent role model for our youth. We appreciate your time, talent and gift that you possess of working with livestock and youth. THANK YOU for being everybody’s GRANDPA.”
Duane’s other great passion in life was sports. Besides playing sports, Duane was very active in coaching at many levels and in many sports. When his children were growing up, he was a Little League coach and then later went on to be a volunteer coach for high school basketball, baseball and softball over the next 40 years. His teams had a great amount of success no matter what the sport. Duane was such an avid supporter of the small school sports programs that he was honored in 2017 at the Washington State B basketball tournament for 66 continuous years of attendance which started when his team competed in the tournament back in 1951.
When not coaching, Duane took an extreme interest and support in all of his grandchildren and their activities. He attended as many sporting events and school awards ceremonies as possible. He was especially proud of the fact that all four of his grandsons won at least one Washington state sports championship.
The family home on the farm was the go-to place for the grandchildren on weekends and school vacations. Duane took the time to teach them about farming, hunting, riding ATVs and life in general. Many times all eight grandchildren were present at the same time, creating memories that will last them a lifetime.
Duane was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Buford, Byron, Ron and Delbert. He is survived by his wife, Anita, and their four children: Victor of Kahlotus, WA; Richard (Mary) of Pasco, WA; Sherri Parker (Jeff) of Lacrosse, WA; Dale (Gayle) of Richland, WA; his brother, Don (Marie) of Kennewick, WA; along with grandchildren: Laura Middleton (Keith) of Alfalfa, OR; Naomi Dorman (Steven) of Japan; Mark (Brooke) of Camano Island, WA; Michael Pankaskie of Renton, WA; Ashley O;Brien of Mercer Island, WA; Amy Garber (Jordan) of Pasco, Darren (DayLee) of Hermiston, WA; Kevin (Sarah) of Spokane, WA; 17 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held Nov. 30. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Adams County Fair Livestock Committee, P.O. Box 1239, Othello, WA 99344 where the swine show ring will be named in Duane’s honor.