Dear Mrs. Latimer and children,
I am a student at Montana State University and, although I never officially met your husband and father, I knew him. When I saw his picture on my television screen, I couldn't help but smile – until I heard the story and was hit by waves of sorrow.
On a somewhat irregular basis as I walked across the campus, I would pass Dewitt and, without fail, he always smiled and offered a friendly word. I know, especially to you, that this may not seem like a big deal but, although I'm sure Montanans might disagree, as compared to people from the south (I grew up in Texas), folks here routinely walk by with their heads down and without acknowledging one another. I looked forward to seeing Dewitt who, in contrast, had his head up and a smile ready to share. Although we didn't even know each other's names, I knew he was a happy person, someone who liked to connect with people, and someone I wished others would emulate. One sunny day, he asked me “how are you” and I made some comment that “it's a sunny day so I'm happy!” From that moment, every time we passed one another in sunshine, he would make a gesture toward the sky and say something about it being a “happy day!” It made a difference in my life – that he not only recognized me but remembered something (frivolous as it may be) important to me.
The sunny days will never be quite as bright – I will miss him.
I realize that there aren't words I can share with you to ease the pain you are enduring. However, I wanted you to know that a complete stranger, touched by the kindness of your husband and father, cares and wishes I could take the hurt away.