DeKALB – Rodney James "Bing" Latimer, 96, of DeKalb, Ill., died Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center, DeKalb.
He was born Oct. 26, 1917, in Beloit, Wis., the son of Ray and Frances (Fuller) Latimer.
He graduated from DeKalb High School and attended the University of Wyoming where he studied architectural engineering. He was a World War II veteran
, who enlisted after Pearl Harbor and served four years in the U.S. Navy
as a Chief Petty Officer and a deep sea diver. Upon returning from the service, Mr. Latimer worked as a carpenter foreman on many commercial, industrial and residential buildings in the DeKalb County area. He also personally designed and built two homes and an apartment complex. He later retired from Northern Illinois University in 1980 where he worked in the physical plant for 18 years.
He was the first World War II Commander and life member of the VFW
2287 and a lifetime member of the DeKalb Elks Lodge
Mr. Latimer had a collection of more than 400 Bing Crosby records plus several books and memorabilia. He became interested in the early 1930s when records were 35 cents and collected them over the years. He was given the nickname "Bing" when he sang with local groups like Dee Palmer and Harry Condon. He also was a songwriter and recorded several songs. He loved to sing and continued to sing with the Oak Crest Boys most Saturdays until a few weeks before his death. He also performed at his 95th birthday party.
In 2011, he was a participant in Honor Flight Chicago, an organization that recognizes Chicagoland's World War II veterans by flying them all-expense-paid to Washington D.C. for a day of honor, remembrance and celebration. He and his daughter made the one day trip together.
He is survived by his daughter, Colette Latimer Rinn and son-in-law, James Edward Rinn of Western Springs; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Helen (Thurm) Latimer; brother, Colonel Raymond Latimer; and sister, Ruth Latimer Hovet.
The visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home, 310 Oak St., DeKalb. Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday, Jan. 11, at Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home with Pastor Joseph Gastiger officiating. Burial will be at Fairview Park Cemetery, DeKalb, immediately after the service with full Military Honor Guard by DeKalb's American Legion, VFW and AmVets.
Donations can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research at www.michaeljfox.org
or through Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home.
Arrangements were entrusted to Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home, 310 Oak St. DeKalb, IL, 60115. To send an online condolence, visit www.ronanmoorefinch.com