Hal Lattimore(1920 - 2014)

Hal McKnight Lattimore passed away at home Thursday, March 27, 2014, surrounded by his family. Memorial service: 2 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Blessing Funeral Home, 401 Elm St., Mansfield. A reception will follow at the funeral home. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider the National Soaring Museum, 51 Soaring Hill Drive, Elmira, N.Y. 14903, or the Tarrant County Bar Foundation, 1301 Calhoun, Fort Worth, Texas 76102. Hal, the son of Judge H.S. Lattimore and Kate McKnight Lattimore, was born Oct. 13, 1920, in Fort Worth. It is difficult to capture Hal's life in words because he was a person of so many interests who excelled at so many endeavors. He was a lawyer, a jurist, an aviator, a soaring enthusiast, an outdoorsman, a college athlete, a leader, an organizer, a devoted husband, father, brother and friend. Hal's life, like so many of his generation, was interrupted by World War II. Anticipating the United States involvement, Hal obtained his pilot's license before our country entered the war. He was an early volunteer and was assigned to American Export Airlines and the Naval Air Transport Command to fly transport planes in support of the war. Initially he flew the PBY-4 or "flying boat" trans-Atlantic. Those duties took him to Ireland, the United Kingdom, North Africa, Portugal, South America and ultimately post-war Berlin. Hal began his education at Baylor University, but transferred to the University of Texas. He did not finish his education until after the war, when he obtained his B.A. and juris doctorate in 1948. Hal participated on the fencing team at both Baylor and Texas as a member and a coach and was awarded the Southwest Amateur Sabre Championship. He was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and a founder and first presiding officer of the honorary legal fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, Tom C. Clark Chapter, established post-war in 1947. He was a staff member of The Cactus, the yearbook for the University of Texas at Austin, and an instructor for the flying club known as the Flying Steers. In 1948 he joined his father, H.S. Lattimore, in the practice of law and continued until the death of his father in 1969. He then formed a law firm with Neal Adams, Dudley Beatles, Darrell Keith, Bill Meier and Larry Woods. In 1975, he followed his grandfather, O.S. Lattimore, and his father, H.S. Lattimore, to the bench when he was appointed judge of the 96th District Court where he served until 1987. From 1988 through 1995, he served as a justice on the Second Court of Appeals and upon retirement joined his nephew, David L. Evans, in the practice of law. All through his legal career he was involved in other activities, whether it was hunting or fishing, fencing, diving or soaring. He continued fencing after the war, but quickly became interested in skin diving and scuba diving with the Inland Diving Association at Possum Kingdom Lake. He is credited with being a leader in the formation of the Southwest Council of Diving Clubs. He served as the council's first president in 1958-1959 and became involved in national scuba organizations. Aviation remained a constant and a passion in Hal's life until the very end. Although his flying career began with what was known as "flying boats," the Consolidated PBY-4 and the Vought-Sikorsky VS-44, gliders soon fascinated him. By the late 1950s he was involved in Texas Soaring Association and in the Soaring Society of America. By 1968 his abilities as a glider pilot earned him the A, B, C, Silver, Gold and Diamond badges, from the Soaring Society of America. His work over the next three decades as an organizer, contest director, officer and trustee for the society resulted in him serving as president of the SSA and receiving four SSA Exceptional Service awards, the Warren E. Eaton Memorial Trophy, the Schweizer Award and induction into the United States Soaring Hall of Fame. Finally, in honor of his skills as a pilot and contributions to the Society, the SSA annually presents the Hal M. Lattimore Trophy to the U.S. Sports Class Champion. An unpretentious person, Hal's friendships were determined not by status but by the content of their character and include law partners, hunting companions and fellow aviators. He leaves behind a rich legacy of friendships and accomplishments. Survivors: His wife of 64 years, Glenn Hill Lattimore; daughter, Mary Elizabeth Lattimore; son, Michael Hill Lattimore and wife, Liz; sister, Mary Kay Lattimore Evans of Rome, Ga.; grandsons, Houston Johansen and Alexander Johansen of Santa Fe; granddaughters, Emma Lattimore and Margaret Lattimore; extended family, Kris Karnes and Katie Karnes; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral Home

Blessing Funeral Home
401 Elm Street Mansfield, TX 76063
(817) 473-1555

Published in Star-Telegram on Apr. 2, 2014