Cover photo for Helen Latham's Obituary
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1924 Helen 2020

Helen Latham

December 28, 1924 — November 9, 2020

Helen Ngit Cheong (Lum) Latham passed away peacefully the evening of November 9, 2020, at her home in Olustee, Oklahoma, less than two months before her 96th birthday. Helen was born on December 28, 1924, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Kin and Chang Shee Lum, who immigrated from China and established a successful tailoring business in Honolulu. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Helen worked as a clerk typist at one of the military bases in Honolulu for four years. At a social event in an airplane hangar one evening, Helen met the love of her life – a tall, blue-eyed soldier from Texarkana, Arkansas, who literally swept her off her feet. Helen and William Edward (“Ed”) Latham were married in Honolulu on June 8, 1951, and they continued to dance together for more than 60 years, until Ed’s death in 2011.
Ed, Helen and their growing family were stationed in many different locations during Ed’s 21-year career in the Army – including Honolulu (where daughter Darinda was born), San Antonio (where son Duane was born), Ankara, Turkey (where son Darrell was born), Paris (the one in France), Greenland, and finally Lawton, Oklahoma, their last stop before Ed’s retirement from the military. In 1964, they moved to Olustee, where Ed (with Helen as his lab assistant) practiced as a dental technician.
Helen was a beautiful woman – both inside and out. Lovely auburn hair, flashing brown eyes, perfect skin, high cheekbones, always impeccably dressed (with more pairs of shoes than Imelda Marcos), with makeup and nails perfectly done. Less than five feet tall, Helen was tiny but mighty – generous, smart, witty, and strong-willed. She was a talented seamstress and a wonderful homemaker (although cooking was not her favorite thing to do). She loved her husband and her family passionately, and she was immensely proud of their accomplishments and careers.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Ed, her sister Evelyn, and her brothers Harry, Alfred, Sunny, and Liebert (“Shorty”). She is survived by her sister Bessie Kam Pui Lum Fong and brother Charles Kam Choy Lum (and wife Dorothy), both of Honolulu, and many nieces and nephews. She also is survived by her daughter, Darinda Welch and husband, Bobby; four sons, Duane Latham and wife, Nancy, Darrell Latham and wife, Myrna, Dale Latham and wife, Tricia, and Derrick Latham and Jiminy Winchester; five grandchildren, Dee Latham and wife Dana, Devin Welch and wife Jacqui, Dalton Latham, Dakota Latham and wife Briana, and Darbi Latham; and five great-grandchildren, Reed Latham, Cole Latham, Daylen Latham, Keegan Welch, and Daxton Beach.
The family is grateful for the loving care that Helen received, with special thanks to Susie Hays for being such a wonderful friend and neighbor to Helen.
There will be a graveside service for Helen on Friday, November 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Olustee Cemetery, East 1720 Road, Olustee, Oklahoma. Because of COVID restrictions and related health concerns, the family has respectfully requested that attendance at Helen’s service be limited to immediate family members and Olustee friends. However, nobody will be turned away.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen Latham, please visit our flower store.

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