Kathryn Louise (nee Smith) Latton

PORTAGE  --  Beloved mother, wife and friend, Kathryn Louise (nee Smith) Latton died peacefully on December 22, 2011 at the age of 93.  Kathryn was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, Lauren and Robert and her sister, Helen.

Kathryn was born on September 26, 1918, in Sparta, WI, to Edna and Moses Smith. Her family moved to Madison in the 1920's, and she graduated from Madison West High School.  She attended Milwaukee Downer College for two years before transferring to UW Madison.  She graduated with a degree in speech and English.   Kathryn began her teaching career in Tomahawk and then moved to Oconomowoc where she enjoyed being able to take the train from Oconomowoc into Milwaukee to attend the symphony or a play on a weekend or even on a week night.    

Kathryn married Howard Latton on Christmas Eve, 1943 in Texas.  Howard was in training to become a pilot in the Army Air Force and he was deployed soon after their marriage to a base in England.  In 1944, Kathryn learned his plane had been shot down and Howard was missing in action.  She went through anxious weeks before she finally learned he was in a POW camp.  Kay was Howard's faithful co-pilot during 68 years of marriage, creating a beautiful home where family and friends could gather. They had three children together, Kristine Latton of Marshfield, Nancy Latton of Wauwatosa and Susan Latton (James Gill) of Madison. She was a loving grandmother to six grandchildren: Todd Jacobsen of Albuquerque, NM, Scott Jacobsen (Anna) of Denver, Colorado, Tanya (Conor) Mulvey of Silver Spring, Maryland, Dustin Jacobsen of Boulder, Colorado, Cody Gill of Madison, Logan Gill also of Madison.  In addition, she has two great grandchildren, Sonya and Kyle of Denver, Colorado.  Kay is also survived by Dennis Jacobsen who enjoyed being her son-in law and who stayed close to her until her death.

Kay was a leader in Portage, volunteering in her church, the Civic League, meals on wheels and many other good works in her community. After her children were older, Kay returned to her teaching career.  She loved to teach and enjoyed her relationships with the many students she had over the years.  Her warmth and caring was a central feature of her personality and her students, friends and family all experienced her generous, kind spirit.  She devotedly cared for her mother in her later years. 
She and Howard enjoyed many wonderful trips in Howard's plane traveling all over the United States.  They spent many winters in Sun City Center, Florida where they were active with their friends. They went to tea dances, played bridge and were always on the go to various community activities.

Though she suffered from arthritis and dementia in her later years, her warmth and caring continued to be felt by her family until the end of her life.  Kay was in the St. Clare Meadows Nursing Home in Baraboo for the last 5 years.  The St. Clare staff provided wonderful care for Kay and the family wishes to thank them for helping make her last years as comfortable as possible,  She was also close to her personal helpers from Home Instead including, Bonnie, Kathy, Sandy, Donna and Eileen who gave her loving support and care over these last years.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at the Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage, with Dr. Steve Corbett officiating.  Private family burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison.  Visitation will be held on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m. at the Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage.

Memorials may be given in her name to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI. 

Condolences may be emailed to Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home at 



For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)