Ronald J. Latourette, 69

Published 11:21pm Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ronald J. Latourette, 69
Born: April 6, 1943
Died: June 5, 2012


Ronald James Latourette, 69, passed away peacefully on June 5, 2012, surrounded by his family.

He was born in Plainwell on April 6, 1943, to Ralph Owen and Winifred Elizabeth (Pallett), who precede him in death.

Ron grew up in Otsego and was a member of the Boy Scouts, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout.

He graduated from Otsego High School in 1961 and met his wife, Bonnie Jo (Pryor), at the Wesley Foundation on the campus of Western Michigan University.  They married on May 20, 1967. They recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary with their traditional, shared hot fudge sundae.

In 1970, Ron received a bachelor of arts degree in education from Western Michigan University. He came to Dowagiac and taught mathematics for Dowagiac Union Schools for 25 years before retiring in 1996.

During his career he chaired the Mathematics Department for several years.  Ron was also a faculty adviser for the Students Against Driving Drunk chapter, a Ski Club adviser and a chaperone for students on trips to England and France.

In addition to teaching at the high school, he was an adjunct faculty member of Southwestern Michigan College, where he taught technical math for a number of years.

He enjoyed the pottery classes there and became very good at throwing pots on the wheel.
As a member of First United Methodist Church for 42 years, he sang in the choir for more than 20 years, was recognized for his lay speaking ministries and also taught Sunday school.

For many years, he enjoyed the annual guy’s day trip to the Indianapolis 500 time trials.  A 23-foot fall from a roof Aug. 24, 1994, resulted in transforming his body into a quadriplegic, but it did nothing to dampen his love of life and his positive attitude. Family was extremely important to Ron, and he always was available to help in any way he could.

He was an avid fan of genealogy and keeping in touch with his multitude of friends and family by email.

He also was enthusiastic about creating on his computer unique geometric designs out of flower petals and racing his granddaughters on their bikes with his wheelchair.

He loved the challenge of brain-teaser puzzles and playing cribbage and he enjoyed viewing kites, even when he could no longer fly them.  His unique sense of humor kept those around him light-hearted.

Ron is survived by: his wife, Bonnie; two sons, Ryan (Carrie) and Matt; and granddaughters, Anne-Marie and Emma. He also leaves behind: two sisters, Donna (Zaidos) Church and Nancy (Sie) Roe; nieces, Jeannine, Karen, Carol, Emily and Melanie; and nephews, Scott, Peter, Chris, S.T., Steve, Danny and Doug.

He was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Arlene Pryor, and brother-in-law, Lawrence Pryor.

Visitation with the family is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at  Yazel-Clark Funeral Home in Dowagiac.  Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church of Dowagiac with a luncheon immediately following.

A short visitation at the church will be held immediately prior to the funeral at 10 a.m.

Interment will take place at Elmwood Cemetery in Wayland.

The family is requesting that memorial contributions be made to Habitat for Humanity, 601 Sycamore St., Niles, MI 49120; Wesley Foundation of Western Michigan University, 2101 Wilbur Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49006; Dowagiac Union Schools Ron Latourette Scholarship Fund; or First United Methodist Church of Dowagiac. Please sign his guestbook and leave a message at

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