Obituary from Eustis & Cornell Funeral Home:
Joanne Worthen Latta, 91, of Marblehead, died at her home Oct. 1, 2013, with her family by her side.
Born in Arlington, Dec. 9. 1921, to Dorothy Bullard and Joseph Washburn Worthen, Joanne grew up in Winchester, and summered her whole life in Marblehead and on Lake Memphremagog in Quebec, Canada.
She graduated from Dana Hall and attended Wellesley College, but decided to fast track and actively pursue a teaching career. She studied at Abigail Eliot's Nursery Training School of Boston…a school and study so highly regarded that it became affiliated with Tufts University in 1951. Joanne taught at the Ruggles Street School in Roxbury, the training school for Abigail Eliot's, and then at Milton Academy.
After her first fiancé James Coleman Motley was killed in action over the Sea of Japan during WWII, she threw herself into teaching and volunteering. It was at the Officers' Club at the Boston Navy Yard in Charlestown, MA that she met and later married Richard Jamison Latta (1917-2002). Following their 1946 wedding, they moved to Marblehead where they raised their family and lived out their lives.
With the permanent move to Marblehead, Joanne started teaching at Christopher Robin Nursery School where she stayed for 30 years until the school closed. She then taught at the Jewish Community Center in Lynn until they moved to a new facility in Marblehead. She was invited to head the pre-school program, but retired in order to help take care of her mother.
During her years in Marblehead, Joanne was a founding member of Marblehead Little Theater serving as a president (1958), director and stage hand as well as one of their popular leading ladies. Joanne was also a founding member of Driftwood Garden Club with Freda Whitmore, a very active patron of Merry Mixers, and an enthusiastic volunteer at Salem Hospital. She loved selling her Shaklee products which earned her the nickname "Vitabroad." In her later years, Jo loved going to COA for Crazy Whist, exercise classes and lunch. She also loved having anyone who enjoyed music to a weekly sing-along in her home with "Uncle Sid," where as many as 18 caregivers and singers would gather 'round for stories, refreshments and singing.
Joanne is survived by her daughter Dori Lynch of Marblehead and son Tom Latta and wife Deborah of Newport Center, VT; her granddaughters Cari Latta of Cottonwood Heights, Utah and Erin Butters of Wellsboro, Penn. and her husband James; her four great granddaughters; and her grandsons Matthew Lynch of Marblehead and Jeffrey Latta of Colchester, VT.
A celebration of Joanne's life will be held on Oct. 26, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gerry 5 Veteran Fireman's Association, 210 Beacon St., Marblehead.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to
North Shore Elder Services, 152 Sylvan St., Danvers, MA 01923
Hospice of the North Shore, 75 Sylvan St., Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923
Marblehead Council on Aging, 10 Humphrey St., Marblehead, MA 01945.