Charles Donald Latuda, affectionately known as “Charlie” or “Chuck”, passed away on June 10, 2015.
Charlie, the last of five sons, was born in Trinidad, Colorado, on December 7, 1925, to Frank Latuda (Francesco Gaetano Lattuada) and Rosa Emma Scampini.
Charlie attended Holy Trinity Catholic School and graduated in 1944. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy for two years and was stationed on an LST water craft in the Pacific Ocean. Following his discharge from the Navy, Charlie returned home and attended Trinidad State Junior College, earning an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts in 1948. He continued his education at the University of Denver, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Languages. While at the university, he was honored by receiving a membership to both Phi Theta Kappa and honorary language fraternity, Phi Sigma Iota.
Returning to Trinidad, Charlie became the head football coach at Holy Trinity High School. He led the team to two state championships in 1952 and 1954. He also taught Italian, Spanish and English at TSJC for many years. In 1961 Charlie became TSJC’s athletic director and held that position until his retirement in 1986.
He was the recipient of two Fulbright scholarships. He studied for a summer in Bogotá, Columbia, and then spent a summer studying in Florence, Italy.
Charlie was appointed Director Emeritus of The First National Bank of Trinidad in February 2012, having served on the Board since 1961. He also served as President of the Trinidad Area Health Association and offered his services as a Director Emeritus for Mt. Carmel Center.
Charlie followed in the footsteps of his parents, becoming a generous philanthropist in the community. He, along with three longtime friends, started the TSJC Educational Foundation in 1968, funding numerous scholarships at TSJC. The scholarships were awarded to numerous individuals from Trinidad and the surrounding area so that they could continue their education. Most of these recipients wouldn’t have been able to attend college were it not for his generosity to the Foundation and the awarding of individual scholarships.
Charlie was given many awards throughout his life, the most recent being the Lifetime Achievement Award at National Philanthropy Day in November 2014. Due to ill health, he was unable to accept the award in person. His nephew, George Latuda, accepted the award on his behalf.
Charlie was never one to sit still. He was always on the go, whether it be hunting, fishing (his favorite, hands down), or spending time on his two farms in the Sunflower Valley area from 1957 to 2006.
He traveled extensively all over the world. Charlie was a gastronome of the highest level; simply put, he loved to eat and was always will to try anything new. One of the more exotic foods that he sampled was armadillo, a dish he enjoyed while on one of his many trips to Mexico. Charlie got to know the country so well, that during the 1970s and 1980s, he organized two-week tours to Mexico. Several Trinidadians, family members, and assorted friends were fortunate to have been a part of those excursions. Since Charlie was fluent in Italian and Spanish, visits to countries where those languages are spoken proved to be extraordinary in that the locals in those countries were delighted when he spoke to them in their own language.
Attending and listening to operas was one of Charlie’s favorite interests. He loved and was well versed with most operas that had been produced, and enjoyed going to New York, Denver, and Santa Fe to see the productions each city offered. When he was at home he played albums from his favorite operas on his old record player to relax and wind down.
Charlie lived his entire life in the same house he was born in 89 years ago. Charlie was very proud when the Frank Latuda house, located at 431 Colorado Avenue, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior on January 27, 2010.
His brothers, Charles A., Frank A., Robert A., and Alexander E. “Bud” preceded him in death. He is survived by his nephew George (Judy) Latuda, Denver; Janice (Bill) Farnsworth, Burlington, CO; Cathy (Tony) Mattorano, Trinidad; and Mary Carla Latuda, Denver. Charlie is also survived by many great-nephews and great-nieces, cousins, and countless close friends. Charlie was a brilliant man and his wit was unsurpassed. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
A Celebration of Charlie’s life for family and friends will be held Saturday, July 18, 2015 from 11AM-1PM at the TSJC Pioneer Room.
Private family services and inurnment will be held at a later date at the Trinidad Catholic Cemetery with military honors conducted by the US Naval Honor Guard.
Donations may be made to a Memorial Fund that has been set up in Charlie’s honor at the First National Bank of Trinidad, 100 East Main Street, Trinidad, Colorado 81082.
Every small town should be fortunate enough to have an Uncle Charlie!
Arrangements under the direction of the Comi Funeral Home.