Alfred John Lata

Funeral services for Alfred John Lata, 83, Lawrence, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Church. Burial with military honors will be in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Mr. Lata died Sunday, December 21, 2014 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

He was born on November 14, 1931 in Cleveland, Ohio, to John and Belle (Badowski) Lata. He graduated from South High School there, and received a BA in Chemistry from Princeton in 1954.

Mr. Lata served two years in the U. S. Army, and then earned his MA in Education from Western Reserve University in 1957. He taught at Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. During this time he sang under the direction of Robert Shaw. In 1965 he joined the General Chemistry Program at Kansas University.

He was one of the first to experiment with the use of computers for chemical education. He spoke on this topic at regional, national and international meetings. He served as Chairman of the ACS Division of Chemical Education’s Committee on Computer in Chemical Education. He retired from KU in 2003.

Within the Lawrence community, Alfred was best known for his voice and acting talents. He was involved with the University Theater and Lawrence Community Theater (now Theatre Lawrence) for many years. Alfred was one of the founding members of Voci de Camera, and also sang with the Lawrence Motet Singers, as well as singing for weddings and funerals.

Alfred married Mary Winston Jones on June 15, 1957. She survives of the home.

Other survived include one son, John Lata of Tallahassee, FL, and daughter, Jamie Lata of Topeka, KS, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by daughter Elizabeth Lata.

Friends may call from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, where the family will receive them from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Visiting Nurses Hospice, sent in care of the funeral home.

Messages & Condolences

From Jan and Jim Erland...

We send our condolences to Winston and the family, and regret we could not attend the Trinity Episcopal December services. We had enjoyed knowing the family for years, and I taught his girls in Trinity Sunday School, and sang with Al in both the Trinity and St. Margaret church choirs. His deep bass voice was always a signature in the many cantatas we sang in. He was a devoted father and husband, and his smile and grace will be missed by many.

From Beth Benfield...

Heart felt sympathy for your families during this difficult time. I enjoyed working with Al and listening to his stories. Of course he loved teasing me about not really knowing Chemistry and tried teaching me little things here and there. I will miss seeing his smiling face.

From Clenece and Jim Hills...

With great respect and affection, we send the Lata family our condolences. Thank you for sharing this wonderful man with all of the Lawrence community.

From Jerry & Nacy Hanson...

Our love and heartfelt sympathy are there with you all–Winston, John and family, Jamie and family. We are sorry and feel torn that we are away at this time and can’t be there to give you all hugs. Please know our prayers are with you–that angels will surround you all and uphold you with love and comfort. Virtual, spiritual hugs to you all!

From Knute Pittenger...

I was blessed to have been in two productions with Al through Theater Lawrence. Al was always very supportive and helpful. A good man and I’m a better man for knowing him. God Bless you Al.

From Trina Vincent Horsey...

Al was a wonderful singer, a gifted actor and an amazing story teller. He will be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

From Anne & Earl Haehl...

With deepest sympathy on your loss. I know Chez has him fitted for his choir robe, and he’ll be singing in the heavenly Christmas oratorioa.

From Barry Frank...

Al was a wonderful man. A great bass soloist in the many Christmas Cantatas for my father’s choir at Trinity Lutheran Church, and was always in attendance at the annual Frank Christmas party. He was also one of Homer’s favorite subjects to photograph in his portrait studio! Though travel will prohibit me from attending the service, please know that I’m sorry for your loss, and all of you are in my thoughts and prayers. Take good care of each other. Barry Frank

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