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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2004

Avid amateur golfer also enjoyed weightlifting, ballroom dancing

Barry Latta, a popular Toledo amateur golfer who was the Toledo Metro Golf Association s player of the year seven times, died Friday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township. He was 53.

The cause of death was malignant melanoma, his wife, Rachel Latta, said.

“Obviously, he ll be remembered for golf to the people who weren t in his inner circle. ... But for people who knew and loved him, you came away from Barry feeling special and uplifted,” his wife said.

Mr. Latta, who was born in Lafayette, Ind., moved with his family to Toledo during his high school years. After graduating from Whitmer High School, he was drafted into the Army and served in Germany from 1970 to 1971, Mrs. Latta said.

Mr. Latta began competing in golf tournaments during the mid-1980s.

“He s pretty much a self-taught golfer,” Mrs. Latta said. “A lot of people think he was always good, but he used to shoot a bunch of strokes when he first started.”

Mr. Latta would often practice his swing in the garage after getting home from work at Ameritech Corp., his wife said. He was employed with the company for 31 years, from 1968 to 1999, and held several positions.

In 1989, Mr. Latta was the player of the year for both the Toledo District Golf Association and the Toledo Metro Golf Association. He took the top honor from TMGA six additional times.

Mr. Latta was a Toledo amateur champion in 1991 and was runner-up twice, his wife said.

In addition to his skills on the golf course, Mr. Latta was interested in karate, weightlifting, ballroom dancing, restoring classic automobiles, and playing guitar.

Surviving are his wife, Rachel; son, Devrim Hayes; brothers, Jack and Doug; and sisters, Julie Latta Marr and Carolyn Richart.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Cornerstone Church in Maumee. His body was donated to the Medical College of Ohio.

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