Donald O. Latsha
1930 - 1993
Don Latsha was raised in a family where music was an important part of life. Both of his parents, David and Mabel Latsha, were amateur musicians who enjoyed singing and playing their violins. Following graduation in 1948 from Laurelwood Academy where he played clarinet and saxophone in band, Latsha pursued and completed a B.Mus.Ed. with a major in clarinet at Walla Walla College under the tutelage of Clarence Trubey. During this time he met and married Leora Gass.
Following graduation in 1953, Latsha began a 24-year career as band director that would include service at four Seventh-day Adventist academies in the state of Washington. His first teaching appointment was at Yakima Valley Academy where he taught for three years. In 1956, he accepted a position at Upper Columbia Academy where he led the band until 1963. While at UCA he learned to fly and earned his flight instructor's certification.
In 1963, he moved to Columbia Academy, now Columbia Adventist Academy, where he directed the band, gave lessons and taught flying for the next four years. He completed a master's degree at Andrews University in 1968 and returned to the Northwest where he taught both music and flying at Auburn Adventist Academy.
Latsha left teaching in 1977, to live on a five-acre farm in the Enumclaw, Washington, area. Eleven years later, he and his wife relocated to Inchelium, a small community in the northern part of the state that overlooks Roosevelt Lake, a body of water created by the Grand Coulee Dam. He died in November 1993, when a tractor he was driving rolled over. The Latshas' three daughters and two sons, were all involved in music at schools they attended.
Source: Interview with his wife, Leora Gass Latsha, 2005.