John Baxter Latimer, 62, of Odessa, TX, passed away on January 16, 2023, at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, after almost a 2-year battle with lymphoma. We lost a great husband, father, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend of too many people to count. His stories, antics, and sayings will live with us forever.
John was born in Colorado City, TX, to Curtis E. Latimer and Margaret J. Trulock Latimer on August 9, 1960. He was the much younger brother of the three boys, and got to go on many travels around the world with his parents. He spent his childhood helping with the family farm and ranch in Colorado City where he graduated high school in 1978. He went on to attend Texas A&M Galveston on the summer cruise aboard the Texas Clipper. There he had many adventures at sea experiencing Central America and the Panama Canal. After that first summer, he decided that dry land better suited him, and transferred to the main campus of Texas A&M in College Station. He went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy, Class of 1982, and Master of Science in Agriculture, Class of 1984. He was and will always be a proud fighting Texas Aggie of the Class of 82’ WHOOP!!
After college, he returned to Colorado City to help farm cotton on the family land, and decided quickly that he could starve to death being a cotton farmer. So, he moved to Odessa, TX, to work for his uncle at Samuel L Majors Jewelry in Odessa. There he went on a blind date where he met the love of his life and future wife, Stephanie Sivalls. They were married on June 4, 1988. After a couple of years, John took his knowledge of the jewelry business and began a career as an independent sales representative for Jostens. He spent the next 30 years serving the schools of West Texas with their needs for class rings, caps and gowns, yearbooks, and awards. John retired from Jostens in 2020 with a plan to plant a vineyard at the family ranch in Mitchell County. He wanted to return to his roots with an updated crop of his passion for the past 20 years - wine! Plans began for Longfellow Vineyards that were shortly put on hold when he was diagnosed with lymphoma in May of 2021.
In his life he had many passions - hunting, ranching, farming, water skiing, rebuilding engines, figuring out how to fix anything, travel, fine arts, and loving his dogs. He served in many groups in Colorado City while he was single. While he had sold his lake boat for a wedding ring for Stephanie, he added some new passions to his life with snow skiing, gourmet cooking, wine, serious grilling, and smoking all things meat. He also joined the Odessa Texas A&M Club, Greater Odessa Rotary club where he served as President, member of the Oil Barons board, and founding member of the Wine Society of Texas, Permian Basin Chapter. He also served on many church committees at First United Methodist Church. As a Jostens representative, he won many sales achievement awards. At retirement, he reached the Chairman’s Level, had been awarded Region of the Year (many times), and Top 5% Sales in a single year; for which he and Stephanie went on an exclusive trip to Costa Rica with the other recipients in 2020.
The greatest joy of John’s life was when his daughter Reagan was born in 1994. He was at all of her dance recitals and choir concerts, but he wanted to make sure she could fend for herself. He taught her how to shoot, ride a horse, fix basic things, science projects, proper manners, and respect. Seeing her graduate from Permian in the Top 10 then go on to receive two degrees from Texas A&M made him extremely proud. He watched her set out on her own with a career in a new town, but made sure she had a proper tool box and skills to live on her own. This past summer he was well enough to walk her down the aisle as she got married in July, and then drive her (and her stuff) to Virginia Beach, VA to settle in with her husband.
John is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a few close cousins. He is survived by his spouse of 34.5 years, Stephanie Sivalls Latimer of Odessa, TX; daughter, Reagan and son-in-law Colton Lammons of Round Rock, TX; brothers Dan (Renate) Latimer of Auburn, AL, Don (Rita) Latimer of Richardson, TX; father-in-law C. Richard Sivalls of Odessa, TX; brother-in-law Tracy (Kelley) Sivalls of Midland, TX, and many first cousins of the Latimer, Trulock, and Majors families, plus many nieces and nephews and their children.
A Memorial Service will be held at First United Methodist Church, 415 N. Lee St in Odessa on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 11:00am, Rev. Todd Salzwedel officiating. Arrangements are by Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home in Odessa. Memorials can be made to Ellen Noel Art Museum, 4919 E. University Blvd. Odessa, TX, 79762; Battleship Texas Foundation, One Riverway, Ste. 2200, Houston, TX 77056; United Way of Odessa, 128 E. 2nd St, Odessa, TX 79761; or a charity of your choice.