May 18, 1920 - September 9, 2016
John W. Latvis passed away September 9, 2016 peacefully at home surrounded by his wife, five children, and their spouses. He was born on May 18, 1920 at home to Lithuanian immigrant parents Alek and Agnes (Molis) Latvis. He died at the age of 96. John was educated in Nashua public schools and graduated from Nashua High School in 1938, currently the Elm Street Middle School. He was the first graduating class of that high school and went on to graduate from Syracuse University and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in Cambridge MA, in 1950. He started working as a custodian in the Shea building on Main Street in Nashua, taking care of the grounds of the Elm Tree Inn, now a part of Rivier College. He was all of 14 years of age. Upon graduating from high school he went to work for Nashua Corporation also known as the “Card Shop”. One day his supervisor asked him if he and his brother Bill wanted to earn extra money by working overtime on Saturdays. He jumped at the prospect of a larger pay check. They arrived at the plant on Saturday morning where he and his brother were given two shovels and were told to unload a train car full of coal. While they were shoveling coal and perspiring on an 80 degree hot day John looked at his brother Bill and said “THEY have to be crazy to pay us overtime to do this job”. They then shoveled until the car was empty. A foreman at the plant looked at John one day as he was rolling one of the big rolls of paper which was on its way to the waxing machine and said, “You know John, if you keep your nose clean here you may get to be a foreman in 20 years or so”. With that, he went to see his former guidance counselor at Nashua High School. The counselor in so many words told him that he wasn’t college material. John, never to be told he couldn’t do something, applied and was accepted at Syracuse University with the understanding that he would complete the foreign language requirement by the end of the summer and take and pass an exam. He took German and passed. He graduated from Syracuse in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He took 5 years out of his schooling to serve in the United States Air Force, in Military Intelligence, being discharged with the rank of Captain. John went into The Occupation of Japan when peace was declared with Japan. He was stationed in Tokyo for nine months before having enough time in service to return to the States. John had always dreamed of attending Harvard Business School. He applied while only a junior at Syracuse and was told to come back when he had a degree. He pestered the admissions board several times before receiving a telegram in August of 1948 saying he had been accepted at Harvard Business School. They asked him how he planned to pay for his schooling and he replied, “I plan to work”! He had already married his wife, Maida an Iowa native, in 1946 and now had a baby on the way. Harvard said they would honor the GI Bill and said he would receive $90 a month. He was ecstatic! He and his wife and baby daughter Lynda moved to the housing project at Fort Devens, MA, called Harvard Devens. John would stay at Harvard late after classes to study and hitch-hike back and forth to school for the next two years. John continued hitch-hiking every morning leaving at 5:30am and sometimes returning home at midnight or later only to get up the next morning and do it all over again. In June of 1950 at John’s graduation from the business school, John, his family and his parents were standing in the Harvard yard and he took his diploma to explain to his father that this was hard earned. His father looked at the diploma, and said, “Johnny, with all the schooling you have had why aren’t you a doctor or a lawyer?”. This is still the joke in the Latvis family. John had worked summers while at Syracuse and Harvard at the Nashua Mills, known as Textron in Production Control. It was during these years that he formed an exceptional relationship with James Flack, who went on to be Vice President of Textron in Puerto Rico, as Textron had closed in Nashua. Mr. Flack contacted John and asked him to come to Puerto Rico as Director of Training for Textron. They said they would send him a plane ticket. When the ticket arrived it was from New York to Puerto Rico. John didn’t feel he had the appropriate wardrobe for such an exciting trip, let alone an important interview, so he went to Brooks Brothers and bought two summer suits, two shirts and ties and a pair of loafers. (His wife says he still has the loafers.) He then hitch-hiked to New York from Nashua. After arriving in New York, he hitched another ride to the airport and flew first class courtesy of Textron to San Juan. Mr. Flack met him at the airport and the next day they traveled to Ponce, Puerto Rico to view the new plant, a new $5million dollar building. His wife was expecting their second child and knowing nothing about the medical facilities in Puerto Rico, Maida decided to stay in Nashua where the baby would be born. It turned out that John found an American doctor the Chief of Staff at the lovely St Lucas Hospital and told John he would be happy to take over the care and delivery for his wife. She was in Ponce within the next week and their son, Steven, was born in September. John immediately set up a training program for Textron which was translated into Spanish. Several men who had worked for Textron in Nashua were asked to come down to show the local workers how to run the machines which made a cloth called “Tela Poinciana”. It was quite a successful program and after a little over a year with his job plan running smoothly, John and his family returned to Nashua. John was being pursued by various insurance companies and eventually started with Aetna Insurance company. This meant six weeks in Hartford, CT in the home office for training. At that time there were about 100 men attending the training classes. Eventually, only half graduated, John being one of them. Although he represented Aetna for quite some time he opened his own office in the basement of his parents’ home on Bowers Street in Nashua. This was a trying time, a wife, two babies, and another baby, Jeffrey, on the way. The office consisted of a desk, a typewriter, (manned by his wife, Maida), a pull chain light and the furnace next to his desk. The telephone was upstairs in his mother’s kitchen. Another family joke was if he didn’t get to the phone first, his mother would be on the phone trying to get the person calling to buy insurance from her son Johnny. One day Maida came back from answering the phone upstairs and found an insurance agent rocking the new baby, Jeffrey, who was in a bassinet in the “office”. This was the beginning of John’s 65 year career in the insurance business. He went on to own and operate Latvis Insurance and Real Estate above the old Fanny Farmer Candy Store on Main Street, while welcoming the birth of yet another daughter, Tina in 1955. He was a Park Recreation Director in Nashua for 15 years and joined other organizations, but always worked 10-12 hours daily. In 1964, the same year Maida and John welcomed their last child, Maida Kennedy, John purchased the Clancy Building at the corner of Bowers and Main Streets and remodeled it into the building now known as Southern NH Medical Center whom they sold it to in 1980. At that time John and Maida purchased the historical Stark House located at 22 Concord Street, which is still the home of Latvis Insurance and Real Estate. John encouraged a strong work ethic, and by example, continued to work at the office five days a week up until May of this year. He continued to drive until he was 94 and walked 2-3 miles daily. In retrospect, even as a work-a-holic he took time off for several wonderful European trips with his immediate family, most notably a 1971 trip behind the Iron Curtain and then in 2000 with fourteen family members who traveled to Germany together to visit Maida’s family. He was very proud of this trip and referred to it often. They had a home in Florida for 30 years where their family and friends enjoyed it by taking turns all year long to visit. John always said he would retire in June… but he never said which year. Nashua has been very good to John and he appreciated all the friends and clients he had come in contact with over his 65 years in business. He said “Thank you Nashua, and God bless you”. He would like it to be remembered that family is the most important thing and that his life was a life of “Peaches and Cream”. John was predeceased by his parents Alek and Agnes (Molis) Latvis, his brother William J. Latvis of Boynton Beach FL, formerly of Nashua, NH, sisters Malvina Latvis Mogan, Agnes Latvis Wallace, his grandson Tory Marandos and daughter-in-law Louise Lafond Latvis. He is survived by his wife Maida M. (Baumgardner) Latvis, his daughter Lynda Marandos and her husband Cosmos, their daughter Tara and her husband Craig Michaud, a son Steven J. Latvis and his children John and Stephanie, a son Jeffrey T. Latvis and his girlfriend Debbie Valcourt, his daughters Tina J. Latvis and Maida Kennedy Latvis and her husband George W. Hickey IV, and his children George V, Addison James and Clayton of Manchester CT, many nieces and nephews, as well as his dear, dear friends Candice and Frank Ulcickas and Dr. Donald M. Peppard . We would like to thank the caregivers from Visiting Angels, Wanda, Paulina, Carol and Dawn and the wonderful nurses Michelle Kyle and Michelle from The Hospice House in Merrimack, NH. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 13th from 10:30am - noon in the DUMONT-SULLIVAN FUNERAL HOME, 50 FERRY ST., IN HUDSON. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held immediately following at 1pm in St. Christopher Church, 62 Manchester St., Nashua, with burial in Edgewood Cemetery in Nashua. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the charity of your choice.
John W. Latvis passed away September 9, 2016 peacefully at home surrounded by his wife, five children, and their spouses. He was born on May 18, 1920 at home to Lithuanian immigrant parents Alek and Agnes (Molis) Latvis. He died at the age... View Obituary & Service Information
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