Forrest F. Latham
February 22, 1940 – September 5, 2015
Forrest Latham, 75, noted Yakima tennis instructor who introduced hundreds of Yakima area youngsters to the game of tennis and a top level player himself, died Saturday, September 5, 2015, at Seattle’s Harborview Hospital. He was born February 22, 1940, to Herman Billy Latham and Willmetta Pearl (Connatser) Latham in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and moved with this family to Yakima shortly afterwards. Educated at local schools, he was a member of the first Eisenhower High School class of 1958, where his tennis skills were quickly noticed. As an accomplished clarinetist, he was offered a full-ride music scholarship to Washington State University, but he rejected it to attend the University of Washington and remained a loyal UW supporter. Later, he left the University to join the Peace Corps, where he served in Mexico for a short time. Returning to Yakima, he enrolled at Yakima Valley Community College and later at Central Washington University, where he captained the Wildcat tennis squad to the national tournament in 1966. With a degree in Economics and minors in History and Philosophy, he later would add two more undergraduate degrees in English and Migrant Education as well as post-graduate work in English at Eastern Washington University. In 1966, he would return to Mexico where he would participate in the Mexican International Tennis Federation tournament, and during this time, he would pick up his first international certificate as a teaching professional. Moving to Australia in 1975 to teach school, he also became a certified tennis teaching professional in both Australia and New Zealand, where he discovered a young prodigy playing at the Queensland Lawn Tennis Club. Becoming Kelly Everden’s sole instructor, Latham later became his sponsor, bringing him to Yakima where he would star as one of the finest tennis players the Valley has seen. Latham, who earlier had served as teaching pro for the Larson Park Tennis Club, was a significant part of the growth of the sport during the early 1970s. During the 1974 and 1975 seasons, he had more than 300 junior players under his tutelage. After leaving Australia and New Zealand, Forrest took time to travel throughout Europe playing and teaching tennis. Taking over the Yakima Valley Community College reins in 1978, Latham would earn four Coach of the Year awards at the NWAACC and four conference championships while instructing tennis and golf for YVCC’s physical education department. Everden, meanwhile cruised through all opposition and later transferred to the University of Arkansas for stronger competition and earned All-American honors. Everden joined the ATP tour and played in major tournaments throughout the world both in the singles and doubles. Today, he is the head professional at the Mercer Island Country Club. In later years, Latham would serve as head pro at the Yakima Tennis Club. In 2011, Everden recognized Forrest’s years of dedication to tennis and to the more than 40 tennis professionals he mentored over 46 years during the Mats Wilander “Wilander on Wheels” tennis exhibition. Even though Forrest won numerous trophies and honors during his competitive and coaching career, his most valued honor was being presented with the Don Keith Memorial at the Yakima Tennis Club. After retiring from YVCC, Latham joined forces with Standing Tall Tennis, which was created to introduce Native American children to tennis, especially those living on reservations. Prior to this, one of Latham’s former star tennis players, Faye Immel Fulton, joined him to provide free tennis clinics to elementary children in the Yakima School District. Forrest was also a supporter of the Billy Mills foundation Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Although Forrest was dedicated to tennis and golf, he was most at peace hiking through the North Cascades or the Montana mountains looking for a quite stream, lake, or river where he could spend the day fishing in solitude. Forrest was preceded in death by his father Herman Billy Latham, a special grandmother, Pearl Connatser, and his father and mother-in-law, Joe and Elizabeth (Paganelli) Carnevali. In addition to his wife, Darla Carnevali, he is survived by his mother Willmetta “Billie” Saldin of Yakima, a sister, Janice Latham, and his uncle, JB Connatser. Other survivors include stepsons Jered and Nick Carlson, both of Wapato, grandsons Michael and Makenzie Carlson of Zillah, and brothers and sisters-in-law, Tom and Sharron Carnevali of Wapato and Gary and Sue Carnevali of Yakima. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Washington Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project, or Seattle Children’s Hospital in care of Keith and Keith, or a charity of your choice. Family and friends are invited to join in the celebration of Forrest’s life on October 3, 2015 at the Yakima Tennis Club, 516 N. 35th Ave., Yakima, Wash. at 1:00 p.m. To share a memory of Forrest, visit www.keithandkeith.com.
- Celebration of Life Saturday, October 3, 2015
Forrest F. Latham
September 27, 2015
Forest was truly an amazing instructor and a good friend. Forest first instructed me on the
Gomez's tennis court in the early eighties. I then went to play at yvcc on a scholarship. Forest was not only a stickler on mechanics but also new that conditioning was also key in order to compete at a high level. I remember my doubles partner Scott Wright was always late for practice so he had to run extra lines called "slaughterhouses"!Scott and I ended up winning the doubles title that year on the same court where I first learned how to play from Ila Holt when I was 5.(1971) Forest was by far the best tennis instructor Yakima had or will ever see! I not only learned a lot from him re tennis but life in general. I will never forget Forest Latham! Steve Ponto
September 13, 2015
September 13, 2015
Forrest was an amazing coach and friend. He made me a better tennis player and taught me so much more in the game when I played on his 1991 YVCC tennis team. I have so many great memories of that year. I will never forget that day we won state champs. Darla was my doubles partner and we kicked butt together! Also I always remember traveling to Central and passing the pond along the highway, Dana Schoenwill asking Forrest to honk the horn as her dad was fishing there. Forrest laid on the horn all the way from the start of the pond to the end! Many angry fishermen that day!
I visited Forrest in the hospital shortly after he lost his leg. I was so amazed on how positive and upbeat he was and how he promised himself this setback would never stop him from playing tennis.
I was so happy my twins got the chance to meet one of my great coaches as Forrest came to YTC to watch my twins take tennis lessons and gave me some advice on how to work with them in the game.
Darla, my prayers go out to you and your family. May God comfort you and may your wonderful memories of Forrest help you thru this time of grief.
Rest in Peace Coach! Someday, I hope to play tennis with you again! "COME ON!"