Services will be in the chapel at Weerts Funeral Home, 3625 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport, on Saturday, March 1, at 11 a.m., following the visitation, also there, at 10 a.m. Inurnment services will be held at a later date at Lakeside Cemetery in Pekin, Ill., for Diana and her late daughter Katherine Diana Latham, where they will be laid to rest by her late mother, Dorothy Balcke Dowell, of East Peoria, Ill., and other Balcke family relatives.
Born Nov. 3, 1928, in Pekin, to Mrs. Dowell and the late Nobel Yates Dowell, Diana was reared in nearby East Peoria. In 1950, she graduated with an A.B. degree in English from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., which she attended on an academic scholarship and where she was a sorority sister in Delta Delta Delta. Later in life, she obtained a master's degree in education from Western Illinois University.
Diana taught English literature for 27 years at Erie High School, delighting in collaborating with department colleagues and friends William C. Ludwig and the late Anne M. Alepra. A published poet herself, Diana encouraged her students to keep journals for their own writing, and she was an adviser on the school's yearbook, newspaper and literary magazine.
Diana was married in 1951 to R. A. Latham, D.V.M. and, in 1980, to Ernest C. Memos, the longtime host of "Captain Ernie's Showboat" and other Quad-Cities area radio and television shows, who survives her. Diana enjoyed memberships in the Erie United Methodist Church and then, with Dr. Latham, the Erie Christian Church, and later, with Mr. Memos, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, where she served in its Ladies Philoptochos Society (Friends of the Poor).
While rearing her and Dr. Latham's daughter, Katherine, and sons, Benjamin Walter, Tallahassee, Fla., Timothy John, Spring, Texas, and Robert Allen III, Los Angeles, Calif., Diana served as the Erie Public Library Board president, when after six years of fundraising with the late Solomon Shaheen, of Erie, the late F. Gordon Bleitz of Fenton, Ill., and Dr. Latham, the board dedicated the library's original wing. Diana was a Cub Scout den mother, in the Erie Lioness Club and the national director of public relations for the American Veterinary Medical Association Auxiliary, when she authored "I Like Children ... But," a canine safety pamphlet for children of veterinary clinic clients.
Diana was a member of the Morrison, Ill., Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and later of the Hannah Caldwell Chapter in Davenport; and with the late Mary E. Miller, of Erie, the late Virginia S. Rastede, of Morrison, and the late Verna M. Flynn, of Sterling, Ill., she co-founded the Sinissippi Chapter of the Children of the American Revolution, for their and other children, whose ancestors fought in the American Revolution.
Diana was surrounded in her passing by her husband; her three sons; Timothy's wife, Sue Ellen Houston Latham; Robert's partner, John Sterling McLouth; her late husband's widow, LaVonne Hilmer Latham, Erie; and her husband's daughters, Angela M. Ratter, Clermont, Fla., and Laura M. Lippert, High Springs, Fla. Diana also is survived by son Benjamin's children, Rebecca Elizabeth Latham and Thomas Daniel Latham; Timothy's children, Timothy John Latham II and Sarah Houston Latham; cousins, Sarah Balcke Monge, Pekin, and Carolyn B. Norton, Tampa, Fla.; cousin, Charles M. Stark and his wife, Mary Lou Stark, Wichita, Kan.; niece, Deborah D. Dowell, Tampa; nephews, William Andrew Balcke Dowell and his wife, Sandra Johnson Dowell, Birmingham, Ala., Daniel Edward Dowell and his wife, Michelle A. Dowell, Tampa, and Jeremy Denton Dowell and his wife, Haylei C. Dowell, Tampa; half-brother, Nobel Yates Dowell Jr., Mt. Vernon, Ill.; and her beloved rescue Maltese mix, Mandy.
Besides her parents and daughter, predeceasing Diana are her sister-in-law and younger brother, Barbara B. Dowell and Maj. William Balcke Denton Dowell, Tampa; her aunt and uncle, Lois B. and Edgar Woolfolk Norton, suburban St. Louis; her aunt and uncle, Helen Lohnes Balcke Bolin and Louis Andrew Balcke, M.D., Pekin; and her maternal grandparents, Dora Denton Balcke and William Andrew Balcke, M.D., Pekin.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are invited to the John Austin Cheley Foundation, which brings underprivileged children to the Cheley Colorado Camps of Estes Park, where in the 1940s Diana was a camper and has been a sustaining member since (cheleyfoundation.orgor First Bank, P.O. Box 151663, Lakewood, CO 80215-8663); to the William C. Ludwig Scholarship, for outstanding college-bound, Erie High School seniors (The Erie Education Foundation, 435 6th Ave., Erie, IL 61250, earmarked for the scholarship); or to Washington University in St. Louis (gifts.wustl.edu).
Online condolences may be expressed to the Memos family by visiting Diana's obituary at WeertsFH.com.
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