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Obituary of Anthony "Tony" Alva Latronica
Tony Latronica of Larkspur, CO
February 5, 1937 - February 17, 2023
Tony Latronica lived a wonderful and rewarding life - full of laughter, good times and adventures. He passed away on February 17, 2023 at the age of 86.
He was born Anthony Alva Latronca on February 5, 1937 in Los Banos, CA - the third child of Phillip Joseph Latronica, Sr. and Mae Bella (Miller) Latronica. His father Phillip, an immigrant from Italy, was a hard working man and had worked as a cowboy in the 1920’s for Henry Miller, the famous California cattle rancher.
Tony grew up embracing the country life - at 10 years old, he learned how to drive and went to work milking cows to help his family. This strong work ethic continued throughout his life, as he often worked part time jobs or attended classes at night in addition to working full time during the day.
Tony grew up in Los Banos and fondly remembered his childhood - fishing and hunting with his dad and brothers; helping his family and his five siblings, and playing marbles with the neighborhood kids.
Tony attended Los Banos High School, joining the FFA, running track and playing football. He graduated in 1955.
In 1957, he enlisted in the Air Force. He was stationed in Las Cruces, NM, then sent to Seoul, Korea for a year. He was then stationed in Colorado Springs, CO. It was there that he met his first wife Kitty, a Southern belle from Little Rock, AR.
Tony and Kitty eloped, marrying in 1960 in Carson City, NV and then settled down in Broomfield, CO. A year later, they welcomed their first daughter Laurie. After he was discharged from the Air Force, they decided to move back to California.
Tony’s second daughter Lynne was born while they were visiting his parents in Los Banos. The young family then moved to San Luis Obispo, CA where Tony had a full time job milking cows at the Righetti Ranch.
After a year or so, Tony decided to attend Cal Poly under the GI Bill. While still working full time, he earned a BS degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Soil Science in 1969.
Moving to Hemet, CA, Tony began his first post-college job as an agriculture teacher at Hemet High School, a position he had for five years. There, in addition to teaching, he served as the FFA Advisor and was the commissioner for the Riverside County Fair. During that time, he earned his Masters from the University of California, Riverside.
In 1975, Tony accepted a teaching position at Mendocino Community College and the family moved to Ukiah, CA. After Kitty’s passing in 1976, he dedicated himself to work, raising his daughters and perfecting his golf game. In 1977 he met and soon married Sue Hill, adopting her 4 year old daughter Jennifer.
Fate stepped in when Tony brought a baby lamb home from the college for Sue to bottle feed - leading to the eventual start of Latronica Farms, a premier Dorset sheep farm on 10 acres in Ukiah. There, Tony and Sue built their dream house while breeding and managing sheep for the next 20 years. Summers were especially busy - grooming, transporting and showing the sheep at fairs all over Northern California. Latronica Farms was very successful - earning many awards and accolades.
When Tony retired from Mendocino College in 2000, he and Sue began looking for places to relocate. By this time, their daughter Jennifer had married and moved to Fort Collins, CO. When Tony and Sue visited and started exploring the state, they discovered Perry Park Country Club and knew instantly it would be their new home.
They lived in Perry Park for 15 years and made many friends. Both he and Sue considered it the best years of their lives - they loved taking trips and exploring Colorado, as well as socializing, playing cards, organizing golf tournaments and of course, golfing as much as they could. Tony took over as Commissioner of the Dirty Dozen golf group in 2012, which he managed for six years. During that time, the group expanded from 20 to 40 golfers.
Tony was never bored. He loved the outdoors - golfing, fishing and hunting. He spent his time organizing fishing and hunting trips with his buddies and his brothers, as well as meeting friends for coffee or breakfast in downtown Castle Rock. He also enjoyed reading, especially presidential biographies and western fiction.
When Sue learned she had ovarian cancer in late 2018, they were devastated, but remained positive throughout. Tony took excellent care of her during her courageous fight but after three long years, with Tony by her side, Sue finally succumbed to the disease on March 16, 2021.
Tony grieved for Sue for many months, then decided he wanted to travel and see his family and his many friends in California. He drove out in January 2022 and stayed for a month, traveling up and down the state.
In December 2022 he drove out again, this time pulling a travel trailer and bringing along his beloved dog Rosie.
A few days after returning home from California, Tony suffered a massive heart attack on January 14, 2023. His three daughters took turns caring for him after his heart attack and all signs pointed to a strong recovery.
Tragically, he suffered a stroke on January 31 and was hospitalized for two and a half weeks. The plan was for him to attend a rehab facility but then he contracted pneumonia. Days later, he passed away on February 17, 2023 with his daughters by his side.
Tony is survived by three daughters: Laurie Latronica (Gary) of Barrington, IL; Lynne Latronica (Chuck) of Arroyo Grande,CA, and Jennifer Reed (Tim) of Bellevue, CO.
He has five grandchildren: Samantha Snetselaar and Austin Mann (Laurie), Lindsay Pino (Lynne) and Madeline and Zachary Reed (Jennifer).
He also has five great grandchildren: Donnie, Valerie and Marshall Mann and Ryker and Asher Snetselaar.
He is also survived by three brothers and one sister: Phillip Latronica, Jr. of Los Banos, CA; James Latronica of Merced, CA; Bill Latronica of Snelling, CA and Sally Lupo of Coalinga, CA. His parents Phillip and Mae predeceased him, as did his older sister Marian Thompson of Robert Lee, TX.
Tony had many visitors while he was hospitalized. His family will be forever grateful to all his friends and the Perry Park community for all their love, support and encouragement.
What we will miss most about our dad and grandfather is his sense of humor, his optimism, his cheerfulness and his huge heart.
A celebration of life is planned in Perry Park on April 8, 2023 and another one in California on June 3, 2023.
In lieu of donations or flowers, Tony would want you to live bravely and courageously: golf, fish, hunt, camp, hike, travel, play cards, read, get friends together for coffee or breakfast, and just live your best life, doing whatever it is you are passionate about.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Anthony "Tony" Latronica, please visit our Tree Store