Ruth Latham

Latham, Ruth

Ruth Latham was born June 24, 1928, as the oldest of seven children. She graduated from Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, and then went on to get her degree from Indiana University School of Dentistry.

In 1948, she joined the U.S. Army and became a proud member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), where she practiced her profession for four years. In 1954, after serving six years in the United States Army, she was honorably discharged and came to Champaign with an appointment on Chanute Air Force Base as an Oral Hygienist. She was the first and only African American female in that position.

There, she met and married Charles Latham and joined the Bethel A.M.E. Church, where she worked with the youth and Missionary Society. She was given the honor of torchlighter, for women who served over 25 years in the Women’s Missionary Society of Bethel A.M.E. Church. After Chanute Regulation changes, Ruth left to work at Urbana High School as a Library Technician. During this time, she also performed in several plays written by local playwright, Cheryl West. Ruth later returned to Chanute, in the Real Property (Real Estate) Office until she retired in 1989. Later that year, she went to work for the Energy Assistance Program at the Urban League of Champaign County. After seven years, she officially retired to become more active in her church and the Douglass Senior Citizen program.

In 1993, after the death of her husband, Ruth learned how to swim and became a member of the Y.M.C.A., enjoying the pool until age 92.

Ruth was a member of the Douglass Annex Senior Program, where she enjoyed coloring and arts and crafts. She enjoyed her volunteer service with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and she loved dancing, singing, music, and traveling.

Ruth Latham passed away on March 9, 2021, at 92 years old.