On Saturday, Dec. 21, at about 3 p.m., Anthony John Latino passed away of natural causes at Kindred Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

Anthony was born on Feb. 14, 1928, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Anthony and Armida Latino and was the youngest of six children. He lived all of his life in New York until marrying Jo Dozier Latino and moving to Brownwood in 1994 where they opened “Mr. Anthony’s Holy Grounds” ? Brownwood’s first coffee shop. Many locals still remember how Mr. Anthony touched their lives with his fun Italian/New York personality!

There will be no services, but multiple gatherings in months to come across the country to celebrate Anthony’s life. In lieu of flowers or any other condolences, you may contribute to the Armida and Anthony Latino scholarship fund at Howard Payne University. The funds from this scholarship are for a student from a single-parent home who wants to study music.

Anthony’s father died when he was 6 years old and his mother raised five older girls and little brother Anthony on her own. Their home was filled with music, as Armida was a former opera singer. She worked in the flower district in New York and began a fashion/design business that later influenced Anthony to create Lee Display where all of his children and many of his grandchildren have worked by his side from time to time.

Anthony and Jo have lived in Springfield, Missouri since 2000 and were visiting in the home of her sister, Nanda Wilbourn in Brownwood as they do every Thanksgiving. Anthony was hospitalized in Abilene the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and passed away in Fort Worth.

Anthony is survived by his wife, Ann-Johnette (Jo) Dozier Latino; and their children, Mark Latino and wife Sissy of San Francisco, Shawn Latino and wife Sharon of St. Louis, Carol Latino Boyd and husband Jay of San Diego, Bobby Latino of Riverhead, N.Y., Drex Holt of Springfield, Mo.; grandchildren, Brian Latino, Jacqueline Boyd Combs, Dana Boyd, James Latino, Julianne Latino, Patrick Boyd, Logan Latino and Devin John Holt; and one great-grandchild, Preston Combs.

How appropriate for Anthony to leave us during the Christmas season. He spent his life designing beautiful Christmas decorations to be displayed in department stores, businesses and homes all over the world. His creativity, passion and Italian work ethic brought joy and beauty to so many. His son Mark carries on his Dad's vision and business in the San Francisco Bay area.

Heartland Funeral Home of Early is in charge of arrangements. Condolences can be offered to the family at www.heartlandfuneralhome.net.