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Bob Latella

Obituary of Bob Latella

LATELLA, Robert Matthew “Bob”

April 5, 1932-July 14, 2023

In his 92nd year, surrounded by his loving family, Bob passed away peacefully on Friday, July 14, 2023, following complications arising from a broken hip.  He is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Jeanne (nee Britton) and their loving children, David, Paul (Krista), Jacqueline and Paul Roy, and Matthew and Jennifer Latella, as well as his sister Rosemary “Honey” and Jack Nangle, and brother Joseph “Joe” and Linda Latella.  He was also a proud Papa to eight grandchildren:  Liz, Emily, Kyle, Carson, Sydney, Pierce, Willow, Grace and Claire.

Bob was born in London on April 5, 1932, the eldest child of Joseph and Rose Latella. Bob’s honesty, integrity, hard work, entrepreneurial zeal and good-natured focus on each individual (family, friends, employees, clients and members of the community) served him well in business and in life. His passion for retail and innovation was evidenced by his many accomplishments as a businessman. Bob rose from stock boy to owner of Channer’s Paint and Wallpaper, then founded Latella’s Decorator’s Boutique and pioneered the opening of Latella’s Ethan Allen Furniture Store, the first EA branded location in Canada outside Toronto.

Bob was very active in and passionate about retail, the downtown core and the London business community in general. In addition to being a member of many organizations/associations (Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, to name a few) he also served in a number of leadership roles (e.g. President of Downtown London Association, President Ad and Sales Club) and was the recipient of multiple industry awards, including The London Ad and Sales Club Retailer of the Year. Bob’s innovative flair led to the creation of “Furniture Row”, an association of neighbouring furniture retailers, serving as the founding President. Bob embraced constructive engagement on issues of the day affecting the business community, participating in televised public debates about matters such as Sunday shopping, Free Trade and the Goods and Services Tax.  He was also deeply involved in his local parish communities (St. Michael’s and St. Peter’s), serving as a frequent reader and usher.

After “retiring” from his retail career, Bob embarked on two new chapters in his life in business. First, he served as a Business Consultant and Case Counsellor with the Business Development Bank of Canada, tapping into his wealth of business experience to help other entrepreneurs and small businesses, work he found highly rewarding. He then became a licensed travel agent, specializing in cruises with Merit Vacations of London, where he loved helping family, friends and new acquaintances plan their next great adventure.

An avid lifelong sports fan, particularly of the Detroit Tigers, Bob loved to follow his teams, whether on the radio or TV, and always enjoyed a trip to the ballpark with his family. To the very end, he maintained a depth of knowledge and keen insight regarding the men who bore the olde English D across the decades.

He was a man who loved unconditionally, enjoyed life and a good laugh, and left a positive impression and warm smile with everyone who crossed his path. He consistently maintained a reputation for kindness and generosity, as well as an easy-going disposition and self-deprecating wit, from childhood to his golden years.  Bob's infectious zest for life was best epitomized by his role as 'King of the conga-line' at family weddings. It was a long-standing family tradition to call him to the floor to lead the dancing line of revellers wherever he chose, including frequent forays through kitchens, much to the amusement and delight of staff and wedding guests alike. Gentle and gregarious, authentic and open-minded, Bob served as a wonderful role-model to - and loving and steadfast supporter of - his children and grandchildren alike. Jeanne was the love of his life for 71 years, from when they started dating in 1952.  She attests that he never spoke a cross word to her across their more than seven decade love story.

Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday, July 25, 2023 from 5-7 p.m. at John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 362 Waterloo St, London, ON with a Funeral Mass scheduled for Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 10 a.m. at St. Peter’s Basilica in London.

In memory of Bob and in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Diabetes Canada or Arthritis Society Canada.

Recollections of Bob’s life can be shared at



5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
John T. Donohue Funeral Home
362 Waterloo Street
London, Ontario, Canada
519 434-2708

Funeral Mass

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
St. Peter's Basilica
196 Dufferin Ave.
London, Ontario, Canada