Some of you had the opportunity of knowing my father, Harold Latrace. But for many of you, he is just a name and the founder of our company. My dad was an interesting person in many aspects. He was around 5’9” and weighed maybe 160 lbs. so not a large man by any stretch of imagination. Yet I witnessed numerous times in different situations where my dad would have the attention of young, old, and many influential business people. He was constantly being called on for advice whether it was for business or community. So how did this man of small stature earn this kind of respect?
For those that knew dad, you knew he was a man of his word. If he made a commitment he would ensure that it was followed through. He was honest and sometimes too straightforward. He believed that anything was possible; the Saskatoon Travelodge is a prime example. No one believed that a hotel would or should be built in this area of the city and even though getting money to build was almost impossible, he managed to make it happen. He was a firm believer in seeing the good in everyone. He gave individuals the chance to prove themselves when no one else would believe in them. He believed in young people and given the right guidance, they would grow up to be responsible adults. He gave hours of his time to many youth projects giving young people the opportunity to become good citizens. He believed you needed to try something and if you failed, learn from the lesson and move on. However, if you made the same mistake twice – oops that wasn’t a good situation.
He believed that it was essential to give back to the community you live in. If you were fortunate to have extra money, you share. If not, you give time. He was a man of faith and he tried to live by that.
Even though he was very busy with his work life he still made the time to be a father. There were very few dinners where dad wouldn’t be there. He might eat and run but he made the point of being there. My dad never worked on Sunday so it was always family time after going to church. If we had family picnics, dad would be the one playing games with us kids. He loved to laugh. He viewed life as opportunity and sometimes you got hard knocks but it is those times you learn the most. He wouldn’t have changed any part of his life while he still had his health and this showed.
Have I made it sound like he was the perfect dad? Yes, I have and know that there was flaws in him just like myself. I also know how blessed I was to have him as a dad and my mentor. He may have been a small man in stature but he was a giant in many people’s lives. We all have this opportunity of influencing and making a difference in someone’s life; we just have to do it.
Dad’s motto in life was the Serenity Prayer;
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
To change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers!
Betty Anne Latrace-Henderson
President, Airline Hotels