WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16: A devastated wife has spoken of her “overwhelming loss” after her husband died in a diving accident off Bermuda.
Colleen Latham described her husband, Paul Walker Latham as a “brilliant mind” who had lived life to the full.
The 55-year-old electronics engineer got into difficulties after he surfaced quickly from a deep dive off Tucker’s Town on Sunday and died before he could receive treatment at hospital.
Mrs Latham said her grieving family was still at a loss as to what had happened to the devoted father-of-two, who had more than 34 years’ experience diving across the world.
She told the Bermuda Sun yesterday: “I have lost my other half and I don’t know where he has gone.
“Paul enjoyed every moment of his life and he always made sure other people enjoyed it too. He understood how precious every experience was and how important a sense of present was. The shock and sense of loss we feel at the moment is just overwhelming. I have people who do not think this is possible.
“They really think that Paul is on a sail boat or having a Dark ‘n’ Stormy somewhere and will see him in five minutes. At this point we know nothing about what happened and there are a lot of unanswered questions.”
The couple married in 1981 after meeting at the University of Minnesota where Colleen was studying anthropology and Paul was finishing a degree in electrical engineering.
Mr Latham was a highly accomplished electrical engineer and founded three companies near their home in Lee, New Hampshire.
He and his wife went on to have a son, army private Allen, 23, and a daughter, Emily, 20, and the family has spent most holidays in Bermuda for the last 25 years. A few years ago they invested in a studio at The Reefs Hotel.
Mr Latham and his daughter arrived in Bermuda last Friday for a short break while the other two family members stayed in the US.
Mrs Latham, who flew into the island on Monday, said: “Paul and I have been coming to Bermuda since 1985. And even before that my parents were regular visitors to the island.
“They first came here in 1941 aboard the Yankee Clipper and my father always tried to bring my mother for the week of her birthday and their anniversary in January.
“Paul always loved Bermuda. His favourite thing about Bermuda was the warm temperature. He often said that the climate here was the most ideal in the world. The second thing he loved was the Bermudian people.
“He thought they were the kindest, most intelligent, people he had ever met. The list after that was endless. He loved the water, the restaurants and all the recreation; diving, swimming and fishing.
“I remember Emily caught the first wahoo of the season when she was nine down here, and just last year caught a marlin with her dad.
“They loved fishing here and they never had a moment when they were not enjoying themselves.”
She added: “Paul was extraordinarily intelligent and had a engineer’s mind. He was always trying to invent new things so our children grew up doing the most unusual things.
“His career was his lifeblood. He wanted so much to accomplish and find out about how electricity and engineering were changing the world.
“But at the same time he loved and cherished his family and would get terribly lonely if he got home to an empty house.”
Mrs Latham told the Sun her husband had a deep passion for the ocean and had been diving for more than 30 years: “Paul thought that the oceans and the lakes were some of the most extraordinary places to experience.
“And he tried to share his experiences and his joy of snorkeling, swimming and SCUBA diving.”