Fabian David LaTocha, 90, of Mackinaw City, died Wednesday, July 15, 2020, of natural causes.
Born and raised in Larks Lake, Fabian was one of seven children born to Mary (Stromski) and Frank LaTocha. He went on to live in Mackinaw City and Newberry, giving up many job opportunities to raise his family in the wide-open spaces of Michigan’s northern areas that he so loved.
Growing up on a farm, Fabian found that had a talent for building things. He left and attended Michigan Mining and Technology Institute, where he started his engineering degree.
Upon his father’s death, Fabian left college to run his father’s grocery store, the Mackinaw IGA. When his brother Sebastian returned from military service, Fabian continued his education at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering in 1958. Following his graduation, he worked on survey crews to build Interstate 75 through northern Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie. He went on the oversee highway maintenance for MDOT in the eastern Upper Pennisula and, later in his career, over 1,200 miles of roadway from Cadillac north to the Mackinac Bridge.
Fabian and Joan married in 1957. They moved many times during the early years, eventually settling in Mackinaw City, where they raised five children.
Many people would also come to know Fabian, Joan and the kids from LaTocha’s Camp Store on the edge of Wilderness State Park. Built and opened in 1960’s, the camp store was the family’s summer operation until it was sold in late 1970’s. During those summers, Fabian would commute to his engineering job in Newberry and spent weekends making sure campers and summer residents had the goods they needed.
In addition to his career as a civil engineer and regional and project manager for the State of Michigan, he served on Emmet County Road Commission and as an engineering consultant to Cheboygan County Road Commission. He retired from the State of Michigan in 1984, after 27 years of service.
An avid hunter, fisherman, gardener and woodworker, Fabian’s friends and family could always count on him to fix anything, give fishing and hunting advice, share wonderful produce and reveal the best morel and berry patches throughout the north country.
He leaves Joan LaTocha, his loving wife of 63 years, his children Desiree LaTocha, Fabian (Jenny) LaTocha II, Laureen “Laurie” (Bruce) Grieve, Christopher (Linda) LaTocha and Michelle (Christopher Groty) LaTocha and his grandchildren, Jacob and Mattie LaTocha, Luke LaTocha and Kate and Pierce Grieve. He is also survived by his sister Theresa Reed and brother, William LaTocha.
He was preceded in death by his siblings Ida, Elizabeth, Sebastian and Judith, his parents Mary (Stromski) and Frank LaTocha and two infant children.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 18 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Mackinaw City. The Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:00 AM with Rev. Jim Williams and Sister Chris Herald officiating. Burial will take place at Lakeview Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to Mass Intentions at St. Anthony Catholic Church or the St. Ignace Schools Backpack Program. Arrangements are being handled by the Nordman-Christian Funeral Home.
Due to Covid, social distancing and masks will be required.
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