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In Memoriam: Gordon Lattey, Respected and Beloved Member of New York's Tourism Community

The New York State tourism community mourns the passing and celebrates the life of Gordon Lattey, an individual whose contributions to our collective success still resonate, particularly with the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA). Our sincere condolences go out to his wife, Michele Vennard, and his entire family.

Many of our members will recall Gordon’s leadership role in creating the New York State Tourism Promotion Agency Council (NYSTPA), the forerunner and foundation upon which NYSTIA was created. In fact, we still operate under the corporate charter created for NYSTPA. I’ve asked several of those who worked with Gordon in that capacity to share their thoughts.

Herb Clark, former NYSTPA Council President, and founding Board Chair of NYSTIA, offered these eloquent remarks: 

“Gordon Lattey, where do I start? Gordon was the very fabric of the New York State tourism industry for decades.  As a TPA, I like many of my colleagues depended on and learned from Gordon about marketing, advocacy, and funding.  His passion and innovation in the industry led the way for Upstate tourism to grow to what it is today and into the future. It is a privilege and an honor to have called you a friend and mentor and your knowledge of the tourism industry will be with me always. I raise a glass of Port to you and thank you for everything you have done.  You will be sorely missed.”

Herb Clark, Vice President, Sullivan Catskills

John Percy, NYSTIA Board Member, and Vice Chair, remarked on Gordon’s contributions at the June 28 NYSTIA Board Meeting, reflecting: 

“The New York State Hospitality community lost a giant! Without Gordon, there would have been no TPA Council and likely, no NYSTIA. Gordon was a pivotal part of unifying the industry and creating the collaborative endeavors that we all benefit from today. NYSTIA’s members, and the entire NYS Tourism Industry, all owe Gordon a debt of gratitude.”

- John Percy, President & CEO, Destination Niagara USA, 
Vice Chair, NYSTIA Board of Directors

Mary Kay Vrba, retired, former Director at Dutchess Tourism, had this to add:

"Gordon, was a great supporter of the NYS tourism industry and many more. He was always ready to help you and offer advice. He always had NYS in the forefront of his mind. He helped many TPA’s with their marketing plans and helped fill the gap during times when ILNY was not well funded. Gordon was a team player and manager and a friend. My thoughts and prayers are with Michele and family." 

- Mary Kay Vrba

I can personally attest to Gordon’s brilliant intellect, passion for both acquiring knowledge and sharing it, and his boundless capacity for mentoring and coaching others on the path to success. My initial introduction to Gordon was in the late 1990’s, when he played a major role in bringing the destroyer escort USS Slater to Albany, NY as a memorial/museum ship. Two decades later, when I joined the staff of NYSTIA, Gordon, along with his wife Michele Vennard, mentored me regarding the organization, its members, and its mission. Gordon not only had a wealth of institutional knowledge and insights, but he also shared a multitude of new ideas and initiatives that would benefit our members. That’s just who Gordon was. He will be missed. 

- Bob Provost, President & CEO, NYSTIA

A memorial service will be held on July 15, 10 a.m. at St. Peters Episcopal Church, State Street, Albany.

Use this link for the full obituary.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the USS Slater DE-766, PO Box 1926, Albany 12201, and St. Peters Episcopal Church 107 State Street, Albany, 12207.