Cover photo for Jay B. Lathon's Obituary
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Jay B. Lathon

April 30, 1967 — April 19, 2024

Clarksville

Jay B. Lathon

It was an early, snowy morning on April 30, 1967, when Jay decided he wanted to see the outside world. So, his father, the late Esau Lathon and mother, Nellye Edmonds Lathon rushed to Clarksville Memorial Hospital, Madison Street, Clarksville, Tennessee. There he met his crew led by the awesome Dr. Frederick Coleman, Sr., and his wonderful medical staff. His dad was filled with joy of boy number four; mom was just Thankful to the Lord that he was healthy and finally here. His brothers yelled “Yeah” when they met. Jay gave his life to the Lord at age ten and was baptized under Pastor Tommy Bird at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Round Pond community.

Jay’s early education began at the Madison Street First Baptist Church Kindergarten and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System graduating from Clarksville High School in 1985. He participated in Boy Scouts of America through Webelos, Little League baseball and basketball and was a CHS football player. He happily took piano lessons through 6th  grade. 

Jay was preceded in death by his father, Coach Esau Lathon. He leaves to cherish his memory his mother, Nellye Edmonds Lathon; three brothers: Rickey (Shirley) Lathon, Newnan, GA, Keith Lathon, Clarksville, TN, Gerald (Sandra) Lathon, New York, NY. Also, to cherish his memory are sister/niece Kristi Lathon Torres and Kyla Lathon; nephews: Kyle Lathon, Rickey Lathon II, Alexander Lathon, Tyler Lathon; Aunt Apolis Edmonds Steward-Bailey, Forrest City, Arkansas and Mary Shields Walker, 97, Memphis, TN.

He was affectionately called “Gruncle Jay” by his 5 grands Ti’el Carraway, Timariel (Xavier) Alexander, Trinity Carraway, Tae’lyn Torres and Tae’liana Torres and “Great-Gruncle” to Xavion Alexander. God Child, Garrett Lathon Long and a host of relatives and friends. 

His initial desire to become a storyteller came after being exposed to visual arts, specifically, allegorical and abstract painting. Music piqued his interest in composition and theory which became the basis for his approach to telling narratives in other creative disciplines. 

He studied Architecture at Hampton University, Hampton, VA 1985 - 1987, Art History, Criticism and Conservation at Lane College, Jackson, TN, HD Video Production 2014 - 2015 and Certificate Programs for Editing (Sony Vegas) and HD Video Production at Necat in 2014 - 2015.  Lathon served as a Board member at the Jacob Burns Center, Pleasantville, NY and did volunteer service at Nashville Film Festival, writing, production and community outreach for eleven years. 

Residencies and Fellowship Awards Jay received are from Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, NY, The Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, Black Public Media (BPM), Lincoln, NE.  

Jay served as a juror on the Youth on Film and Documentary categories and as co-writer for the Youth Outreach Program.

As a freelance designer, he designed logos, original typefaces, sportwear, motion graphics, animated sequences and books.

He was a part of the Sundance community and found a home for his semi-autobiographical narrative feature “A LITTLE VICTORY.”

In 2000, he wrote, produced, directed and edited his first films, “THE PROCESS” and “MS RIGHT NOW”. Both received a special award for short films at the 2002 Black International Cinema Festival in Berlin, Germany.

Another powerful project, “IMPALED AND INHALED” uses his personal photographs and original poetry to relate his experiences during and after the attack on September 11th

His short film, “NUMBERS FROM A MONTGOMERY JAIL”, the story of the Montgomery Bus boycott, premiered at the 2007 Nashville Film Festival. Both received a Special Award for short films at 2002 Black International Cinema Festival in Berlin, Germany. 

He departed this earthly life for his eternal life on Friday, April 19, 2024. 

 

 

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