I hope Billy isn't upset with me for this. He is a private person, maybe a little shy, which in many ways, appeals to me. He sort of just goes on with his life, quietly, without fanfare. Billy is a completer -- not many loose ends. Which I also admire since I usually have at least a half dozen things flying around at one time, unfinished.
I think the first time I met Billy Latter was at the old Murray Hill Sonny Hodgdon shop where Margaret, Sonny's wife, delivered homemade fresh from the oven still warm cookies. It was a cozy space and very productive. A perfect fit for Billy and a small group of gifted craftsmen.
Billy bought a brand new Chevy car from Frizzell's quite a long time ago. Then, Warren Page was the head mechanic and Allan Williams ace auto seller. The Chevy is still show room perfect, just like the paint jobs Billy created over many years for the Hodgdon facilities.
He could be found way down in the bottom of boats like Yorel and Antonisa as I photographed projects underway back in the day. The finishes from Billy's brushes were perfectly smooth — flawless. A complete marvel to me, who paints like a coal miner, leaving trails and chunks and brush strokes to mark my path. I never figured out how Billy produced such beautiful finishes and always felt like I was imposing if I stayed too long while he worked.
Billy continues his private life, but now and then I see him out for a walk or maybe, if I'm lucky, at the Hannaford. On a rare occasion he visits a public event, like the above photographed trek to the Opera House for the great country singer, Marty Stuart.
Though Billy's public appearances are fewer, I know he's out there, completing things with a silky smooth finish.