Pearls In Our Past - Hartford MI A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan





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Former Hartford Michigan Graduate
Chosen as 2002 Olympic Torch Bearer

Utah - USA
Barbara (Bobbie) Ann Latus Oosterbaan

Barbara (Bobbie), daughter of Leo J. and Lois A. Latus of Hartford, is a 1971 graduate of Hartford High School and Nazareth College, Kalamazoo, majoring in Spanish and Music.  She completed her teaching certification while living in Arizona and has been a kindergarten teacher for fifteen years.  She presently teaches at Copper Creek Elementary School in Tucson, AZ.  Bobby and her husband, Ken, live in AZ and have two grown sons, Jason, an EMT in San Diego and Brian is in the Marines.   
    Students, parents and friends nominated Bobbie in April and May, 2001.  Two of her students saw on TV where the Olympic Committee (O.C.) asked people to nominate those who have inspired others.  The theme of the 2002 Olympics was Light the Fire Within and her students told their parents that Mrs. O. would be a good candidate.  The parents agreed and presented the idea to others.  The process began by writing letters to the O.C. telling why they felt their candidate should be nominated.
    Mrs.O was nominated by the parents of her students at Copper Creek Elementary School and friends who sent letters to the Olympic Committee stating why they felt Mrs. O. would be a good candidate to be an Olympic Torch Bearer.  Out of 210,000 nominations, only 11,500 candidates were chosen and 37 of these are in Tucson.  The official notification was received in September that Bobbie had been accepted as a qualified runner and she would carry the torch on January 13, 2002 in Tucson, AZ. 

The uniform was ordered and a contract signed with the Committee stating that the uniform would not be worn prior to the official run and they could no make any alterations to the uniform other than sizing.  They promised not to wear any political or personal signs, logos or costume jewelry of any kind.  The uniform was not to be laundered prior to the run, although it could be pressed slightly on the inside-not too close to the emblem.  A letter stated that runner need not wear all of the uniform, which included hat, gloves, windbreaker and long sleeve shirt and pants.  It was required that the pants and either the shirt or the windbreaker be worn.

Torch Bearers were assigned a designated meeting place the day of their run and taken by a chartered bus, where they were individually dropped off at their designated running area.  Torch Bearers were not allowed to change the location of where they were to run and could not bring any pets, other than a working dog, if necessary.  The Olympic contract also stated that nominee would run regardless of the weather.

 Bobbie ran downtown Tucson at 12:29 p.m. (Tucson time) on Sunday, January 13, 2002 for .2 of a mile (1/4 mile).

 Parents, former students, students and community donated $400 to buy a replica of the torch and stand, which was engraved with Bobbie's name and year of the event.   It was a surprise and was presented to her at an all-school assembly. 


2002 - Thanks to Lois Latus, mother of Bobbie Latus Oosterbaan, for contributing the photo and interesting information regarding another "Famous Folk" from Hartford Michigan.

Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

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A Pictorial History of Hartford, Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik,
Competent Secretarial Service
Copyright 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: March 20, 2014