Edward H. Latchford, longtime CSX and Fruit Growers Express Co. official, dies

Edward H. Latchford, a certified public accountant who rose through the ranks to become vice president of finance for CSX Corp. and later was president and chief executive officer of Fruit Growers Express Co., died Sunday from complications of diabetes at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.

The longtime Ruxton resident was 71.

“Ed was one of my favorite people,” said Hays T. Watkins Jr., who was CEO of CSX from 1980 to 1989, and of the Chessie System from 1973 to 1980.

“He was a valuable part of CSX and was very helpful when we were creating CSX. He was one of the key financial people when we were putting the various railroads together. He had a storehouse of knowledge,” said Mr. Watkins, who lives in Richmond, Va.

“He was sharp and learned and a warm and caring individual. Ed was always willing to go out of his way to help people do their jobs,” he said. “He was very important to all of us at CSX.”

Edward Herbert Latchford --- a third-generation railroader --- was born in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville.

He was the son of Joseph W. Latchford Sr., general manager of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s tariff department, and his wife, Eleanor Moan Latchford, a homemaker. His grandfather was a B&O locomotive engineer.

After graduating in 1965 from Mount Saint Joseph High School in Irvington, he received a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1969 from what is now Loyola University Maryland, and a master’s degree in finance, also from Loyola, in 1978.

Mr. Latchford, who became a certified public accountant in 1969, began his business career that year as an accountant for Deloitte Haskins & Sells, where he worked in the company’s credit and management advisory departments in New York City, Baltimore, Washington, Newport News, Va., and York, Pa.

In 1975, he joined Chessie System Railroads — a forerunner of what would become CSX — as a senior corporate analyst. From 1978 to 1980, he was director of financial planning and worked in Baltimore and Cleveland.

After CSX emerged in 1980, Mr. Latchford continued working as director of financial planning for two years at the company’s Richmond, Va., office, when he was named assistant vice president for planning. In 1985, he was appointed vice president of accounting and planning.

He moved to Jacksonville, Fla., in 1985 when he became vice president of accounting and taxation for Seaboard System Railroads, a component of CSX.

During Mr. Latchford’s tenure as CSX vice president of finance and economics, working in Baltimore and Jacksonville, from 1986 to 1989, he “performed major competitor analyses which resulted in a refocus for CSXT’s freight car fleet,” according to a biographical profile.

“Nearly 16,000 freight cars were rebuilt and financed through a variety of financial instruments — aggregation $260 million. Jointly with several financial institutions; for example CIT, GATX, US Leasing (now Ford Motor Company). Helm Financial, and CitiRail, developed a lease refurbishment program for approximately 7,000 freight cars,” the profile said. “Participated in the restructuring of CXST into a ‘component structure’ organization. Developed a rail freight car and locomotive capacity and leasing strategy.”

From 1989 to 1990, he was vice president of finance,responsible for directing CSX Transportation’s finance department. which included accounting, costs and budgets, financial planning, forecasting, and treasury.

Mr. Latchford was also involved with two CSX subsidiaries, Fruit Growers Express Co., of which he was president and CEO, and Energy Resources & Logistics Inc., where he served as chairman and CEO.

Fruit Growers Express Co., founded in 1920 and headquartered in Alexandria, Va., owned and leased refrigerator cars to railroads in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, for the transportation of fruits, vegetables and other perishables. The company also maintained car repair shops throughout the nation.

Mr. Latchford presided over FGE’s sale to CitiRail in 1997. From 1990 to 1993, he was chair and and CEO of Energy Resources & Logistics Inc., a coal-based co-generation developer that operated in the eastern U.S. and Portugal, and was headquartered in Baltimore.

He retired in the early 2000s, family members said.

Mr. Latchford served as a member of the board and later was director of Trailer Train Co., Total Distribution Services Inc., a national warehousing company, and TTX Co., the Chicago based company was the nation’s largest private freight car leasing company.

Professional memberships included the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Accountants, Maryland Association of Certified Accountants, Financial Executives Institute, International Society for Planning and Strategic Management and The Planning Forum.

He had also served on the boards of St. Agnes Healthcare Inc., Roland Park Place, St. Paul’s School and Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business, and had been a member of Loyola Blakefield Father’s Club.

Mr. Latchford also tutored and mentored struggling college students at Loyola and Towson University who required six-plus years to obtain their undergraduate degrees, family members said.

He had been a member of the Center Club, the Commonwealth Club in Richmond, and the Deerwood Club in Jacksonville.

Mr. Latchford was an inveterate football, lacrosse, college basketball and Orioles fan.

He was a communicant of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Mr. Latchford is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Shaun Kenealy; two sons; Michael E. Latchford of Chatham, N.J., and Matthew P. Latchford of Mamaroneck, N.Y.; three brothers, Joseph W. Latchford Jr. of Ocean Pines, Paul C. Latchford of Sparks, James J. Latchford of Morristown, N.J.; a sister, Angela E. O’Neill of Marriottsville; and two grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

A previous version of this article included the incorrect photo. The Sun regrets the error.
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