Fond Farewells: Remembering Bill Latzko, Tom Nolan, and Bill Ratcliff

Dear Deming Community,

Please join us in honoring the lives of these three men, who made countless contributions to the Deming community and society at large. We were enriched by their presence and are honored to have known them. May they rest in peace.


Kevin Edwards Cahill, Executive Director  

William J. Latzko, Ph.D. (19282018). A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Latzko spent most of his career in quality control as a manager, consultant, and educator. A Fellow of the American Society for Quality Control and certified quality engineer, he published multiple books and more than 20 papers on management quality. He was actively involved with the Metropolitan Section of the ASQC, where he served two terms as section chair. A recipient of the Ellis R. Ott award in 1984, Dr. Latzko was instrumental in the creation of the W. Edwards Deming Award for quality, which he received in 1996. A long-time associate of Dr. Deming, Dr. Latzko helped in Deming’s work with his clients and at many four-day Deming seminars; he then co-authored Four Days with Dr. Deming: A Strategy for Modern Methods of Management. One of the few people in the world recognized by Dr. Deming as a “master,” Dr. Latzko applied Deming’s theory of management to help both government and companies affect transformation.

Thomas W. Nolan, Jr., Ph.D. (1947 – 2019). Dr. Tom Nolan was a statistician and founding partner of Associates in Process Improvement, a consulting firm that specializes in applying the Deming philosophy to the improvement of quality and productivity. He met Dr. Deming in the 1970s and supported his work until Dr. Deming’s passing in 1993. At Dr. Deming’s request, Tom coauthored a book on methods for analytic studies (Quality Improvement through Planned Experimentation, 3rd edition, 2012).  Tom was also a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. For over 35 years, he assisted organizations in many different industries in the U.S., Canada, and Europe including chemical and automotive manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and social services. Among his clients is a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. He coauthored three books on improving quality and productivity and was the year 2000 recipient of the Deming Medal awarded by the American Society for Quality.

William A. Ratcliff (19382019). Born in Devon, England, Bill enjoyed a long career at Plessey (now Siemens) as an electronics engineer. Later as a manager at Plessey, his thinking was strongly influenced by the principles of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, whose daughter Linda he met on one of her trips with her father to England. Bill moved to the U.S. in 1990 to marry Linda and to live for the remainder of his life. In the role of applying Deming’s quality and management principles, he worked as the Quality Advisor to the US Air Force at the Pentagon. After retirement, he and Linda volunteered to raise 10 puppies to be guide dogs for the blind; he also volunteered as representative for Maryland for MACCRA, a national organization dedicated to improving living situations for people in continuous care residences.

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