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Lila Lee Gatlin

September 19, 2017


Lila Lee Gatlin (née Krause), 89, of Newton, Kansas, a scientist, author and homemaker, died peacefully on September 19, 2017, surrounded by members of her family. She earned a PhD in Chemistry at The University of Texas, Austin in 1963, for her work on nucleic acid structure and served for more than 30 years on the Board of Directors of Krause Plow Corporation in Hutchinson, Kansas.


Lila was born on August 23, 1928, in Hutchinson, Kansas, to Anna and Henry Krause. Mr. Krause was the inventor of the one-way disc plow in 1916, the first conservation tillage tool, and founder of Krause Plow Corporation. Prior to attaining her PhD, Lila earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the University of Tulsa in 1957 and a Master of Science degree in Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University in 1959. She worked as a lecturer and researcher in molecular biology and genetics at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and at other institutions. Some of her writings and findings were published in American Journal of PhysicsNature and Journal of Molecular Evolution among others, and her book Information Theory and the Living System which focused on DNA, thermodynamics and evolution was published by Columbia University Press in 1972.


In 1947, Lila married Carl Gatlin who was Dean of the Engineering Department at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, at the time of his death in 1977. She is survived by four children who each reside in Newton, Kansas: Ameera Lee Gatlin, Jefferson Carl Gatlin, Laura Ann Gatlin, and Jennifer Lynn Gatlin; two granddaughters, Joan Marie Brunkard of Atlanta, Georgia, and Tracy Beth Gatlin of Lake County, California; and two great-grandsons, Maxwell Jordan Baxter of Santa Barbara, California, and Benjamin August Baxter of Atlanta, Georgia. Her three siblings preceded her in death: Adin Elmer Krause, Evalyn Mae Krause Rains, and Norman Luther Krause.


Ahead of her time, Lila practiced yoga, meditation, alternative medicine and vegetarianism, long before such practices were in vogue. While deeply grounded in her Christian faith, Lila welcomed insights and perspectives from all spiritual, cultural, and theoretical backgrounds. She instilled in her children and grandchildren, by example, values of open-mindedness, non-judgment, independence and resilience. With an innate love of books and a lifelong interest and pursuit of new ideas and theories, Lila spent much of her life reading and writing. By her bedside were her father’s bible and a pair of worn leather-bound editions of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, gifts from Lila and Carl to each other on their wedding day; an excerpt from annotations in their respective volumes appears below. Services will be private and held at a later date.


“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet




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