Obituary: Kenneth Gatlin Obituary – The Pratt Tribune
Kenneth Eugene Gatlin, 68, the best big brother ever, entered Heaven on April 12, 2021. We’re sorry we didn’t have more days with Kenneth, but he’s not sorry to now live in the presence of of his Lord.
Kenneth was born June 23, 1952 to Calvin and Joyce (Lauritsen) Gatlin and is said to be the oldest of eight children. His parents brought him home to the Lauritsen Homestead north of Gem, Kansas. Before he was four, Kenneth moved to Colby, Kansas, where he resided until January, when he moved to Pratt, Kansas to be close to his family.
Kenneth graduated from Colby High School in 1970 and Colby Community College in 1972 with an associate of arts degree in pre-engineering. But it wasn’t the end of school for him! Over the next 30 years, he taught his siblings and several nieces and nephews at one point or another. He patiently helped at all hours of the day or night, even with college math classes he had never taken. A math genius, Kenneth challenged his nieces and nephews with complicated word problems at family gatherings and was delighted to be able to solve these problems.
Kenneth was known to his siblings as the “Loan Shark”. He was generous with his time and his treasury, never refusing the request of a brother or sister. Among other things, he made car loans, ensured that a sister went to her job interview buying new tires after having two blowouts, transferred money to a brother whose car fell. broke down in Nevada on his way to school in California and co-signed a credit card so his brother wouldn’t be stranded again. He loaned his car to his siblings for months at a time while still paying for car insurance. A phone call to Kenneth fixed it all. What would we have done without Kenneth taking care of the rest of us?
Throughout his life, Kenneth was on the move in all kinds of vehicles. He started riding a tricycle and quickly graduated from riding a bike downtown to receive mail. The summer following Grade 6, Grandpa and Grandma Lauritsen enlisted Kenneth’s help with harvesting, truck driving and combine harvesters. He later taught all of his siblings to drive a gear shift. He loved being at John Deere with Dad. Beginning in grade 8, he spent most of his summers working at John Deere repairing all kinds of farm equipment. Kenneth had extensive knowledge of equipment computer operations and was the preferred mechanic for many farmers.
Around 2004, Kenneth heard of a little girl who had died because there was no one to drive the ambulance. This prompted Kenneth to take action. After working at John Deere for forty years, he trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and later became Director of EMS Services in Thomas County. He also serviced and drove the ambulance. Kenneth was Mom’s personal chauffeur and was ready to take her anywhere for a family reunion. Regardless of location, Kenneth has willingly served as a driver and even more willingly beat up anyone in a board game.
Kenneth was a world traveler and loved to learn new things. He has visited New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Greece, Panama, most of Western Europe, among other destinations, including five visits to relatives in Denmark. Kenneth was known as a jovial
friend. He was Mom’s travel companion on Golden Passport trips. He served on the board of directors of the Western Plains Arts Association and Pickin ‘on the Plains and regularly took Mom to their concerts. Faithful son, he was always at Mum’s side, lovingly caring for her in her last days. What a son!
Kenneth woke up each day to devote an honest day to helping others, rather than thinking about himself. He worked tirelessly and happily played (especially if a Rook game was involved!). His life was underpinned by his faith in Almighty God. Kenneth died as he lived – with his boots on.
Kenneth was predeceased by his parents and grandparents. He is survived by his seven siblings: Wilma Lauber (Mike) of Hill City, KS, Rita Crews (Paul) of Neosho, MO, David Gatlin (Oleva) of Shell Knob, MO, Dorothy Macy (Kenton) of Charleston , IL, Diana Weatherford (Kim) of Flower Mound, TX, Duane Gatlin (Christina) of Tomball, TX, and Terry Gatlin (Michelle) of Pratt, KS; sixteen nieces and nephews (and their spouses): Amber Morris (Philip), McKinzie Newman (Joe), Matthew Crews, Maria Crews, Nathan Macy, Aaron Macy, Stacia Macy, Emma Weatherford, Abby Weatherford, Jonathan Gatlin, Andrew Gatlin, Sarah Gatlin, Elijah Gatlin, Samuel Gatlin, Gabby Gatlin and Luke Gatlin; and seven great-nieces and nephews: Ethen, Shaelyn, Tyler, Bryden, Payton, Anna and Paul. The family would like to thank Parkwood Village in Pratt, Kansas for welcoming Kenneth to their community.
The Celebration of Kenneth’s Life took place on Saturday April 17 at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Colby, KS (515 W Fourth Street, Colby, KS). The family received guests from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. before the service. After the service, those who wanted to attend the burial at Lone Star Cemetery joined a caravan from the church to the cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested at the Colby First Presbyterian Church or the Western Plains Arts Association (1225 S Range Ave, Colby, KS 67701). Arrangements edited by Baalmann Mortuary.
Posted on April 21, 2021