Kenneth Joseph La Gattuta, also known Joseph Kenneth La Gattuta or Ken La Gattuta, died February 20th from a rare autoimmune disease and mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lung lining, attributed to asbestos inhalation. Ken La Gattuta lived in San Pedro, New Mexico for 25 years with his wife Pam. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1940 to parents Joseph Anthony La Gattuta, an accountant and graduate of New York University, and Josephine Smith, a housewife and high school graduate. Ken La Gattuta lived in New Jersey during his youth, where in the summer of 1959 he worked for Johns Manville Company, the notorious asbestos products manufacturer. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Bachelor of Science degrees in both chemistry and physics. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a Ph.D. in physics. Subsequently he worked on the faculty of the University of Connecticut, for six years, and more recently as a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, for 20 years. Ken La Gattuta was raised as a Catholic but did not continue in this faith for long. In recent times he described himself as a humanist who believed that the only reality was one that could be known directly, or through instrumentation, and that all other worlds were unreal.
Ken La Gattuta is survived by his wife, Pam Gogulski, her children and grandchildren, and a number of his own cousins. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory in Espanola. Interment will follow at Guaje Pines Cemetery in Los Alamos. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Joseph Kenneth La Gattuta Physics Fund, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The family of Kenneth Joseph La Gattuta has entrusted their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Española Valley. 505-747-7477 www.devargasfuneral.com