Kenneth Wayne Gatlin was born in Rio Dell in December of 1940. While he moved away several times, he always came back to his roots here in Humboldt County, The first move was when he was one year old and his parents took him and his sister, Geri, to Burbank where the parents could support the war effort by working at Lockheed. After the war the family moved back to Rio Dell where Ken attended Rio Dell Elementary School and was Humboldt County Spelling Champion two years running. He attended Fortuna High for a year and then the family moved to Eureka after a short stint in Washington D. C. (While in Washington, Ken caused some problems by trying to enroll in the closest high school. It was for African Americans so Ken had to bus across town to attend school!) After graduating from Eureka High Ken graduated with honors from Humboldt State in 1962.
Ken worked and lived in Philadelphia and Los Angeles and then moved to San Francisco where he lived in the Haight Ashbury District and worked in the Admissions office of San Francisco State University, partly for the access to the university library. He loved to read and had a wide ranging interest in history, philosophy and theology. In 1981 he moved back to Eureka and in 1982 met the love of his life, librarian Maggie Nystrom at the Humboldt County Library. They married in May of 1983.
Ken's interest in theology led him to be a pilgrim attending and studying many different faiths and churches. From Buddhism to Roman Catholicism to a variety of Protestant faiths, he took lessons and read to find his way. In 2000 he started attending St Innocent Orthodox Church of Eureka, finding there the answers he sought. In April of 2001 he and his wife Maggie were chrismated into the Orthodox faith. He took St Paul as his patron, becoming Kenneth Paul in his new life. He supported the church not just with money, but with his time and effort. He sang bass in the choir, worked as the church janitor and served several terms on the Parish Council.
All his life Kenneth Paul had two competing interests, writing versus painting. After working hard to finish a novel, Ken decided to put most of his effort into his painting and drawing. While he sold a few of his paintings, he really hated to let them go. He never felt that he had finished the work, but went back many times to fix and change what he saw as problems.
Ken was predeceased by his parents, Jesse and Hazel Gatlin and his best friend Gian Banchero. Ken spent many selfless years as care giver for his invalid mother. He is survived by his loving wife, Maggie Nystrom, his sister, Geraldine Durbin, his nieces Deborah Goodman and Katherine Hostetler, his nephew Kenneth Durbin, their spouses and numerous great nieces and nephews and cousins. He was a good and well loved man.
The funeral will be at St. Innocent Orthodox Church, 939 F Street, Eureka, at 10:30 a.m. on May 4, 2022.
Please, no flowers. Donations in Kenneth Paul Gatlin's name can be made to St Innocent Orthodox Church or to Hospice of Humboldt.