Maxwell Gratton Obituary, Death – After a protracted battle, he overcame pancreatic cancer, which was discovered on July 8, 2018. Henry Patrick (Lyle) and Mary Jane Jordan Gratton welcomed Kevin into the world on October 3, 1941, at Trinity Lutheran Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. After graduating from Troost Elementary School, he began tutoring second and third-graders, which is when he discovered his first love: teaching.
Before enrolling at Rockhurst High School, he completed the eighth grade at Paseo High School. He entered Rockhurst College after graduating with the outstanding class of 1959. (now University). He double-majored in Chemistry and Education and added Philosophy and Math as minors. He earned his degree in inorganic and analytical chemistry from the University of Kansas in January 1968 after enrolling there for a Ph.D. program after graduating in 1963.
Titanium(III) Chloride Complexes with Selected Amino Acids were Kevin’s thesis topic. On a blind date on February 8, 1964, he met Mary Kathleen Tatum, the woman who would become his future wife, which was the most significant event of his life. They exchanged vows on June 5, 1965. They resided in Delaware while Kevin worked as a research chemist on projects involving fumeless galvanizing fluxes, zinc-rich paints, detergent builders, and uses for colloidal silica.
He received patents for fumeless galvanizing fluxes in Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Kevin moved back to Kansas and began working as the laboratory manager for Olin Water Services while still teaching chemistry at Johnson County Community College in the evenings.
He started working full-time in 1975 and was pleased to have instructed all chemistry courses—aside from biochemistry—during that time. He spoke on topics like The State of Education, A College Teacher’s Perspective, and Nuclear Energy: A Primer as a member of the Speakers Bureau. He received the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Teaching Award three times, as well as the Distinguished Service Award ten times.
He took part in a Fulbright Teacher Exchange to England in 1986, where he taught computer science and chemistry to students aged 12 to 18 at Lancaster Royal Grammar School in Lancaster, England. On their 40th wedding anniversary, he and Mary K. traveled back to England where they celebrated by staying at Hazelwood Castle in Yorkshire. Slide Rules to Biotechnology:
A Mostly Oral History and Personal Memoir of the Science Department at Johnson County Community College, Fall 1969-Spring 2009 was the Senior Scholar project he completed before retiring. In August 2019, his name was placed on the JCCC Wall of Honor. He was interested in genealogy and could go back more than four generations in his family.
He takes special pride in having interacted with and gotten to know the grandchildren of his grandfather’s brothers, Hugh and John Gratton. And he is the Irish Socialist James (Jimmy) Gralton’s first cousin twice removed, whose life is the subject of the film Jimmy’s Hall.