Robert “Bob” Ratliff  ’56, a Los Alamos resident and retired scientist, passed away at his home following a brief illness on June 17, 2010. A native Oklahoman, Bob was born in Shawnee to Theodore and Lucille Ratliff in 1931. At a young age, Bob and his family moved to San Jose, Calif., where he grew up with his three brothers, Theodore, John, and Ralph and two sisters, Janice (Sweet) and Julie (Judy). Bob graduated high school in June, 1949. A devout Catholic, he attended Santa Clara University where he graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1956. He served in the United States Army from 1953-55. Bob enrolled in graduate school at St. Louis University where he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology. During graduate school, he was advised by Nobel Laureate Dr. Edward A. Doisy, someone Bob would enjoy as a mentor, lifelong friend, and colleague. During his graduate studies, Bob met the love of his life, Patricia Tunstell, whom he married on August 8, 1959. In the summer of 1963, after completing two years of post doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Bob, Patricia and their two children Gregory and Gilbert moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico where he took a position in the Life Sciences Division of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. At the Los Alamos Lab, Bob worked on methods for re-ombining strands of DNA and developed a process to glue genes together in a desired combination. He made significant contributions to genetic engineering, cloning and the study of the human genome. He was regularly published and a member of multiple scientific organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. During his 47 years in Los Alamos, Bob enjoyed raising his family in the beautiful mountain environment. He was an avid skier, squash, racquetball and tennis player, and took full advantage of the mountains where he enjoyed fishing, cutting firewood and traveling the southwest with his family. Bob was a good man, full of honor. He lived his life committed to improving the human condition and deeply loved his wife and children. He had a quiet, loving spirit that touched many. Bob’s children, grandchildren Gillian and Sidra, their family and friends will miss him dearly and cherish his legacy. 


08 Nov 2018