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Loleta (Letty) Rae Ernst ’00

August 1, 2022, in Redding, California, from a massive brain injury due to a fall.

Loleta Rae, known as Letty, earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular cell biology from Reed, where she wrote her thesis, “Regulation and Inhibition of Apoptosis by the Guanosine Binding Proteins,” advised by Prof. Laurens Rubin [biology 1955–92]. She went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Marylhurst University and was a Howard Hughes Medical Research fellow.

Letty worked in medical supply, device sales, and laboratory sales, among some of the brightest minds in the fields of medical research and lab esoteric testing. She was a top sales executive for the Marketo software company in the Silicon Valley, worked in marketing for Oracle, and recently was employed by LumiraDx, a COVID diagnostic testing company, reflecting her interest in immunology as shown in her thesis.

An avid gardener, she shared herbs and vegetable starters with friends, neighbors, and family, and her cooking and recipes were greatly prized, with one recipe published in Sunset magazine. She was a cat fancier, passionate about abandoned cats and feral colonies, and wrote a series of children’s books featuring a cat named Mr. Winston.

Letty is survived by her grandparents, Ken and Gail Knighten, and Larry and Carol Watson; her parents, Gary and Patsy Knighten, and Ray and Sharon Ernst; her siblings, Valerie Hubbard, Heather Gard, Makenzie Knighten, and MaKylee Knighten.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2022

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