LaGattuta had been with the University of Michigan–Flint since fall of 1997. She was also an instructor at Oakland Community College and Baker College. She authored four books and edited numerous anthologies. According to colleagues, she won the Midwest Poetry Award twice and a National Federation of State Poetry Societies Founders Award. She was nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. In May 2005, she received the Mark Twain Award for her body of work from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature at Michigan State University.
She was widely known for her poetry, and she had her own radio show, Art in the Air on an Oakland County station. She also wrote a column for her local paper, Community Lifestyles, A Word in Edgewise.
A memorial service was held Saturday, August 27 at the Potere-Modetz Funeral Home in Rochester, Mich.