Former Juneau resident Thomas "Tom" H. Slater died Feb. 2, 2009, at Skyridge Medical Center in Cleveland, Tenn., surrounded by family. He was 80.
Born Dec. 9, 1928, in Birmingham, Ala., he served in the U.S. Marine Corp. and the Marine Reserves. He married Virginia E. Peters in 1950 in Hollywood, Fla. While living in Florida, he worked as an alligator wrestler, fireman and police detective.
In his younger years, he raced stock cars and hunted for arrowheads. He moved to Juneau in 1966 and only stayed a few months before moving back to Florida.
While living in Florida, he worked days fiberglassing boats and attended night school to earn a degree in computer programming. He moved back to Juneau in 1973 and went to work for the state as a computer programmer. He took early retirement in 1982 and moved to Coker Creek, Tenn.
He was a member of the Masons, Shriners and the Kitawah Nation, where he was known as "Grandfather Mountain Bear."
He was preceded in death by his parents, Harley Slater and Elsie Compton; wife, Virginia Slater; half brother, Bill Crum; and nephew, Steve Slater.
He is survived by his brother, Fred Slater and wife, Connie; five daughters, Terry Mueller and husband, Joseph, of Juneau, Sue DeLaFe and husband, Raul, of Searcy, Ark., Sharon Sauce and husband, Raymond, of Aiken, S.C., Bonnie Slater, of Cleveland, Tenn., Lois Davila and husband, Ernesto, of Tellico Plains, Tenn.; grandchildren, Channing Burke and wife, Wendy, Travis Burke, Rhiannon Ulsperger and huband, Chris, Justin Wilson, Jenilee Mason and husband, Randy, Tiffany Stephens and husband, Chris, David Houston, Elizabeth French and Thomas Graham; and great-grandchildren, Stephanie and Timothy Ulsperger, and Chandler and Layla Mason.
Services were held Feb. 6 at Myers Funeral Home with the Rev. Julian Robinson and the Rev. Richard Mansfield officiating. A committal service with military honors was held Feb. 7 at Epperson Cemetery in Coker Creek, Tenn.