Obituaries & Tributes

Gene Slayter – Dec.14, 1924 – Jan. 25, 2020

Gene D. Slayter, 95, died peacefully at home on Jan. 25, 2020 of age-related causes.
He was born on Dec. 14, 1924 to William Enos Slayter and Mary Viola (Johnson) Slayter. Born and raised on a farm in Blachly, Ore., Gene graduated from Triangle Lake High School in 1947. He was a 1951 graduate of the University of Oregon, where he received a BS in Education.
For the next 44 years, Gene was the band director at Springfield High School. His dedication to his students never wavered, and he never tired of helping them develop their talent and passion for music. In 1993, he directed the Springfield High School Marching Band at Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade, a highlight of his professional career.
After retirement, Gene continued mentoring musicians as an instructor at Oregon State University, where he endowed a music scholarship, and was a founding member of the Cottage Theatre in Cottage Grove, Ore.
Gene found a second home at the theatre, and volunteered hundreds of hours recruiting musicians, honing their talents, writing musical scores, and conducting the orchestra for numerous musicals such as “Camelot,” “Oklahoma” and “Marley and Scrooge.”
But his dedication didn’t end with the music; if a musician or student needed a meal or a ride to or from practice, Gene was always there to help.
He loved all kinds of music, but had a special fondness for jazz. In his 80s, Gene found a companion in Tony Valezquez. Only Tony could convince Gene to don a cowboy hat and sit for hours watching a rodeo to see Tony ride a bull.
Gene is survived by his cousins: Beth Schaefers of Corvallis, Ore.; Richard Johnson of Redlands, Calif.; Judy Cornell of Portland, Maine; Ron Johnson and Don Kiest.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved sister Patty.
A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 in the auditorium of Springfield High School, located at 875 7th St. in Springfield, Ore., followed by private interment at Rest Haven Memorial Park in Eugene, Ore.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be sent to the Cottage Theatre at 700 Village Drive, Cottage Grove, OR 97424, or to the music education organization of your choice.
Buell Funeral Chapel in Springfield is in charge of arrangements.



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