Memorial gathering February 17 for Tom Slattery, 1949-2024
Family and friends will gather February 17 to celebrate the life of White Center resident Tom Slattery, and are sharing this remembrance with his community:
Tom Slattery, 74, died the morning of January 22, 2024, surrounded by family, following a courageous battle against lung disease.
For his children, grandchildren and community, Tom leaves a legacy of advocacy for children, education, racial justice, and nature preservation.
Tom was born December 4, 1949, to Joseph and Helen Slattery in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He grew up an active and curious kid in Columbus, Ohio developing an early love for books and cars. Tom attended and graduated from The Ohio State University in 1971 with a degree in education.
Following college, Tom moved to San Francisco, California. In San Francisco, Tom would meet his wife and best friend, Pat Reh, and they would welcome two of their three sons, Rob and Reed. Dale would arrive after the family settled in Washington state.
Tom enjoyed sharing music with others nearly as much as he enjoyed listening to it himself. Nothing would make him happier than turning someone on to a new favorite song or artist. He also had a gift with words and could easily evoke laughter through his quick wit and clever turn of phrase.
Throughout his adult life, Tom was never far from a camera. The result is literal volumes of photos of his family, friends, places he traveled, cars he admired, plants and birds. Oh so many photos of birds. He loved the minute details that differentiated them and the wide range of colors displayed on their feathers. He also felt this way about his four grandchildren that continuously delighted him and kept him young.
Tom spent the second half of his life in White Center with a backyard that yielded the many vegetables he would grow, sanctuary for the many birds he would photograph, and a place for his children and grandchildren to gather and play. It was in White Center that his commitment to community, specifically to the safety and wellbeing of children, would take root and grow. He served 16 years on the Highline School Board and worked for several non-profits toward these ends.
In retirement, he turned those countless photographs into books that he would gift to family and friends. He would spend hours building intricate and different birdhouses he would display throughout the house. Together with his wife Pat, there were numerous trips to places such as Costa Rica, Belize, Palm Springs, San Miguel de Allende, and a final trip taken in the fall of 2023 on a riverboat cruise north on the Mississippi River, surely evoking the tales of his beloved author, Mark Twain.
Tom is survived by his wife Pat; his sons Rob (Marissa), Reed (Roxanne), and Dale (Jean); his grandsons Isaiah, Marcos, and Lucas; his granddaughter Izzy; and his brothers Bill, Ed, and Joe. He was preceded in death by his parents and many dear friends.
A memorial gathering is scheduled for Saturday, February 17, at 3:00 p.m. at Mount View Elementary School. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his honor to Kubota Garden Foundation.
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