Isaac Meyer Sletson Isaac Meyer "Mike" Sletson, 86, of Centre Crest, died Monday, March 18, 2013, at Centre Crest in Bellefonte. Political activist Mike Sletson was born in the Bronx in 1926. He grew up during the depression one of four children. His childhood was difficult and ended when he enlisted into WWII. After a series of mishaps, his commanding officer intervened when his abilities as a ping pong player and third baseman were discovered. Later he reported for Stars and Stripes, writing of the Nuremberg trials. After a stint as a Fuller Brush man in New York, he moved to Philadelphia in the early 1960's. An early claim to fame was securing a traffic light at a dangerous Northeast Philadelphia intersection. Always politically active, he ditched his brushes in 1967 to fight the war in Vietnam as head of SANE, a nonprofit focused on ending the arms race. While executive director there, he was responsible for coordinating 100's of busses full of Philadelphians heading to Washington, D.C., to protest against the war in Vietnam. His superior fundraising prowess culminated in annual banquets honoring great national figures that fought for peace. These events drew more than 300 people who donated generously in the name of the honorees Mike selected. Dr. Benjamin Spock, Joan Baez, and Reverend Phillip Berrigan were a few of these influential figures. In 1968, he was presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy's Pennsylvania campaign manager. The Philadelphia Magazine once printed an article with the title "Don't Seat These People Together." Next to Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo's name was Mike Sletson! In the 1970's, when President Richard Nixon came to Philadelphia for a fund raising event, the police picked up Mike and detained him illegally to prevent him from leading a peaceful protest. He sued the city, AND WON. In the 1980's he founded Funds for Progress, a consulting firm that helped progressive organizations raise money and awareness for their causes. The last decades of his life were spent in State College, where he worked for Voices, a monthly progressive newspaper. Going door-to-door selling advertising to local merchants, Mike helped keep the paper financially viable. Certainly many business owners did not support the articles in Voices. He convinced them that customers trumped their political preferences. His persistence often led to ads being placed just to appease Mike's doggedness. He could be seen often at State College Borough Council meetings, and holding spirited discussions on street corners with friends and strangers alike. Many found him quite irascible, and they were correct. Those willing to get close were treated to a man of enormous wit and insight. Forthright to a fault, he liked his conversations lively and expected others to keep pace. His favorite saying was 'the better is the enemy of the good.' He fought the good fight and leaves the world a bit more righteous. Mike joined with Darlene Mckin for many years of love and companionship, Darlene now lives at Centre Crest Nursing Home in Bellefonte. He is survived by his two sons, Roy and Jay Sletson, and their wives Hammer and Eileen. Also surviving is his grandson, Joshua Ted (JT), and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. There will be an informal memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County (780 Waupelani Extension, State College, PA 16801) on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 1 p.m., located just down from the Traffic Light Mike Sletson fought to have constructed at the corner of Waupelani Drive and Whitehall Road. Those wishing to make a donation or contribution are instead instructed to 'make some noise,' and fight for the rights of working people, minorities, the under privileged and under represented. Numbing us by using the soporific and somnolent terminology 'entitlements,' our elected officials are gutting the safety net programs that were created for the most vulnerable of Americans. Many of these programs trace their origins to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration, and they are as sorely needed today as they were following The Great Depression. Presently affordable housing and good paying full time jobs with benefits are in short supply. Union membership is at its lowest point since the 1930s. Workers are constantly forced to give back hard earned benefits and salary adjustments. The Supreme Court has granted corporations many of the rights reserved for Human Beings. PICK SOMETHING AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! If necessary, for more details you may contact Roy at email@example.com.
Published in Centre Daily Times on Apr. 7, 2013