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Raleigh Slawson

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Raleigh Ashbrook

Raleigh Ashbrook Slawson died on Sunday, August 31, 2014, after a day of happy visiting with his children. He was 99.

He was preceded in death by all of his siblings and their spouses, and his loving wife of 58 years, Ingrid J. Slawson.

Surviving are their loving children, Eva Slawson (partner, Bettye Jo), Toledo, Kent Slawson, Dayton, TN, Geoff Slawson (Marna), Homewood, IL, Jon Slawson, Toledo, and Eric Slawson, Northwood; along with grandson, Matthew McCormick.

The first-born of Clara (Lowry) and Mervin Slawson, Raleigh experienced a great deal of change in the century that he lived. His formative boyhood years in Dayton, TN, saw the "Scopes Monkey Trial" that put the teaching of evolution on the defense, when he was ten. He planted trees for the Civilian Conservation Corps. in BG for a summer in his teens. The rest of his teens and twenties saw the decade of the Great Depression of the 1930s. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the beginning of World War II, serving as a Radioman (the I.T. guy of his day) aboard a PBM Mariner flying boat with VP-201 that helped find German submarines in the Atlantic, and then did air-sea rescue of downed pilots in the Pacific.

After the war, through mutual friends at BGSU, he met the future love of his life, Ingrid, a Swedish student nearing the end of her one-year scholarship. Their intellects meshed easily, and they corresponded for a year and a half, until he convinced her to come back from Sweden to marry him in 1951. "He was a very good letter writer!" she said. They were married at the First Unitarian Church of Toledo (then at Collingwood and Bancroft in Toledo, OH), where they both remained very active. They were happily married until her death from cancer four years ago.

Raleigh worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad for many years, retired, then worked at UT's Tech-Media until he retired from there at 70. Still with plenty of life left in him, he took up work as a security guard, until he retired from that, too.

He had many interests, dabbling in Ham Radio, and serving as a Boy Scout Troop Leader and as Troop Commissioner for a time. He was an avid reader with a life-long love of the written word, and collected thousands of books of all types and genres. Science, math, history, literature, geography, archaeology and nature all fascinated him.

He and Ingrid were also very early members of the Scandinavian Club of Toledo, in which the family remains very active.

They both enjoyed travel to Europe, Hawaii and Alaska, and were able to take each of their children to Sweden to meet Ingrid's family there, as he remained in exceptional health for his years.

The last few years were harder, though, as his strength declined in small steps. But he was steadfast through it all, and remained intelligent and witty to the end.

His influence is felt. He will be deeply missed.

Raleigh's Memorial Service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, September 14, 2014, at the First Unitarian Church of Toledo, 3205 Glendale Ave., Toledo, Ohio 46314. Immediately following will be his 100th birthday party.

Donations can be made to the First Unitarian Church of Toledo.
Published in Toledo Blade on Sept. 11, 2014
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