Thelma E. Slater
Thelma E. Slater
age 92 of Massillon, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. She was born on June 21, 1921 in Massillon and was the daughter of the late Henry and Malvina (Pesse) Tournay. Thelma was a 1938 graduate of Washington High School, she went on to earn her teaching degree at the former Mount Union College and then her M. Ed. at Kent State University. She was a teacher and counselor for Canton City Schools for 59 years. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Stark County Teachers Association, the Washington High School Distinguished Citizen Award, the U.S. Secretary of Education Award for Family Literacy and the Outstanding Teacher for Canton City Schools. She initiated the first elementary school counseling program, the career education program and the family literacy program for the Canton city school system. She was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and an associate member of Faith Lutheran Church for many years. Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John E. Slater in 1992; her sisters, Flora Cecil, Adele Zehnder and Louise Donze; and her brother, Joseph Tournay.
She is survived by her son, Niall Slater of Decatur, Ga. and loving nieces and nephews.
A service to celebrate the life of Thelma Slater will take place on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Faith Lutheran Church with Pastor Elaina Styblo officiating. Burial will follow at Massillon Cemetery. Friends may call at the Paquelet & Arnold-Lynch Funeral Home on Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. and at the church on Wednesday from 9-10 a.m. Memorials are suggested to Faith Lutheran Church, 107-6th Street SW, Massillon, OH 44647 or the Mayor's Literacy Commission of Canton, 715 Market Avenue North, Canton, OH 44702.
Paquelet & Arnold-Lynch
Funeral Home & Crematory
330-833-4838


Published by The Repository on Nov. 25, 2013.
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42 Entries
I was blessed to have you in my life. You are remembered and treasured.
Marianna
November 19, 2021
Still remembering Thelma. And always will. Wonderful memories.
Marianna Paprocki
Friend
November 19, 2020
What more can I add to these tributes to Thelma?
They each describe her so well and capture her passion for literacy. She was all that these tributes describe and more. A great teacher, a counselor, a mentor, a role model, a relentless advocate for literacy and, of course, a dear friend.
I am a literacy teacher because of Thelma. I am still encouraged and motivated by her spirit. I cherish the memories of her walking into my classroom to visit adult students, always bringing pencils, pens, backpacks, notebooks, rulers, markers, folders and any other supply that she thought students might need.
I think of her so often. She is remembered by so many, including the students that knew her.
Little did I know when I met Thelma in Columbus, Ohio some 26+ years ago, that she would change my life, inspire me to become a literacy teacher, and become a treasured friend and mentor.
Her memory lives on. She impacted and changed countless lives.
Thelma, you are deeply missed. I am blessed to have known you, fortunate to have had you in my life.
Marianna Paprocki
Coworker
November 19, 2019
On November 27, 2013, Stark County schools were closed. Some people believe that this event was caused by a November snowstorm. I believe that schools were closed in tribute to a petite, white-haired lady who in her lifetime changed education and my life. I was recruited by Thelma in 1980. She guided me to teach adults at Timken High School, Louisville, Smith, the Stark County Regional Correction Center, Indian River and the White Annex. I watched her encouragement and unrelenting drive change the lives of teen mothers, adult men and women struggling to read or compute, legislators, business leaders and people in all walks of life. Everyone knew her name and that her passion was education. I admired her ability to find funding, to initiate programs, and most importantly, to treat each person she met with respect, regardless of race, gender or age.
She was for me the ultimate change agent. She saw, not just immediate goals, but the future needs of education. I had the challenge and privilege of playing Scrabble with Thelma. Her strategy was to have the foresight and intelligence to plan moves three turns ahead. Needless to say, I only played with her once. Thank you, Thelma for making the world a better place and me a better person.
Sue Rohr
November 27, 2013
I worked with Thelma years ago on the Mayor's Literacy Commission, and will always remember her dedication, her passion, and her sweet way of persuading others to join the literacy battle. She truly could move mountains, and I, for one, could never say no to her. Rest in Peace, Thelma.
Kathy Bernstein
November 27, 2013
Niall....so sorry to hear of your mother's passing.....she was one of a kind.....one of the sweetest ladies I ever met.....heaven just got a very special angel.....thoughts and players are with you
Tom & Linda (Storz) Moore
November 27, 2013
What a privilege it was to meet Mrs. Thelma Slater during my years at Canton City Schools. Aside from everyone singing their praises about her, I remember her smiling face, her reassurance, her guidance - whether educational or personal
and her professionalism. Our earthly educator and dear friend has a new calling to Heaven. It will be a reassuring feeling to know she will always be watching over each and everyone of us, providing the guidance she was so well known for.
God bless her family and friends.
Mrs. Linda S. Conery Secretary-retired
Linda Sue Conery
November 27, 2013
November 27, 2013
In a group sharing session, all participants had to answer this question: if you had one thing that you could wish for yourself, what would you wish for? Thelma answered by saying, "I wish I could live forever. There is so much work to do." Thelma you will live forever in my heart.
Nadine McIlwain-Massey
November 27, 2013
Thelma was an amazing lady. A true educator and a true believer in people and what they could achieve. She will live on in many hearts. God Bless
Patricia Faulhaber
November 26, 2013
Ashley Triner-Coley
November 26, 2013
Ashley Triner-Coley
November 26, 2013
Ashley Triner-Coley
November 26, 2013
Ashley Triner-Coley
November 26, 2013
Ashley Triner-Coley
November 26, 2013
Thelma was a kind and giving person. I will always remember her bright, cheerful smile and her sweet personality at our family get togethers and at fundraisers for the Stark County Library. She was a dedicated volunteer and made our community a better place. Thank you for all of your work with the Mayor's Commission on Literacy and for touching so many lives.
Amy Thiel
November 26, 2013
November 26, 2013
November 26, 2013
November 26, 2013
In memory of a role model, a champion, a literacy hero and a dear, dear friend.
Your light will shine on in the faces of those that you have taught, have inspired, have been a friend to. They are too numerous to count.
I have been blessed and fortunate to be included in that count.
November 26, 2013
Even though we were not related by blood, she was my grandma in every sense of the word. I am so thankful she "adopted" my family many years ago. Memories keep coming back to me in waves and every single one is a blessing. Thelma Slater was a great woman who did so many great things, but to me she will always be "Grandma". I will miss her deeply.
Melissa Weimer
November 26, 2013
One day as we worked together at the library, Thelma told me the story of the little boy finding the starfish on the beach and throwing it back to save its life. Asked why he bothered, the boy answered that his effort made a difference to that starfish even though other starfish were lying on the beach. Thelma not only threw back many starfish herself, she inspired multitudes of others to comb the beaches looking for starfish to throw back into the ocean of life. She inspired us to believe that by giving a person the educational skills to succeed, we could improve his/her life and the lives of their children. What a gift to her community! What a gift to me to be touched and encouraged by a master teacher and a wonderful woman! I teach on, Thelma. Each starfish I throw back, I'll think of you.
Linda Ghonim
November 26, 2013
Mrs.Slater was always a favorite of mine. She supported me throughout the years and I appreciate her dedication to the Mayor's Literacy Commission. She was my counselor at Souers junior high. My thoughts are with you Niall. I am sorry I cannot call on you but I am out of town.
Janet Weir Creighton
November 26, 2013
Mrs. Slater was a beautiful person. She helped me achieve my GED. I never forgot her and went to visit her time to time. She always welcomed with open arms. A true angel in Heaven. God is with you Mrs. Slater
Kelly Ledford
November 25, 2013
Thelma was an excellent teacher,she instructed me on how to tutor adults,i loved teaching,she was and is the reason that i am studying to be a teacher.She was also a good friend,she always took the time to listen and to offer advice.Thelma will be deeply missed by everyone that knew her,she is an angel smiling down on us.God bless her family.I will miss her.She was a good woman.
November 25, 2013
I only knew Thelma late in her life as a member of Coming Together Stark County and the Mayor's Literacy Commission. She was, indeed, one who was as good as her word and a hard and dedicated worker. From her obituary I also learn that her mother had the same name as mine: Malvina! How amazing. May she rest in peace and may her family and loved ones find comfort and healing.
Rabbi John Spitzer
November 25, 2013
What a great lady she was.she will be missed by many:(.love you aunt Thelma .
cinda stickley (klever)
November 25, 2013
My time spent with Thelma was not only a learning experience but a pleasure. She was a mover and shaker in the field of Education. RIP, Thelma.
Vickie Whiting
November 25, 2013
I have been blessed to have had Mrs. Slater as my counselor at Souers. I was thrilled to see her when Souers had their closing open house as i call it. She is a shining star which i will see when i look to the heavens. Forever in my heart.
Robin Ward- Davis
November 25, 2013
Around Thelma I always wanted to do a little better, try a little harder, sit up a little straighter...and not because I felt judged but because I felt challenged by her example. She was a 'woman empowered' in a generation where no one talked about empowerment. Why talk about it, anyway? There are important things to be done! Rest easy, dear Thelma. The world is a better place for your efforts. And you taught us well. We'll carry on, inspired by your faith and belief in us!
Susan
November 25, 2013
Mrs.Slater was my guidance counselor ar Sourers and I have seem her many times over the past few years.What a wonderful lady she was, and she loved her students.We will miss her!Praying for her son and family,
cheri heberling
November 25, 2013
Plenis annis honoribus et gaudiis abiit. Fruatur pace dulcissima placidaque.
Michele Valerie Ronnick
November 25, 2013
We need more educators like Thelma ... she was an educational pillar of our community.
Deepest Sympathy to her family,
Lynn Torgler
November 25, 2013
dear thelma, you are an amazing lady and it has been my privilege to be your neighbor and friend since i moved to massillon. i already miss you so much but i know what joy you are experiencing right now with our saviour and loved ones. we will be neighbors again one day..i love you
roxanne
November 25, 2013
Mrs. Slater was my counselor 50 years ago this school year. I remember her as a very nice, a very caring and a very competent individual.
Gary Schisler
November 25, 2013
Thelma was Canton's Mother Teresa... “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa... Thelma was a person that made small thing big.. An example was her literacy program.... She was full of love and compassion and will be forever loved..
November 25, 2013
Thelma will be missed greatly. I admired her dedication and spunk. Great woman!!!
Kelli Cozzoli
November 25, 2013
While Thelma was a sweet little lady, she was a force to be reckoned with. When she had a goal in mind, nothing stood in her way. Rest well, Thelma -- you have worked hard for your reward.
Vicki Muzzy
November 25, 2013
You were my counselor in Middle School and my adviser in adult education. You were a beautiful lady and a dedicated and devoted teacher. Thank you for being there for me. Jo Ann Stark-Moore
November 25, 2013
I just loved Thelma! I started to work for Canton City Schools when I was 18 in 1981. Thelma, Dale Carmen, Elise Barr, all notable persons who stood for something and didnt fall for anything! Thelma was such a dear and I really cherished the chance to know her. Thanks to Thelma for all her contributions to Canton City Schools and to young people. Such a gem is truly hard to find and will be dearly missed!
Michelle Martins de Ruano-Serret
November 25, 2013
Let us remember the smiling, the laughing, the talking, the sharing, the caring, and the loving. Let us remember the good times always. With sympathy and much love. Gloria Talarico
Gloria Talarico
November 25, 2013
You changed education in Canton. You changed many lives. God bless.
Manuel Halkias
November 25, 2013
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