Obit: Slaats, Gary William (1945 - 2014)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Slaats, Harvey, Peters, Wietz, Ceo, Morgan, Querusio, Maxwell

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co, WI) 4/30/2014

Slaats, Gary William (12 August 1945 - 16 April 2014)

Gary William Slaats, 68, passed away Wednesday, April 16, in Naples, FL. his wife Carolyn and his canine companion, Tappi, at his side.

Gary was born Aug. 12, 1945, in Hazel Green, to William “Bud” and Evelyn Slaats. He attended a one-room country school through eighth grade and graduate from Cuba City High School in 1963. In his youth, he was active in 4-H, was in the generation when parents thought it was a good idea for children to learn to play the accordion and played in the high school band. He also had a lead in the junior class play in which he and two other classmates had to perform on stage dresses as girls.

He graduated from Waldorf Junior College, Forest City, IA, and continued his education at Wisconsin State University-La Crosse, now UW-La Crosse and was active in Alpha Phi Omega fraternity and got his first newspaper experience working on the “Racquet,” the school’s newspaper.

Gary was adventurous and volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps and was stationed in Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. This began a life-long connection to the Peace Corps and that country.

Gary married Jane Harvey in January 1970. They eventually divorced. After receiving a Conscientious Objector Status, Gary took a public relations position with the Commission on Religion in Appalachia in Knoxville, TN. Later, he became owner and publisher of the Clark County Press in Neillsville. The paper was recognized and won numerous awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Associations.

Gary took the position of Director of Communications with Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (VOCA) in Washington, DC. He was then transferred to Madison to run the central U. S. Office for VOCA, working with over 600 volunteers and raveled throughout the world promoting agricultural cooperation.

In 1999, he married Carolyn Peters in Madison. They co-owned the first Edible arrangements franchise in Madison on University Avenue. While in Madison, Gary became a fan of UW athletics, especially women’s basketball and volleyball and the Badger football team.

After building the business, Gary’s love for the Peace Corps led him back to the association with the agency. He accepted a position as a sector recruitment specialist to heighten awareness of the Peace Corps traveling throughout the U. S. promoting support for and encouraging partnership with the Peace Corps.

He retired to Naples in 2010 and fell in love with the place. He became a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples, the (ROMEOS) (Retired Old Men Eating Out) and was a registered guardian ad litem for Collier County.

Gary is survived by his wife Carolyn; his dog Tappi; his two brothers, Glen (Vicki), Green Bay, and Michael (Sarah), Glasgow, MT; A sister, Becky (Bill) Wietz, Peosta, IA; his Aunt Ruth Slaats, Cuba City; nieces, Sara Slaats and Jen Ceo, and nephews, Matthew Slaats, Mark Wietz, Jeremy Slaats, Jonathon Slaats and Sam Wietz; numerous cousins throughout the country; and many friends he had made throughout his life.

He was preceded in death by his father, William; mother, Evelyn; and a nephew, Glen C. Slaats, Jr.

A memorial and reception will be in the Tripps Commons room at the Memorial Union on the UW-Madison campus, Tuesday, May 20, 2014, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with Pastor Frank Maxwell presiding.

The family would like to thank Dr. Susan Morgan, oncologist, and Dr. Luigi Querusio, surgeon Physicians Regional Hospital, Naples, for their efforts.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Naples, 6340 Napa Woodsway, Naples, FL 34116; Peace Corp Office of Gifts, 1111 20th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20256 (; Shooting For A Cure, PO Box 916, Palestine, TX 75802.



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