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Gerald  Slavney

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Gerald Slavney, age 91, died September 30, 2013, at Baptist Trinity Hospice House, surrounded by his family. Gerald was born in Madison, Wisconsin, September 17, 1922, as the eldest son of Leo and Sarah Slavney. He graduated from Central High School in Madison and attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, graduating in 1944 with a degree in metallurgy. At the University, he met Ruth Janet Katz of Memphis, and they were married in Memphis at the Peabody Hotel on January 7, 1945.

He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1946-1947 and after basic training was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Base, serving as a metallurgical engineer. After his discharge, he worked at Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois also as a metallurgical engineer. In 1948, he moved to Memphis to join Thompson-Katz Lumber Company, co-owned by his father-in-law. He was president of the company from 1960 until its sale and his retirement in 1994.

Gerald was active in a variety of lumber industry organizations during his career. He was a 50-year plus member of the Lumberman's Club of Memphis, serving as its President in 1974 and being named its Lumberman of the Year in 1993. During his tenure as President of the Lumberman's Club, he spearheaded a donation from the local lumber industry of wood paneling that adorns the Theatre Memphis lobby. He also served from 1986 to 1992 as Board Member of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) and served as a member of the Building Committee that moved the NHLA and its Lumber Inspector School from Chicago to a showplace headquarters facility in Memphis in 1980. He especially enjoyed his relationship with a group of Lumberman, lovingly called the "Termites".

He loved geography and history, was an avid wood craftsman and enjoyed the outdoors. During his life he traveled with family on many camping trips in the western United States and in his retirement throughout Europe. He was a member of Temple Israel, Memphis.

He is survived by his loving wife, Ruth, of 68 years; daughter, Beth (Gary) Lehman of Memphis; sons, David (Susan) of St. Louis and Gary (Laura) of Memphis; brothers, Martin (Betty) Slavney of Clearwater, FL and Kenneth (Anne) Slavney of Fresno, CA; and six grandchildren, Janet Mitchell (LJ), Eric Lehman, Natalie Chavez (Ismael), Adam Slavney, Matthew Slavney and William Slavney. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sarah and Leo Slavney, and son, Jeffrey Paul.

Funeral services will be 12:30 p.m. Thursday, October 3 at the Levy-Cooper Chapel, Temple Israel Cemetery, 1708 Hernando Road. Burial will be at Temple Israel Cemetery, Memphis.

The family is especially grateful to the staff of Baptist Trinity Hospice Home, hospice nurse, Julie McLarty, and daily caregivers: Felicia Boateng, Pamela Curry and Lisa Todd.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Rabbi Danzinger's Discretionary Fund at Temple Israel, Baptist Trinity Hospice House or a charity of the donor's choice.

Canale Funeral Directors