Life, Minutiae, Toys, Irrational Phobias, Peeves, Fiber

Beers In Heaven

Posted on | May 9, 2005 at 6:35 pm | 16 Comments

I don’t usually like to bring up downer personal stuff in this space, but I can’t let this one go by without mention. I just heard today that my old friend Jeff Slaten passed away over the weekend of an unexpected heart attack. Though I pretty much lost contact with him over the years as he transitioned into his role of family man, he was a huge influence on my life and I mourn his passing. My heart goes out to his family.

Everybody knows someone like Jeff – one of those extremely charismatic individuals whose orbit is really easy to fall into. He was the kind of guy you felt comfortable talking to the very first time you met him. He was always interested in what you had to say and always added something of value to the conversation without trying to top you. Mellow, but interesting. Seven years older than me, he was the manager of the first comic book store that I hung out at and patronized back in my late adolescence. Jeff was the one who got me to appreciate many vices, including card games (hearts and spades mostly, but also the all-important poker), Marvel Comics & independent comics (before I met Jeff, it was all DC), Blue Oyster Cult, and of course, Beer. I probably even looked up to him as a sort of mentor during that very difficult time of my life, though I bet Jeff would balk at that. I owe a lot to Mr. Slaten. Through Jeff, I met many friends, some of whom are still close friends to this day, including my buddies Ray and Hugh. Jeff and Ray were pretty much inseparable back in those early days.

It had been a long time since I last saw him or talked to him, and I can’t even remember when that was, but I always hoped we’d meet up again up someday and chat about old times over a beer. Tonight I’ll have that beer alone, but I’ll be drinking to you, Jeff. I hope the brews are decent wherever you are now.



16 Responses to “Beers In Heaven”

  1. dmw
    May 10th, 2005 @ 5:32 pm

    I’ll see your beer and raise you a chorus of “Clayton Delaney”
    My condolences, my friend.

  2. Flasshe
    May 10th, 2005 @ 11:01 pm

    Thanks, doug.

    Here’s a link to Jeff’s obituary.

  3. Alan
    May 11th, 2005 @ 10:16 am

    I found out about Jeff’s passing Monday morning. Though I was never really close to him like you and Ray were, he was one of my early heroes when I first started in the SCA. It’s probably been 10 years since I saw him, he’d just started going to events again about the time I dropped out, but he was still one of those people that make things fun for the people around them.

  4. Flasshe
    May 11th, 2005 @ 11:26 pm

    If it wasn’t for Jeff, you would probably be another of those friends I never would have met, Alan. Connections…

  5. Paula
    May 12th, 2005 @ 1:31 pm

    Sorry to hear that, Rog. He sounds like an awesome guy.

  6. Bill
    May 14th, 2005 @ 7:35 am

    I’m going to break one of my own rules here by pretty much saying, “Me too!” Jeff was #1.

    Roger and I went to high school (and jr. hs and college :D ) together and introduced me to Jeff. He always had time for people, even geeky high school nerds. Jeff came by Roger and my high school to give a talk to our science fiction club about what it took to become an SF writer. He never treated us as kids, but as friends.

    As his persona of Sir Bren Malokai he introduced me to the Society for Creative Anachronism, which became such a big part of my life and where I met my darling of the last 17 years. Jeff was also one of my heroes in the SCA, standing for what knights should be like.

    I am deeply sorry that he was taken from us so soon.

  7. Flasshe
    May 15th, 2005 @ 11:08 am

    Bill, my most enduring memory of you and Jeff together was that one Mile Hi Con where you ripped open the doors of the hotel elevator between floors while you, Jeff, me and Ray (?) were in it. I had seen you do the trick before and so was unfazed, but Jeff totally freaked out! I think it was the only time I saw him lose his cool.

  8. Donna Slaten
    June 14th, 2005 @ 6:50 pm

    Dear Friend, I was sitting here, unwinding after work-on my laptop. I decided to “Google” Jeff, and found your kind, comforting words about my brother-in-law. It is comforting to read your sentiments, and others as well. Jeff WAS an awesome guy. I have been married to his brother for about 26yrs now. I remember the early days and how Jeff and I clicked so well right from the start. Dave remembers when we went up to visit in Denver. We went to a Japanese restaurant where Jeff and I REALLY enjoyed the Sake. Your words are true, Jeff could easily talk to people he had just met, and they would consider him like an old friend. We have seen Jeff more in the last several years than we had in years previous. We are so thankful for that, we miss him greatly. I have passed your page on to Dave, Thanks…..Donna

  9. Flasshe
    June 14th, 2005 @ 7:08 pm

    Donna, thanks so much for posting, and I’m very sorry for the loss of your brother-in-law. I believe I talked to Dave briefly at the funeral, but I’m sorry I don’t think I met you. I envy you and Dave for having contact with him in recent years. Everything you say is true. I’m still reeling a bit from this, and I hope that wherever Jeff is now, he’s his old happy self.

  10. Mindy
    May 6th, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

    Hi, I’m Jeff’s aunt. I just googled Jeff’s name to see what was out there and I found this site. It’s nice to hear how much he was loved and looked up to. I miss him so much and still can’t believe he is gone. It’s great to know the positive affect Jeff had on people. I missed a call from Jeff the Friday before he died and I just wanted to remind everyone that I talk to that you never know what tomorrow brings. I never really took that seriously until this happened. I regret to this day that I didn’t get to that call. I wish so much that I could get that Friday back and talk to him one more time.

  11. Flasshe
    May 6th, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mindy, and I’m sorry for your loss. Even though it’s been a few years since Jeff passed away, I still think of him and wish that I had gotten to talk to him that one last time too. It had been way too long since I’d seen or talked to him, and then he was gone. Yeah, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

  12. Donna
    May 6th, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

    Strange, I just happened to review this site on May 6th. Jeff is still very much in our hearts, and will always be remembered. Still can’t believe he is gone. Who is Aunt Mindy?

  13. Ryan
    August 10th, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

    Are you referring to Jeff W. Slaten of Columbus GA?

  14. Flasshe
    August 10th, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

    No, Jeff Slaten of Denver, CO.

  15. george charles gray
    October 6th, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

    It was 1971 when I met Jeff Slaten. We were in high school. We had classic muscle cars. Jeff had a ‘69 Camaro and i had a ‘66 Pontiac GTO. We had fun on the streets. Our favorite bands were Pink Floyd and the Doors. Jeff also turned me onto science fiction and fantasy for which i will be eternally grateful. After high school, i was in the US Army and stationed in Germany. Due to Jeff’s situation, his Dad was an airlines pilot so his kids could fly anywhere in the world for free up to age 21, Jeff visited me in Germany. I took a week’s leave and we had the most king hell time. I was stationed at the 188th General Dispensary in Bamberg, Germany. I was a medic. We saw Frankfurt, Munich, Nurnberg and Heidelberg. Heidelberg was the one that we liked the most. There was a restaurant on the river that was an old sailing ship. We had beers there, many beers. We visited the ancestral home of Col. Klaus von Stauffenberg, the German officer who tried to assassinate Hitler with a bomb. What blew us away was that it was a castle and had an armory. There were swords and crossbows from medieval times to a 50mm. Russian anti-tank gun from World War 2.
    Jeff was a good friend. When I was in the Army, I had some family problems and he helped my family out while I was overseas.
    When i got out of the Army, it was Jeff who picked me up at the airport. He took me to his favorite restaurant in Albuquerque, The Quarters. It still stands and I still go there.
    I also owe Jeff for something else. It was back in
    those nights when we hung out at the coffee shops. We talked about the things that high school kids talked about. It was Jeff who helped me realize what I liked to do and that was to write. I became a journalist and a documentary filmmaker.
    So, old friend, rest easy and take care. We’ll have some tales to swap when we see each other next. We’ll meet on the deck of that boat in Heidelberg where they never run out of beer.

  16. Flasshe
    October 6th, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

    George, thank you for posting your remembrances. It sounds like Jeff held a very special place in your life and your heart, like he did for the rest of us.

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