Last week a gentle soul departed this world for the next at the tender age of 73 years. Born with the gift of gab, our dearly departed was an avid story teller turning the smallest of happenings into front page news. This final story is her story, the story of her life (abbreviated, of course, due to cost and column constraints).
Cecelia Reeves Slater was born on December 5, 1942, eldest child of Jim and Marion Reeves and beloved big sister of Elizabeth, Margaret and Peter. A New Yorker born and bred, Cecelia grew up in Manhattan until such time that fate saw it fit to draw her to Boston for a chance meeting with the notable Bostonian, Jerard E. Slater (he caught the garter and she the bouquet at a mutual friend’s wedding).
She soon thereafter married Jerry and immediately set to work on her greatest project, her family. She had two sons, James and Peter (sensibly resisting Jerry’s desire to name them Socrates and Plato), and complemented the picture with a dog with a curly tail, Spunky. Her capacity for love and caring was so rich that dogs would always be part of her family to catch the overflow of her kindness (and scraps from her table, I am looking at you Maggie).
In time, the kids would grow up and marry, Jim to Saundra Guadagno of Danvers MA and Peter to Gena Cheng of Potomac MD. Peter and Gena eventually gave Cecelia two grandchildren, Katrina Cheng-Slater and Ronan Cheng-Slater, and those grandkids in turn gave Cecelia a variety of new names including, Nannie (for everyday use) and Tough Puff (for when they were being silly).
Cecelia always worked, starting with log skinning for her father (25 cents a log) at their country home in upstate NY and then later as an assistant buyer at B. Altman’s in NYC, an assistant manager at Crabtree & Evelyn in Boston and finally helping out in the family’s accounting business. In her heart though, she was always an artist. She first studied art at the Sorbonne in Paris and then later received a degree from Newbury College with high honors. Echoes of her love of art still reverberate in her grandchildren.
Cecelia was a shopper but never for herself. She only shopped to give gifts and no occasion was too small. Christmas will not be the same without her.
|Jim & Peter, This is a very sad occasion. When I went to see Jerry for my taxes (or golf), I looked forward to seeing Cecelia as much as your Dad. She indeed loved her dogs. Jerry once told me that he thought Cecelia liked Maggie more than him but I assured him that he, very likely, was still no. 1 with her. Your obituary was awesome. She was indeed incredibly unselfish and accomplished in many diverse ways and she certainly loved her family. She and Jerry always were eager to tell me the latest about their sons, and they were very proud of you both. I also continue to think often of Jerry and the first time we met. We hit it off almost instantly. Jerry and Cecelia are together again now.
You and your families are in my thoughts.
|Dear Jim, Peter and families,
Ed and I were so sad to learn of your mother's passing. She truly was the epitome of class and style. She, and your father, made it well known you boys were their greatest and proudest accomplishments. How loving and wonderful that is. They are now hand in hand watching over all of you, and continuing to marvel at all you are. Your obituary is warm ,incredible and lovingly reflective of all the family values they and you possess. Our sincerest sympathies, thoughts and prayers.
Denise and Ed Ayan and family