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1935 Bunni 2023

Bunni Slater

September 7, 1935 — December 14, 2023

Bernice “Bunni” Rose Slater, beloved owner of The Cat’s Meow, 88, of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, passed away Thursday, December 14, 2023, in Scottsbluff. A memorial service will be held at a later date and cremation has taken place in accordance with her wishes. Online condolences may be expressed by visiting Bunni’s obituary page viewable at

Bunni was born September 7, 1935, in Lincoln, Nebraska to James and Mary Helen (Cook) Howland and grew up in Juniata, Weeping Water, Brainard, McCook, and Wahoo, before moving back to Lincoln. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1953. She was a big sister to Helen Marie and Nancy Kay. Bunni gave her life to Jesus as a little girl and had a heart for missions. Although her given name was Bernice, everyone knew her as Bunni, a name she loved.

She met her future husband, Stan Slater, while telling a funny story on the steps of their local church. He asked her to sing a duet with him, and she knew she had found her cowboy. They were married in 1955 at Sunken Gardens in Lincoln and a honeymoon to Niagara Falls followed.  They returned to Lincoln to finish college and Bunni became a layout editor for the Cornhusker yearbook. Stan landed a job with the Bank of America in Los Angeles, and Bunni set aside her major. The couple seized the opportunity for their grand adventure to California.

Bunni worked for a short time at Cook Electric in California, where she operated an old teletype machine and handled classified paperwork. She then worked for twelve years as secretary of the Church of the Foothills, Church of God, Pasadena. She was responsible for an 8,000-member mailing list for 65 churches as her boss was the head of the Association of the Church of God in Southern California. Bunni and Stan loved to sing in the choir and did so most of their lives at the churches they attended. Bunni’s favorite songs were Morning Has Broken, In the Garden, and Be Thou My Vision, which her family sang with her often and until the end.

Bunni enjoyed becoming a mother when her two miraculous daughters, Susan and Lauri, were born in ‘58 and ‘61. Her life became filled with sewing projects, reading children’s books, and helping in school activities. Soon family and home beckoned Stan and Bunni to return to Nebraska in 1967. It was September 10, 1968, when Bunni used her new-found skills in sewing, art, and marketing to begin The Cat’s Meow in Scottsbluff. She joined the first generation of career women and was one of the first women business-owners in Scottsbluff. Her cool shop took off! It was The Cat’s Meow! As Bunni would say on the radio, it was an ‘International Treasure Hunt’ with anything and everything from soap, candles, stickers, cards, coffee, silk flowers, baskets, toys, gizmos, aprons, cookware, waterbeds, designer fabric, wedding dishes and fashion, to name a few.

Bunni and Stan retired and made another big move back out to California in 1989. Bunni’s retirement was filled with sewing herself new designer clothes, bicycling and traveling with Stan all over America, England, and Italy to visit beloved friends, and reading British mysteries and romances. She read a book a day for many years. She also became an accomplished watercolorist and a talented decorator with a knack for furniture painting.

Grandchildren also became a big part of her life. She loved reading Winnie the Pooh to each of her seven grandchildren in turn. Her eldest granddaughter April said, “Grandma Bunni was the classiest and most joyous lady I have ever known. She had the most impeccable style and had a life that was well crafted. She made every moment magical for her grandkids, and I hope that magic can live on through us. She taught me to look at and appreciate the small things other people would easily pass right over. Nothing was lost on grandma, and she made everything seem significant and special.”

As her life drew to a close, God became more and more important to Bunni. She avidly read the books of William Barclay and enjoyed sharing her faith with her friends at The Residency retirement home. She formed many meaningful friendships there and enjoyed leaving notes of encouragement. Bunni led many people to Jesus. Even in her weak state toward the end of her life, she was concerned for others. Her daughter Lauri said, “She never said a bad word in her life, nor did she ever say an unkind word about anyone. She was a truly selfless and precious person.”

The last year of her life, Bunni struggled with growing dementia, but she kept her positivity and thankfulness even in her darkest hours. Prayer was also a great comfort for her, especially in the last weeks. She recently said, “I’ve been praying since I was a baby.” She often thanked God for all that He was doing in her life as it drew to a close here on earth; and was assured of His complete sovereignty in the events of her life and in her death.

The family would like to say a prayer in honor of that, “Dear Jesus, we are so thankful that we are part of Bunni’s family and that we got the chance to know her. She was truly a gift that cannot be replaced, but our prayer is that her gift of love and care for others’ lives on to everything she touched and through us. Thank you for taking her into Your everlasting arms. We know she is in a perfect place with You, in Your eternal garden. We will miss you, Bunni, until we see you again. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Survivors include her sister, Nancy Howland-Regier of Lincoln; husband of 68 years, Stanley of Scottsbluff; daughter, Susan (Tom) Perkins and Lauri Matisse of Scottsbluff; and seven grandchildren, Miner, April, John, Peter, Michaela, Julia, and Cyrus.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Helen; parents, James and Mary Helen; and brother-in-law, Larry.


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