Stanley Ray Slater, 95, of Scottsbluff, Neb., passed away Monday, December 18, 2023, at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff. A joint memorial service for Stan and his wife, Bunni, who preceded him in death just four days prior, will be held at a later date. Cremation has taken place in accordance with his wishes. Online condolences may be expressed by visiting Stan’s obituary page viewable at www.reverencefuneralparlor.com.
Stan was born July 5, 1928, in Gordon, Neb. to parents, William Orin Slater and Georgia Raye (Nern) Slater. He always took pride in being born the same year as Mickey Mouse. He lived with his family, on his grandparents Felix and Mae Nern’s ranch, in the Sand Hills, just south of Gordon during most of his childhood years. He rode his horse, Sonny, to school every day until the eighth grade when the family moved into Gordon. As a young boy, he gave his heart to Jesus as his savior at the Church of God in Gordon. Stan played basketball and was in the band at Gordon High School, where he graduated in 1947. He also attended the Church of God Bible School for one year in Chadron, Neb. He worked as a teller at the Gordon State Bank for his first job.
Stan was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served from March 14, 1951, to March 9, 1953, and the majority of this time he was in the Engineer Topographic Detachment 8210th Army Unit. After his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, he entered the Corp of Army Engineers at Fort Belvoir, Vir., where he had the second highest test scores in his class. This qualified him to be part of the map making and photography division of the Army Engineers, which gave him top security clearance and secret service status. He was based near the front lines in Korea and would make many trips by air and by jeep above and at the front lines on reconnaissance missions to make accurate battle maps for the military to use.
Stan returned to Nebraska after the war and attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. It was there he met his future wife, Bernice ‘Bunni’ Rose Howland, on the steps of her church the first Sunday of his arrival in town. They were married in the Lincoln Sunken Gardens at 7:00 in the morning on August 28, 1955. Stan was a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi and the Glee Club while at university. Two and a half years of college later, he graduated in 1956 from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The same year he was hired by Bank of America to train as a bank manager in southern California. He often spoke of seeing Walt Disney in person one time, when he happened to visit that branch where Stan worked. California was where Stan and Bunni’s two daughters, Susan and Lauri, were born. The family lived in Glendale, Altadena, and Pasadena, while Stan worked mostly in mortgage banking in Beverly Hills.
The family moved back to Nebraska to be closer to family in 1967, settling in Scottsbluff. The same year Stan became the business manager for St. Mary’s Hospital, where he worked until 1976 when the hospital merged with the then Methodist Hospital. At that time, he left the hospital system to join Bunni in full time retailing at their store, The Cat’s Meow, which she had started in 1968.
Stan and Bunni traveled extensively from 1976 to 2009. First in the U.S. and short visits to Paris and Europe, and then after retirement to Lompoc, Cal. in 1989, they went on regular trips to the British Isles and Western Europe. Many of these years they went on bicycle tours together in New England and England. On one trip to England, they operated their own boat on one of the canals. They became friends with a number of people in England and Italy, who they would return to visit when possible. Some of Stan’s hobbies were woodworking, restoring old furniture, and painting.
Stan and Bunni made another move back to Scottsbluff in 2001, because of Stan’s restlessness to always get back to Nebraska where he felt most at home. This time they remained in Scottsbluff and spent most of their time with family during their final years.
His family recounts listening to many stories Stan told of growing up on the ranch and his time in Korea. Stan was an amazing storyteller. They were colorful, larger than life stories of a legendary ranch. He often told the story of the Korean boy who worked in his barracks named Kim Sing Yuong or ‘Half Pint.’
Dear Lord, thank you for Stan. Thank you for helping him persevere to be close to You, especially later in life. Thank you for answering his prayer to go to be with You at the same time as his loving wife, Bunni. They passed four days apart and for this we are grateful. Thank you for Your faithfulness to Stan. Amen.
Survivors include his daughters, Susan (Tom) Perkins and Lauri Matisse of Scottsbluff; brother, Maurice (Marlys) Slater of Gordon, Neb.; seven grandchildren, Miner, John, and Michaela Perkins of Scottsbluff, April Mallord of Fayetteville, Ark., Peter Mallord of Silver Lake, Cal., and Julia Mallord and Cyrus Matisse of Scottsbluff; and sister-in-law, Nancy (Howland) Regier of Lincoln.
Stan was preceded in death by his wife, Bunni; his parents, Orin and Raye (Nern) Slater; brother, Don (Ella) Slater; brother-in-law, Larry Regier; maternal grandparents, Felix William and Mary Magdalene Martha “Mae” (Hopkins) Nern; paternal grandma, Henrietta “Etta” (Long) Slater-Kline, buried in Gering; and his once lost, but recently found (through DNA) paternal grandpa, Albert Slater a.k.a. Harry Everett Gray.