Willie Douglas Slayton
March 28, 1927 – March 27, 2019
Willie Douglas Slayton died March 27, 2019 in Atlanta after a brief illness. Bill (or Doug as he was also known to his Virginia relatives) was born March 28, 1927 in Penhook, Franklin County, Virginia, the son of Charles Lester Slayton and Vivian Divers Slayton. He grew up with his four siblings on the family farm. After graduating from Glade Hill High School in Glade Hill, Virginia, he enrolled in the United States Army and served with distinction overseas during the Korean War rising to the rank of Sergeant First Class. During his time in the service he developed an interest in laboratory work and, following his honorable discharge from the regular army, he served in the Army Medical Lab at Ft. McPherson. When he retired from the Medical Lab in 1965, he began a second career at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, then known as the Communicable Disease Center, retiring for good in 1984.
Although he did not have an opportunity for formal education, “Uncle Bill” as he was affectionately known to family and friends was a Renaissance Man. He held a private pilot’s license by the time he was 18, but his color blindness prevented him from flying for the military or commercially. He was a scratch golfer, with four hole-in-ones to his credit (he was self-taught at his favorite sport). He owned quarter horses and played Fender guitars. He was an accomplished gardener. He made a cheesecake that was highly anticipated at family holiday gatherings. He entertained guests with rockabilly tunes on his keyboard. He could recite the Lord’s Prayer in Greek. Last but not least, he was also awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a procedure he developed while working at the CDC.
Most importantly, he was invariably happy and lifted the spirits of all that knew him or crossed his path, up until the very end.
Bill met the love of his life in while working at Ft. McPherson, marrying Zena Dimitri of Columbia, SC, in 1961. They were married for 55 years, until her death in 2016. He was a long-time member and supporter of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Atlanta, which he joined after marrying his wife.
In addition to his wife and parents, Bill was predeceased by his sisters Cardell Slayton Bridges, Lena Mae Slayton Arrington, and an older brother, Charles Lester Slayton, Jr. He is survived by his younger brother Kermit Slayton of Chester, Virginia, and several nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank Bill’s caregivers who cared greatly for him and enriched his life immeasurably after the loss of his wife: Prudence Forrester, Reagan Horne, Cameron White, Cyera Farmer, Derrica Forte and Patricia Curry.
Funeral Services will be held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, 2500 Clairmont Road, Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday, April 3 at 11:00 a.m. with internment thereafter at Arlington Cemetery in Sandy Springs. In lieu of Flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral Endowment Fund.
- Funeral Service Wednesday, April 3, 2019
- Committal Service Wednesday, April 3, 2019