Brian Slator was someone who helped me find the right words, and as much good as I have to say about the man, writing about him is tough. Hard to imagine what the family is going through. So sorry, Slators, Omars, and all.

To Rita and the whole family, I am so sorry for your loss. I am also sorry for what so many others lost, a mentor, a friend, a man who believed learning should be fun, and computers should be helpful. A caring adventurer who glued a bunch of folks together into an enduring web. Someone who did the work of keeping in touch each year. As I once said, and I hope all will forgive me, he was a good friend and a bad*** all in one.

Here are some Dr. Brian Slator memories:

Outside the CS department, he had a lock on his old blue bike, but it only appeared to be locked, the lock was always just wrapped around the frame. Similarly, there was always a spare key under a rock somewhere… over time I realized this was part of his approach to life, always a way around the problem, often non-obvious, another means of access, no cause was hopeless, he picked locks with words.

When I first started working with WWWIC, I was struck by how Brian would often stop mid-utterance, lean back, cross his arms, and, after a pause, say “What I mean to say is…” after which would follow the most perfectly formulated, crystalline thoughts and vision statements. This live-thinking was really awe-inspiring and I anticipated these moments. I have adopted this myself.

When I was in grad school, Brian often hired me to work on his side projects, and the amount he offered for the job always somehow seemed to be the exact amount I needed to keep going. It took some time for me to realize that this was not a coincidence and that it said something both about the size of his heart and the sheer observational power the man possessed.

Slator would often come to me with little “toy” problems that inadvertently demonstrated how much he cared for people. For example, one oddball project was making silent castanets for Rita’s dance students, who needed to build confidence in their technique. Together we laser-cut some gold spraypainted cardboard castanets one afternoon to see if they might help. I’m not sure if they did, but I was impressed nonetheless.

Slator was generous with authorship before I really understood what it authorship was good for.
I visited Toronto for the first time (and left the US for the first time) on Maya training with Shannon. I visited Los Angeles and my first graphics conference (Siggraph 2005) because of Slator and WWWIC… this later became where I published/showed new work with Disney… and LA became my home after I dropped out of grad school.

On that topic, Slator both helped me get into grad school and also tried very hard to keep me there – even after things got strange and very difficult. He came up with a number of imaginative workarounds for my situation and even after I’d left, he reached out a few times before my credits expired, just to see if he could convince me to return and finish my degree. Better late than never… 

A Slator maxim that I relish, “A technology so powerful it can only be used for good and for evil.” – I hear it spoken in the radio-friendly, confident and humorous sound of the man when he said things like that. I have a few voicemails saved.
Slator was unusual in that the closer you got to him, the more he opened up… the more creative, fun, authentic, interesting, and connective his presence and life became. I may have met the leader of a king-hell research group, but got to know a traveler, connector, motorcycle enthusiast, filmmaker, author, and mentor that through no small effort changed the course of my life in an immensely positive way.  I mean, these days, I sit at my computer and do CAD design for a living… which is really no different than the 3D modeling I did for WWWIC. These digital skills and technical access came from that first encounter with Slator, Schwert, and Clark (and I hold them all responsible for many positive things that ever happened to me).

Slator always wore a Batman hat. I do think he was some kind of odd superhero. But in many ways he was more a Professor X than a Batman. He produced great work by maintaining a stable of unusual, good-hearted, productive, and trustworthy people who sometimes needed a little guidance, help, or protection (like me, from my personality or myself, others who just needed regular help like health insurance, etc).

I spent a few hours today going through my photo archive. I know I have more somewhere, and I honestly wish I had a selfie like Shannon’s, but I was surprised to find a prescient photo of a smiling Slator wearing an N95 mask. This was back in late 2006, refurbishing the Clubhouse. 

I’m also including a shot that I return to a few times a year. In my last minutes in Fargo, two people showed up. My childhood crush, Emily, who brought me a coffee, a hot sandwich, and a hug goodbye. And of course Brian Slator, who made sure I had everything I needed, money for gas, and blocks on the springs of my super-overloaded-hatchback. I will never forget them showing up at the moment I needed them and encouraging me to go when it was probably the last thing either of them wanted. What I mean to say is… Godspeed Dr. Brian Slator and Good Hunting in the Great Beyond.

Mr. Reetz

When Don’s wife Char was in the hospital for leukemia, Brian had the idea to make up a “Get Well Soon” Don’s Car Watch ticket and then we drove around the hospital for about half on hour trying to find Don’s car.  Eventually we did and I recorded Brian leaving the note.

May 19, 2020
Brian was the reason I went to grad school. He didn’t just encourage me, he walked me through the whole process and supported me continuously throughout my studies. He was a good friend to me, a mentor and a drinking buddy, and drove six hours with Rita and Megan to stand up at my wedding. He loved science and shaped my view of what it is to be a scientist and a teacher. I owe much of my success and happiness in life to Brian, and I’m heartbroken to know that I won’t get another chance to enjoy his insight, his wit, his sage wisdom and his boundless curiosity. There couldn’t be a better cause to memorialize Brian than one that promotes science education. Having received Brian’s great gifts, I am honored to do what little I can to pass them along to the future.

Thank you, Dr. Slator.

Brian and I were high school classmates at a time when the world was changing faster than we could imagine — though it was more than 50 years ago, (and “the times, they are a changing” about that fast today), I believe that his support for something like this scholarship was forged in that crucible in little old Osseo, Minnesota. Rest peacefully, Brian. Your memory will bring comfort to family and friends, and this scholarship will bring opportunity to women for years to come.

Karen Eckel Bridgeman

By Nem W. Schlecht

In March of 2006, Brian and I were hanging out at the Turf and he asked me to use my Google-foo (or some site I had mentioned in my podcast for getting song lyrics) to try to figure out the lyrics to one of his long-time favorite songs – “Of Thee I Sing” by Leon Russell.  His comment, specifically:

p.s. “of thee I sing” is a remarkable tune in that, if you play it back to back, in a loop, it is almost seamless. You can listen to it for hours.

I assume he made this comment from actual experience.  If you are unfamiliar, take a listen below.  Leon is energetic and although he doesn’t necessarily mumble, neither does he enunciate.

It actually took me months (October 2006 – I admit, I probably initially forgot all about his request), but eventually I e-mailed him lyrics I had found.  However, neither Brian nor I agreed with what I found!  The lyrics had “Got” instead of “Brought” in the 2nd line and “stained” instead of “strained” near the end.  We adjusted them and went with what I have here.

I must have listened to this song at least 30-40 times trying to figure out what the heck Leon is saying – I’m sure Brian listened to it many more times than that!

As an update, I just now (May 2020) searched for these lyrics again and found a much more reliable/accurate source and I see that Brian and I were both correct with our version.  So, the mystery was solved and Leon sings on…

Leon Russell – Of Thee I Sing (Lyrics)

Hung up in a Pennsylvania mining town
Brought down to Boston in time for tea
I don’t know exactly just what’s going down
I better hang around until I see

With beauty like a knife, She cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something ugly and sore
With beauty like a knife, she cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something strange- and more

Don’t bomb the inn I’m on holiday
But Oklahoma’s just a jet away
And the blood is on the books in Ohio
So badly strained what can I say

With beauty like a knife, she cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something ugly and sore
With beauty like a knife, she cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something strange- and more

 

 

Brian Slator: big-time Batman fan.

And, sorta like Bruce Wayne, Slator is cool on the outside and sports an impressive array of hidden talents and tastes. He’s is a faculty member in NDSU’s computer science department, where he has been department head since 2007 and where he has done research on immersive virtual environments and games used for science education. He’s part of a group that has won several million dollars in grant funding to do this research, and he’s commercializing that research through a company called WoWiWe; they’ve recently developed a game called Virtual Cell which allows you fly around 3D renditions of cells.

Slator is also an author, voracious reader, TV watcher, theatre buff, and movie goer. He completed a novel, Chapters, earlier this year and it’s available through Amazon. It’s set in the 70s and, he said, “it’s a ripping good yarn, if I do say so myself.”

What book/music/movie/artwork really gets you going? Why?

I turned 60 last fall which, when you do the math, reveals I was in high school during the 1960s, and draft bait during the latter part of the Nixon administration and the Viet Nam era. I was a citizen of that decade. In addition, this calculates to being born in 1952, a ‘year of the Dragon’ in the Chinese calendar, and the ‘busiest’ year of the Baby Boom, the year when the most boomers were born, amongst the biggest bursts of human population in the history of this planet. If you are my age, you can guess what comes next.

Books? Anything by Hunter S. Thompson or Tom Wolfe. Influences: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Dos Passos; plus James Joyce and William Shakespeare. At one point I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories, and later everything by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I have an almost complete collection of Man from U.N.C.L.E. paperbacks.

Music? Early: Beatles/Stones/Who/Animals; Later: Clapton/Springsteen/Allman Brothers, plus all the legacy influences: Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King.

Movies? I have always been a sucker for the ‘band of buddies’ story. So, my top ten list of movies includes The Great Escape, Kelly’s Heroes, Fistful of Dollars, Three Days of the Condor, The Electric Horseman, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Butch Cassidy, Outlaw Josie Wales, plus a couple more, and an undeserving sentimental favorite, Steelyard Blues.

In the 1970s and 1980s I was involved with AHC Productions, an amateur film cooperative. We got a couple of short films screened at film festivals: Eye of the Holy See and Tarzan Jr. and the Cuban Mercenaries. You can look them up on IMDB.

What artist, musician, etc., inspires you the most? Why?

If a young Bob Dylan and a young Bruce Springsteen were somehow combined with Bonnie Raitt and Arthur Rimbaud, that would be an inspiring and surreal mix of poetry and music. Leonardo Da Vinci as an action hero is a compelling idea, too.

What’s something you saw or heard recently that you would recommend to others?

The most amazing movie I have seen in a long time is Howl (2010). I missed the Joffrey Ballet doing Stravinksi’s Rite of Spring with the Najinksy choreography. Bummer. There is a TV critic who writes a daily column that never fails to amuse and enlighten. Kevin McDonough is excerpted in the Forum and appears online as Remote Patrol. I recommend this.

What local artist, musician, writer, etc., do you admire, and why?

Right now my favorite local artist is Katy Cox. I work with her and she can do absolutely anything.

My all-time favorite local artist is Christina Johnson. Christina and I go back. Did you see her recent piece in the Rourke Show, Waiting for the Male? Awesome! I was the model for that piece, by the way. I enjoy the theater and have an affinity for Theatre B on Main Street: the Horviks and the Wintersteens are the bees knees, and Brad Delzer directed a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that I thought was stellar.

Of course NDSU is a tremendous source of local art, music and theater. I gravitate towards the theater productions, but I have been to plenty of choir concerts too. Favorite local Middle Eastern Dance troupe, you ask? Why, my favorite by far is the Shimmy Sisters who are having their annual show in the Beckwith Recital Hall at NDSU on Saturday, September 21st, 2013. Local writer? I wish I knew Louise Erdrich. She writes great books and she is from around here. I almost know Lin Enger, over at MSUM, who I admire although we have never met. I met his wife some years ago, and he was advisor to my son-in-law–that’s almost a relationship.

I used to enjoy reading Mike McFeely when he was with the Forum, although I wrote to him once and he accused me of being a UND fan. When my wife heard about this, she said, “You’re a UND fan like Mike McFeely is a rocket scientist.” I only tell that story because I am sure Mr. McFeely would see the humor. And, I enjoy reading Tammy Swift, whom I have also never met. She was scheduled to interview me once, when we won a big research grant, but it did not come together. Then she worked at NDSU for awhile, and I thought FOR SURE we would cross paths, but we never did. Then one day I saw her walking near the HoDo and I said to my boss, “Look, Tammy Swift!” And he said, “Not exactly a celebrity sighting, Brian.” And I said, “Maybe not for you!” Oh, and that Kris Kerzman? Brilliant! (Oh, STAHP! – ed.)

Any guilty pleasures you’d like to share?

So many, too numerous to list. High concept TV: Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Breaking Bad. Teen TV: One Tree Hill, Teen Wolf, Buffy reruns, Gilmore Girls reruns; Twins baseball, Vikings football; rainbows, unicorns, long walks on the beach. I own a 1973 Triumph 750 that I ride when the opportunity affords itself.

And, when nobody is watching I write fiction and inhabit the life of the imagination, the inspection of the mysterious, the modern mythology, some optical illusions and paranoid delusions, multiple contusions, various confusions, fictional reality, and realistic fiction – with just enough history thrown in, real and imagined, to keep events in context.

Image: Brian Slator outside the Technology Incubator at NDSU’s Research and Technology Park, where his entrepreneurial venture, WoWiWee, has its offices. Photo by the author.

Originally posted here.

05/28/2020 College of Engineering

Brian Slator, professor of computer science, died May 1. He was 67.

Slator spent almost 26 years as a faculty member in the NDSU Department of Computer Science and was head of the department from 2007–17. During his time NDSU, he served as a mentor and friend to students and colleagues across many disciplines and was instrumental in several interdepartmental collaborations.

“He will be greatly missed by students, faculty and staff in our department and across the university,” said Ken Nygard, professor and chair of computer science. “Although Dr. Slator was a recognized expert in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing, he became interested in the scholarship of learning through the use of educational games. Leveraging many collaborations, he was the primary designer and developer of multi-user games deployed for teaching in many areas, including programming, geoscience, economics and cell biology. For these highly successful efforts he was awarded the Ernest L. Boyer International Award for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology, the only NDSU professor ever recognized in this way.”

Slator was instrumental in developing NDSU’s new Graduate Certificate Program in Computer Science Education intended to teach high school instructors to teach computer science.

“Lots of schools in North Dakota have key-boarding classes and Microsoft Office, but very few offer anything that resembles a computer science programming class,” Slator said in a December 2019 interview. “We are hoping that eventually every K-12 school in the state will have at least one certified computer science instructor because we believe computer fluency is that important.”

Slator was instrumental in the computer science department receiving the Advance FORWARD Department Award in 2013. The award is presented annually by the Commission on the Status of Women Faculty to recognize and reward significant department efforts to improve campus climate and gender equity within the faculty ranks.

Slator was raised in Minnesota and earned bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in 1983. He earned his doctorate in computer science from New Mexico State University in 1988 and was hired as an assistant professor at NDSU that same year. After serving as a research scientist at the Institute for the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University from 1990-96 he returned to the faculty at NDSU.

His research interests included artificial intelligence and educational media.

 

Originally posted here.

Slator, Brian Michael Mark 67, of Fargo, ND, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. Brian was born October 29, 1952, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Michael & Isabel (Spencer) Slator. The family lived in Winnipeg and Toronto before moving to Minneapolis, MN, where he graduated from Osseo High. Following high school, Brian worked for the railroad & traveled Europe with his best friend Dave Schmidt. He was late to go to college, attending the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. This is where he met his future wife, Rita Miller. They were married on January 7, 1984. Brian then went on to graduate school at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where he received his Doctorate in Computer Science. They moved to Fargo for 2 years where he worked at NDSU before moving to Evanston, IL. They enjoyed their time in Evanston but returned to Fargo in 1997. Over the past years, Brian took pride in his involvement with the Computer Science Dept. at North Dakota State University. He was head of the Dept. for 10 years and cherished the friendships he made with so many students and colleagues. He mentored students across disciplines, and was instrumental in several interdepartmental collaborations. Brian was an award-winning scientist and teacher, a world traveler, and author. Throughout his life he worked on the railroad, rode a motorcycle cross country, laid sod, delivered newspapers, played hockey, and made movies with his friends. He quit smoking 12 years ago, after 25 plus years, without telling anyone. He loved acting in school productions and supported his children in all their pursuits. He did NOT enjoy musical theater, but…. still supported his daughters no matter what. He went to hockey games with Adam, watched every production Audrey was in, took Megan to Tae Kwon Do competitions and was a Roadie for his wife’s Middle Eastern dance group. Brian was a terrible cook, but gladly and with much appreciation ate everything put before him. For breakfast, he even ate the first tries of his daughters’ cake baking efforts. He was smart, funny and generous. He was the best story teller, had a loud scary voice that could frighten any kids, but watched them and his grandchildren with unusual delight. Family was always the most important thing. And he always tried to do that right thing. Brian will be dearly missed by his wife, Rita; children, Adam (Sarah) Halverson Miller of Chicago, IL, Audrey (Mitch) Omar of Seattle, WA, and Megan (Hannah) Slator Hitchcock of Stone Mountain, GA; grandchildren, Nathaniel Good, Isabel, Lillian and Elaina Omar, and Edith Slator Hitchcock; mother, Isabel (Spencer) Slator; siblings, Nancy (Daniel Grubbs) Slator, Kevin (Peggy) Slator, Patrick (Shelly) Slator; several nieces, nephews and many, many friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Michael. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers we have a GO FUND ME PAGE, we will put it toward helping Women in Computer Science at NDSU. Rita would like to thank the Fargo Police department, The Fargo Fire Department and the Cass County Coroner’s office for their kindness and respect during this ordeal.


Star tribune comments:

Virginia Cain (May 13):

Brian was a great man.  I remember him in his youth & watching him play hockey.  His mother, Isabel, is a fun & fantastic friend forever.  She did a great job raising her family after Michale died.

Barb Quist (May 13):

Nancy, so sorry to hear about the passing of your brother.  Thinking of you at this difficult time.

This has been very difficult to compose.  It’s been almost a month since Brian passed and I don’t know how to go about describing the history between myself and a man whom I considered my friend, brother, father, colleague, peer, mentor, confidant, and advisor.  I’m just giving it my best shot, I guess.


In the beginning…

 

So, I don’t remember when I exactly met Brian, but I know he moved to Fargo for the start of the fall 1996 semester and that we both smoked at that time.  Surely, within maybe a few weeks, we would have run into each other outside the IACC.  At that time, it would likely have only been a “smoker’s nod” – just make eye contact, nod, and continue on with our smokes.  We worked on the same floor of the IACC as well, so we probably did a similar nod in the bathroom at some time.

At that time, we actually looked a bit similar – longer hair and a moustache.  I think these pics are from around then.

The oldest, most clear memory that I have of the both of us is around March of 1998.  I was just finishing up my bachelor’s degree that semester and I was coming out of the west entrance to the Memorial Union as he was walking in.  He said he had a question for me and asked me to join him with a smoke.  I actually had quit for a short time just then, but I still joined him off to the side of the entrance for a discussion.  I wish i remembered what we talked about.

Since I was just finishing up my bachelor’s degree around the time he got settled in back at NDSU, I didn’t take a class from him as an undergrad.  However, in the spring of 1997, since I had donated some time and effort into the “Fargo Flood Page,” I was invited by Don Schwert to the Friday MUD drinking group at the Trader and Trapper in Moorhead.  I don’t remember if Brian was there already or not when I joined, but I do remember him there at some point before the T&T closed.  Being the 2 “computer” guys, as well as smokers, made us bond right away.


MUD and Don’s Car Watch

 

In October 2001, Alan White e-mailed the Mud group saying he needed a lift to the MUD meeting.  I volunteered and at the end of the day, drove over to Steven’s Hall to pick him up.  I expected, and looked for, the Dean’s parking spot, thinking if Alan needed a lift, he wouldn’t be using the spot.  To my dismay, there was no such spot.  After Alan and I got to MUD, I relayed this fact to the others and Alan explained that Don Schwert, and others in Steven’s Hall, had issues with the previous Dean who would comment on the arrival or availability of various professors by looking for their car in the parking lot, causing a lot of ire.  During the conversation, somebody made the correlation between “Watching for Don’s Car” and the local car wash chain, “Don’s Car Wash”.  We immediately started coming up with ideas for a “Don’s Car Watch” ticket.  I, with the help of the MUD group (minus Don) came up with the design and then had something like 100 printed up on card stock at OfficeMax.  The Yogi Berra quote – “You can see a lot, just by watching.” was all Brian’s idea and wit.

Over the course of 7 to 8 months, we would randomly place one of these on Don’s car.  To throw Don off, we would give them to each other.  I even went so far as to put one on Brian’s blue bike every now and then.  This all culminated in the 2002 Pig Pickin’ (May 25th), leading up to which we were plastering Don’s car with these tickets.  Justin Helvey and I made up T-Shirts for everybody and near the end of the day, we all slipped away one-by-one, put on our shirts, and came out to surprise Don.  He claims he had no idea who was doing it, although he of course suspected Alan with the “Office of The Dean” on the ticket.


Pictured left to right: Mazz Marry, Nem Schlecht, Don Schwert, Justin Helvey, Aaron Bergstrom, Brian Slator, and Alan White.

We still have some of these “tickets” that we didn’t use and over the years I would be on campus occasionally, usually teaching for Governor’s School.  On more than one occasion, I would come out to my car and find a “Don’s Car Watch” ticket written out by Brian on my car.  I think I got Brian back once or twice, ticketing his bicycle.


Graduate School

During the same time as we were working on our months-long prank on Dr. Schwert, Brian talked to me in late December of 2001 about a graduate class, CS783, he was teaching the next semester.  In his usual roundabout way, he described it as just a bunch of students he’s worked with going over all his papers and publications and to try come up with some sort of book out of all of it.  At the time, I was a staff member at the NDSU Library and not enrolled in any classes at NDSU.  I said I’d think about it, but he pressured me and said things like “It’ll be easy.  No big deal.  Just go sign up for it.”

So, I go to the registrar’s office and say I want to sign up for this class.  They say I need to talk to the graduate school.  So I go upstairs in Ceres hall and talk to the grad school.  They tell me to fill out a form, pay $20, and then in a few days I can go *back* to the registrar and sign up for the class.  No big deal.  I do that and think I’m all set.  Little do I know, I’ve just signed up for a *FULL* graduate degree and Dr. Slator and Dr. Ngaard suddenly write letters of recommendation for me and all of the sudden – I’m a grad student.  So, what started out as “just sit in on this class” turned into a Master’s of Science in Computer Science (6 years later).

One note about that class… Brian had a mini-competition to see who could find the most errors in all of his papers.  Well, I’m a stickler for details, so every alignment issue, every space, every little detail was scrutinized and I won.  The prize: a green Batman cap.  Usually only given out to his graduate students.  I would like earn a *second* cap when I got my degree.  I still have both.  I’m wearing one right now as I type this.


Hanging out

 

In December 2005, we were hanging out in the Turf, both on our laptops doing whatever we were doing, when the thought struck me … what if I wanted to get married and I’m an atheist?  How does one go about that?  Do you have to go the courthouse?  Will they even let you in a church?  So, I hit the search engines and came across the “Universal Life Chuch.” For those unfamiliar, the ULC church will ordain anybody, even online, and have been doing so for decades, originally via mail.  So, I type in my name, click “Ordain Me” and I was ordained.  I started to explain this to Brian (after blessing him, since it was in my sudden power to do so) and we researched further and found that yes, this is completely legal.  He made me button up my shirt, tore up a napkin, and for years and years would call me “Reverend Schlecht”.  Since then, I have officiated four weddings.

On a rare occasion, Brian actually came to Duffy’s. One Saturday night, and I got this shot of the both of us.

There are many, many, pics from the various Pig Pickin’s.  Enough that I’ll work up an album of just pics from those events.  However, here’s one of the both of us, also from 2005 (actually, this would have been only one *week* after the above photo).

In 2006, the Turf started having a trivia night, when he, Paul Jarsky, and I would compete as the “BNP” team.  It was short-lived at the Turf, but those were great times.  I blogged Brian’s e-mail at the end of the run, so I still have his summary:

In what was announced as the last Bison Turf trivia contest, BNP again made a good early showing but faded down the stretch.

When the final question came around we were in 6th place (out of 9), 15 points back of the leader. We bet the full 20 points, got the question wrong, and went down in flames. The question: in what order did these appear, Wonder Bread, Ragu Sauce, Kraft Cheese Singles, Sweet and Low. That is the correct order. We had the last two reversed. The winner was 15 points ahead of us, got it right, and beat us by 55 points on the 40 point swing.

And thus we conclude the brief and sometimes glorious run of BNP at the Turf. Total swag: 6 beer glasses, some 2-for-1 movie rentals, some pitchers of beer, and quite a few Bison Bucks. One first place finish, one third place, some near misses. Not bad.

I salute you, comrades.


Thesis and Clubhouse

 

In the summer of 2006, I had taken a year off from graduate school (having completed my coursework and passed the comprehensive exam) and was having great difficulty finding a thesis advisor.  I won’t go into all the politics, but there were politics, something I didn’t want to have to deal with on top of coming up with a thesis topic and working on it.  We discussed this and he reluctantly agreed to be my thesis advisor.  Keep in mind that we hung out at MUD and at the Turf quite often.  However, with the goal in mind of getting my degree done, he agreed.  We also came up with a short system to clarify roles.  When the Batman hat came off, he was “Dr. Slator”.  When it went back on, he would be Brian again.  We did brainstorm an idea that summer, but after a few months of thinking and research, decided it was too difficult of a project (would have taken years to implement).  In the meantime, he had bought the “clubhouse” and myself, as well as Dan Reetz and others were spending a lot of time hanging out with Brian – and ripping up floor boards, installing doors, and whatever else needed working on.

On February 13th, 2007, Brian e-mailed me the following:

Nem,

I have been thinking about your thesis, and I think there is a better idea.

McClean, P., Johnson, C., Rogers, R., Daniels, L., Reber, J., Slator,
B., Terpstra, J., and White, A. (2005). “Molecular and Cellular
Biology Animations: Development and Impact on Student Learning”, Cell
Biology Education, 4(2), 169-179.

This is an e-journal, so you should be able to find it online.
Take a look at this paper, and imagine the online system it would
take to implement the testing described there.
This is a solid project, and more in your wheel-house than the other thing.

Kellie Erickson has a start, but her new job precludes her doing much more.

Below is a message from her, from last September

I am not saying you must do this, I am saying you probably want to do this.
We will discuss (tuesday night, after 9:30, in the Turf, right?)

Brian Slator

This did, indeed, turn into my thesis topic, “Factorial Experiment Testing System”.  I would tinker with the planning and design of the system for about half a year, until August 2007 when I left the NDSU Library and took 2 weeks off before starting my next job.  I got a good start during those 2 weeks, but then for the next 5 months, almost every evening and weekend I would be working on this project and paper, until it was completed and defended.

As a part of that thesis, immediately after the table of contents and abstract, is my “Acknowledgements” page, which starts with this paragraph:

I would like to thank my advisor and friend, Dr. Brian Slator, for his constant encouragement, knowledge and patience.  These many years he has been a guide, an inspiration, a mentor, and a confidant.  I couldn’t have done it without him.

In April 2008, after successfully defending my thesis, we headed to the Turf for a celebratory drink.  The somber look is because we were both very tired after a long day.

Official celebrations (post-commencement) were at the Old Chicago.  I remember that clearly, because the next day (in May) it snowed about an inch.


The Mighty Blue Ranger

 

In the fall of 2006, my parents decided to give me my dad’s old blue Ford Ranger pickup truck.  However, it had been in a shed on our farm for a few years and mice had infested it.  It REAKED of mouse urine.  Regardless, my dad cleaned it up as much as possible, hung about a dozen “pine tree” air fresheners on it and gave it to me.  The engine ran fine, even though it had 100K+ miles.  However, I had no place to put it.  At the time, I was living in an apartment with a single parking space.  Luckily, my sister lived in town and agreed to store it in her unused 3rd stall at her house, with the caveat she could use it when she wanted.

In May of 2008, Brian asked if he could borrow the truck for Clubhouse purposes.  I still have the e-mail when we went to go pick it up:

Brian,

We’ll need to swing by West Acres to pick up a key from my sister, 
but its waiting at the front desk, so whenever we go is cool.

She confirmed that the Nem-truck-mobile needs a new battery, so I’m 
guessing we have to grab the old one, find an auto-parts place, swap 
it for a new one, and we should be good to go.

Nem

So, we went drove to south Fargo, confirmed the battery was dead, swung over to Fleet Farm where Brian bought a new battery for the truck as payment for borrowing the truck (we argued about this, but I eventually relented).

I don’t think my sister ever saw that truck again.

I know I borrowed it *back* from Brian in July of that same year, but the transmission was so bad on it, I couldn’t get it above 45 MPH.   Shortly after this, Brian just went and got the transmission replaced.  Spending $500+ dollars on a truck he didn’t own.  After he told me about this, I suggested that the truck was now basically his and I think he cut me a check for $125 for the rest of the truck (assuming he owned the transmission still).

He drove that truck for years and years afterwards.


I love you, man.

 

In the winter of 2011, I left one job and started another the following January, taking me across town, making it much harder for me to make MUD meetings.  I did, briefly, come back to NDSU in 2013 and attended MUD for a few months at that time, but that fall went back to my previous job.  In 2015, I changed jobs yet again and by then, had really lost interest in MUD.  It was always a great group of people, but they’re all NDSU folks and interested in NDSU doings and goings-on, which didn’t interest me much.  I would still drop in on rare occasion.

In the fall of 2017, just to hang out with me and discuss some things, Brian shot me note and asked if I could meet up with him at Sidestreet downtown.  We had a few such meetings after that over the next couple years, usually just the 2 of us, but sometimes we got Don Schwert to join us (he lives just a couple blocks away, when he’s in town).  I loved those visits.  Just the “old crew”, talking about work and life.  On the last such visit, the last time I saw him it turns out, he and I walked across the street to the north where we were both parked.  He asked me how my new car was working out.  I asked how the “Blue Power Ranger” was running.  Those that know me, know I’m a hugger, so as we were about to part ways, I gave him a “come here” motion, gave him a big hug and as we pulled away, said to him “I love you, man.”  He stood there for a second, gave me a little smile, pointed at me and slightly chockingly just said “You know.”

And yes, I knew.

 

Hi Rita,

Audrey mentioned on my Facebook post that you might enjoy some of the many bingo pictures we’ve amassed in the last few years. Brian and Don insisted that we document every win so there are a lot. Brian and Paul both said their significant others didn’t want them bringing home any more of the junky bingo prizes so I was usually the beneficiary, although the one of Brian with a H&H shirt was titled “a new shirt for Rita”. My husband is very shy, and Monday bingo was one of the few social things I could get him to go to because he really enjoyed Brian’s company. We are really going to miss him.

 

These are just some short comments shared on the MUD group list.  Most of these folks wrote more on Facebook or in other e-mails.

 



Donald Schwert:

Brian passed away yesterday, unexpectedly, of congestive heart failure. He will be cremated, and a remembrance service held later.

This is as much as I know. Rita is contacting family. Please respect her privacy, and keep this off social media in the meantime.

I feel I’ve lost a great friend and a true buddy.

Don


Shawn Johnston:

Wow, not a message I expected to see.

Thank you for letting the group know.


Scott Wood:

That is terrible news. Thanks for letting us know.


Marry, Andrew J:

Nem told me last night

Like Don, I too have lost a great friend

I last talked to Brian in January when he came over to my house to talk about the Nationalization process.

To Quote Brian on this: “Erm, this seems like a lot of ‘busywork’, Dr. Marry. I will go home and think some more”


Emily Hagemeister:

This is such sad news. Brian was one of the most authentic, interesting, and brilliant people I’ve ever known. My most positive and healing thoughts go out to his loved ones. I feel privileged to have known him.


Dan Reetz:

This is awful news.

My heart goes out to Rita and the whole Slator family.
Condolences to the WWWIC Group and all of Brian’s friends and colleagues.

Hard to believe it’s been 17 years since the WWWIC group and Brian Slator took a chance on me and changed the course of my life in such a positive way.

Thanks everyone, special thanks to Brian Slator, a great man and a great friend.

Mr. Reetz*

*(as Slator would say)


David Wittrock:

This makes me very sad.  As a colleague, Brian was a bright, talented, and creative scientist and educator.  As a friend, he was an insightful, funny, honest, and caring person.  Over the last couple of years, Brian would occasionally join a few of us from Psychology for a beverage on Friday afternoons.  We granted him adjunct status, at least in our little group.  His loss, so soon after the loss of Jim, is a doubly-hard blow.  I will miss him.


Aaron Bergstrom:

Very sad news. Brian was a mentor and a friend.


Nem Schlecht:

From the first paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” sections of my thesis:

“I would like to thank my advisor and friend, Dr. Brian Slator, for his constant encouragement, knowledge and patience. These many years he has been a guide, an inspiration, a mentor, and a confidant. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

And from an online definition of “abide”:

(of a feeling or memory) continue without fading or being lost.

The Dude abides. He definitely abides.

Pretty sure we started to get to know each other better around the time of the flood in ’97 when I first started hanging out with the MUD group, so it’s been about 23 years. I’m not sure if we were friends right away, but I don’t have a memory of him when we weren’t friends. I will miss him greatly, but he will abide.


Phil McClean:

A big loss, yes, for everyone in the WWWIC world.  His excitement for educational gaming engaged many.  He went to bat for everyone to see their lives were enriched and rewarding.  Will be missed forever.


Dan Reetz:

Phil– went to bat for everyone is right. I would also say Brian was one of those rare characters where the more he opened up to you, the closer you looked, the more interesting he became, and the more you saw a tack sharp and compassionate dude trying to do the right thing. I particularly recall how he was always generous with authorship and credits (and I just saw Bernie’s note – yep).

Slator wrote a novel called Chapters. His bio from the book is illustrative:

Brian M. Slator was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The oldest of four, he broke a leg, had his tonsils out, and survived spinal meningitis, all before the age of five. He was raised in the Minneapolis area, educated in Catholic schools until the 8th grade, participated in track and field through high school, and was a hockey player until trying out for a high school play. He hitch-hiked through Europe, lived in London for a while, and hitch-hiked all over North America. After buying the first of a series of English motorcycles, he rode all over North America, including Sturgis for the Bicentennial . He worked various places through his 20s, attending the U. of M. in a desultory and part-time fashion, then got a job on the Soo Line Railroad as a linesman on a traveling crew living in a railroad car. After that he registered at the UW-L, where he met his future wife. He has remained married to the same woman since 1984, and participated in the raising of three children. He has owned the same motorcycle since 1973, which still starts on the first kick.


Bernhardt Eidukat:

I concur with Dan (change the 17 to about 23), and others, on how Brian recruited fellow travelers and changed their lives for the better. Don and Brian invited me to join the Planet X project and the rest was a wonderful wild ride. He was a great friend, always ready to help out with a professional or personal issue. He was prescient, scary smart, quick to share credit of people’s efforts, and a hoot to be around. Still can’t wrap my head around this. As Nem said, he will abide.

– Ernesto!*

*(as Slator would say)


Alan White:

And the Batman hat! Always the Batman hat!
I’ll have to search back through my Pig Pickin’ pictures. I’m sure there are some good ones.

Brian came to NC this past November and stayed with us in our new house for a few days. It reminded me of the old days back in the last century and in the early Oughts!
We’ll all miss you old friend.


Richard Frovarp

I am the proud owner of a Batman hat that he gave me after my defense.


Doug Snider:

I have been reading what folks have written here and am thankful for you all sharing. I have my own fond memories of Dr. Slator that blur together. Even though we have not kept close, I am saddened by the fact that he is gone.

Rita and family (and close friends and associates)

Again my heart goes out to you on your loss and as Audrey well put it, the world’s loss. I had some thoughts I’d like to share…

As I told Audrey, I think Dr. Slator is the best boss (alongside Dr. Schwert 🙂 that I’ve ever had. He had that uncanny gift of being able to explain exactly what his vision was or what he wanted you to achieve. Like he was telling one of his stories: “So you walk into the ship, and, and you push this button and on the right, right? And it opens like a tray of tools…” A scientist with a gift for art direction?!! And always so engaging. Quite rare in his field I would have to say. I’m lucky to be counted in the number of students he helped in his career. The opportunities he afforded us through his projects really were unparalleled. Salaried positions at a university as an undergrad…State of the art equipment and training (he once took us to Toronto to the Maya HQ for a week). He really wanted the best for his students. I have him to thank for where I am today; he wrote a glowing recommendation for me to the Smithsonian for a design internship in 2005 which brought me to Washington, DC, and I’ve been that region working as an artist ever since. For the past ten years he’s made it a point to get in touch whenever he’s been in the area, so we could meet up for dinner or a baseball game (another common interest :). There was always something quirky or memorable about our reunions. I regret I always made him walk too much in the city 😛 We went to a Twins vs. Orioles game in Baltimore, and I was too cheap to pay the big-ticket parking close by. But then he scalped tickets that had us sitting like one row behind first base. And we met this fan next to us who claimed to be a former Pirates player (this was before our Smartphone days where we would just Google his name to find out if he was telling the truth or not). Dr. Slator though remembered his name and looked it up later and it turned out to be a fib! Another time we went to a Nationals game, and he caught a t-shirt they were shooting into the crowd from the field. He gave it to me instead of keeping it for himself, and I still have it (even though it’s like an XXXL) And the last time I saw him in 2018, I took him to a Lebanese restaurant that turned out to double as a hookah bar, after he had quit smoking :X But they sequestered us in a sealed-off lobby and we had a lovely time. This is a picture from that night; fittingly the restaurant is called ‘Zikriyet’ which is Arabic for ‘memories.’

So many fond memories. He will be sorely missed.

Much love,

Shannon Tomac

Our hearts go out to Rita, the entire family, and friends of Brian. Don mentioned in a different thread meeting Brian in 1997. Shortly after, Don brought Brian over to the Geosciences Dept to brainstorm the intriguing “Planet X” project. They generously invited me to join and thus began a wonderful friendship and collaboration. Brian was among the most influential people in my life and career and I miss him daily.

It is an honor to have been considered part of his eclectic group – this photo of the going-away party for Lisa Daniels is just one instantiation of part of the whole network. Brian had such a breadth and depth of knowledge in disparate fields ranging from education theory to computer science to the knowledge domains of the projects – on top of popular culture, history, his particular hobbies, etc. I learned so much from him and the others he surrounded himself with, especially his great students and others who worked on his projects. His work ethic was inspiring but he always kept it fun. He was generous in crediting effort and supporting to the max students, staff and colleagues.

On the personal side, he was interested in your problem and wanted to help. A favorite memory of our family is when he learned of my daughter Liv’s obsession with My Little Pony, it didn’t take long for copies of Megan’s DVD’s to show up. Help with installing an air conditioner? No problem. Borrow the truck to help setup Liv’s graduation party? Sure, here are the keys.

The last email exchange we had was just a few weeks ago, about resurrecting instructional software the group had developed years ago, but would now be important for remote teaching due to COVID-19. What better resource to have than a virtual microscope (the MicroView project)? He was truly prescient. The last in-person time we spent was an evening at FBC shortly before the lockdown, where he told me he was living his best life.

Brian will be greatly missed – but the myriad good influences he had on so many will live on.

With love, also from Anna and Liv,

-Bernie

I was a junior at NDSU in 1999, just walking around the Computer Science department. Honestly, I don’t even remember why now. As I was walking by Dr. Slator’s office door, I saw a sign that said something along the lines of “Undergraduate researcher needed to build educational games”. I thought that was kind of interesting, so I (very nervously) went into his office and asked what it was about. I would have never dreamed that one single choice and offer would have led to working with him on more than half a dozen educational games for just short of two decades of my life. Because of his efforts to keep me intellectually and financially supported (through his many federal grants), I am now able to teach students of my own at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, MO.

I have so many other memories as well, from the fact that he was the first CS professor my parents and I met when we first toured NDSU, going to conferences with him, weekly meetings in the lab or at WoWiWe headquarters at the tech park, working on grants at the Turf, and many many more.

I’m going to close by referencing the picture that’s attached. Dr. Slator isn’t in it, but the two hats are symbolic of his fun and eclectic personality. I’m on the left, Guy Hokanson is on the right. The red hat is for people who finish their Ph.D. The green hat is for people who finish their Masters. I imagine he gave out dozens of green hats, two red ones, but that black Batman hat, and the incredible man who wore it, will always be missed.

– Otto

My deepest sympathies go out to Rita and to the family of Brian.

I first met Brian Slator one evening in 1997. He was presenting a seminar on “Dollar Bay”: his immersive, virtual village where a visitor would role-play and compete as a store owner. After the seminar, I introduced myself and we went out for a beer — the first of many (no, many!!!) meetings over beer that we would share.

In those early years of our acquaintance, Brian would work in the evenings at The Bison Turf, where he could access wireless and use his laptop throughout the evening. He and I would often meet there to talk about joint projects. Brian had *his* table at the extreme southwest corner of the Turf, and he would always sit facing northeast so as to both have eye contact with the servers and be able to view the Twins games. If I happened to show up early and seat myself at that table, the staff and regular customers would glare aghast — like, how dare you sit at “Dr. Slator’s” table? As soon as Brian walked in and give me his always-warm greeting of “Dr. Schwert”, the glares would diminish into evident relief.

While our conversations over the years would mostly center on projects, they would soon wander off onto other topics:

  • Brian’s desire to someday visit “Slator Lake” in remote Manitoba, named after an uncle who had died in WWII;
  • Brian’s exuberant and in-depth analyses of daily drama in “Mary Worth”, a truly pithy comic strip in The Forum;
  • His pride at engineering a solution to ice-damming on his roof;
  • Brian’s expounding on the best strategies for winning at BINGO (“Dr. Schwert, filling the corners is critical”);
  • His regrets at leaving all those brand new windows behind at his original “Clubhouse”;
  • And his excitement at launching an AirBnB business at his new “Clubhouse”.

When we traveled together to conferences, it was always an adventure. Brian would always select the lodging. Our first trip was to San Antonio, where he, Paul Juell, and I shared a room in a motel so ratty that even Days Inn had taken its name off it. And our next trip was to Orlando, where our hotel was also hosting a “Con-fur-ence”: a gathering of LGBTQ furries, dressed as animals. (Brian would later recall, “Hah!, Dr. Schwert! Remember that squirrel making out with the tiger!?!”).

This past year, I missed Brian’s trip to finally visit remote “Slator Lake”, but gloried in his excitement as he shared photos and tales of the event.

Brian was a prodigious writer of grants and papers. His proposals were often so embellished with lofty prose that we as co-authors had to work to convince him to tone it down a bit. But, in the end, Brian was central to bringing in millions of grant dollars to NDSU, which then led to the development of new projects and even a fun little company named “WoWiWe Instruction Co.”

Brian was author of two books: “Electric Worlds” (a book on his educational research) and “Chapters” (a novel, published in 2012). He was co-author on others.

Rita chose a former student, Otto Borchert, as one of the first people to be contacted about Brian’s death. Brian would have liked that, for him students always came first. Brian brought out skills and creativity of so many young people — in the sciences, humanities, and the arts. And his many projects involved K12 teachers and their students, not only regionally but nationally. Brian was fiercely loyal to his students and his staff, and all’s he expected back is that they be loyal to him.

I liked working with Brian. Even more, I just really liked being around him. With each encounter, I never knew what to expect. Each surprise would lead to another story (of his … of ours) to later be shared over a beer. I am so grateful to have known Brian. His passing has left a deep void in my life.

Donald P. Schwert

Date posted: May 10 at 2:13 PM

Rita here, Damn I wish this man were here with me today.

 



Gail Slator:

my heart is holding you right now, Rita. So sorry…I just cannot imagine what you must be feeling xo


Donna Fritzsche:

Our hearts go out to you. So glad I was able to know Brian and that I met you thru him at ILS happy hours! I was always so glad that you attended!


Donna Fritzsche:

Rita Slator knowing that you love music, I would like to point you to Sunday music at this station – its a very good mix of folk,
world, caring music. I find it warms my day


Maurine McCort:
And he would want to be with you.


Craig Stockwell:

I’m so sorry to hear of Brian passing, Rita. I got to know Brian through an IGERT grant we co-authored. I remember him having quick wit an amazing ability to craft witty acronyms. I most enjoyed seeing Brian with his Batman hat, it always made me smile. My heart goes out to you and your family. Craig Stockwell


Anna Tuohy Halligan:

Memories are made of this. X

Brian Michael Mark Slator, 67, of Fargo, ND, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. Brian was born October 29, 1952, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Michael and Isabel (Spencer) Slator. The family lived in Winnipeg and Toronto before moving to Minneapolis, MN, where he graduated from Osseo High. Following high school, Brian worked for the railroad & traveled Europe with his best friend Dave Schmidt. He was late to go to college, attending the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. This is where he met his future wife, Rita Miller. They were married on January 7, 1984. Brian then went on to graduate school at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where he received his Doctorate in Computer Science. They moved to Fargo for 2 years where he worked at NDSU before moving to Evanston, IL. They enjoyed their time in Evanston but returned to Fargo in 1997. Over the past years, Brian took pride in his involvement with the Computer Science Dept. at North Dakota State University. He was head of the Dept. for 10 years and cherished the friendships he made with so many students and colleagues. He mentored students across disciplines, and was instrumental in several interdepartmental collaborations

Brian was an award-winning scientist and teacher, a world traveler, and author. Throughout his life he worked on the railroad, rode a motorcycle cross country, laid sod, delivered newspapers, played hockey, and made movies with his friends. He quit smoking 12 years ago, after 25 plus years, without telling anyone. He loved acting in school productions and supported his children in all their pursuits. He did NOT enjoy musical theater, but…. still supported his daughters no matter what. He went to hockey games with Adam, watched every production Audrey was in, took Megan to Tae Kwon Do competitions and was a Roadie for his wife’s Middle Eastern dance group.

Brian was a terrible cook, but gladly and with much appreciation ate everything put before him. For breakfast, he even ate the first tries of his daughters’ cake baking efforts. He was smart, funny and generous. He was the best story teller, had a loud scary voice that could frighten any kids, but watched them and his grandchildren with surprising delight. Family was always the most important thing. And he always tried to do that right thing.

Brian will be dearly missed by his wife, Rita; children, Adam (Sarah) Halverson Miller of Chicago, IL, Audrey (Mitch) Omar of Seattle, WA, and Megan (Hannah) Slator Hitchcock of Stone Mountain, GA; grandchildren, Nathaniel Good, Isabel, Lillian and Elaina Omar, and Edith Slator Hitchcock; mother, Isabel (Spencer) Slator; siblings, Nancy (Daniel Grubbs) Slator, Kevin (Peggy) Slator, Patrick (Shelly) Slator; several nieces, nephews and many, many friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Michael.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers we have a GO FUND ME PAGE we will put it toward helping Women in Computer Science at NDSU.

Rita would like to thank the Fargo Police department, The Fargo Fire Department and the Cass County Coroner’s office for their kindness and respect during this ordeal.


Kim McVicar posted on 5/27/20

Dear Rita and Family. I was so saddened to hear that Brian had passed away. It is still hard to believe. I had the good fortune to work with Brian in a few different projects during my time at NDSU. Brian had a kind heart and supported students and colleagues in whatever way he could. He was brilliant and wickedly funny. He was creative and collaborative and always made people feel like a valued member of a team, no matter how small their contributions may have been. Like many who have shared their recollections, I am very glad to have known him. The world is better because he was here.


Mark E McCourt posted on 5/18/20

Au revoir, Dr. Slator (for some reason we always referred to each other using such honorifics). It was indeed a pleasure to have known and worked with you lo these many years. And our occasional meetings at the “faculty club” (aka the Bison Turf), where you had a reserved table and a plaque on the wall commemorating your VR learning research, are happy memories. I offer my my sincere condolences to your family who survive you. We will all miss you.


Jim Grier posted on 5/18/20

Brian and Rita have been two of my favorite persons at NDSU. We had some great times, including with Rita when she was in our department (Biological Sciences). The passing of Brian was surprising and very sad. Our hearts go out to Rita and the family.


Carol Steiner posted on 5/15/20

Audrey and Megan, I am sorry for your loss of your dad and for your children’s loss of their grandfather. I trust you will find comfort in your memories of your dad. I talked with your mom, but this is for Brian’s girls. This is a hard time to lose your dad. I am sorry you can’t be together with your mom.


Matti Kariluoma posted on 5/14/20

Brian has been my Mentor since 2010. I just took a trip down memory lane via my inbox. I’d forgotten how many project proposals he and our team had put together- I believe he had two to three educational iOS apps published. I was reminded of his “hard at work” photo series that he has revisited over the years. His philosophy towards work and life are instrumental in shaping how I’ve approached my career and education.


Robert (Bob) Pieri posted on 5/12/20

Brian was a great educator. For several years some of our ONR/NATURE students would work with Brian or his grad students. He had an positive impact on those young adults. I knew him from several groups we were in. I enjoyed his smile and his attitude toward thing, realistic but with an option for the future. I will miss seeing him and I feel for his extended family and for those on campus that will never get to know him.


Achintya Bezbaruah posted on 5/12/20

Brian will be missed. I had the unique opportunity to know Brian as an educator and collaborated with him on a project proposal at NDSU. He thinks differently and that is the beauty. A talented guy. He inspired many and will continue to inspire more. I am sure you will be happy wherever you are now, Brian, but you will be missed here at NDSU.


Sreekala Bajwa posted on 5/12/20

I am greatly saddened to hear about Brian’s passing. May he rest in piece. He has been a great colleague. My deepest condolences to Brian’s family.


Dinesh and Kalpana Katti posted on 5/12/20

We are so sorry for this sudden loss. We have known Dr. Skater for many years as an educator, scholar and a wonderful and kind person. May his soul Rest In Peace. Our deepest condolences for his family


Juan Li posted on 5/12/20

A great mentor and colleague. Dr. Slaotr will always be remembered. Rest In Pease.


Tom Riley posted on 5/11/20

Our condolences to the Slator family. Brian was a fine colleague, scholar and teacher. We will miss him greatly. While Brian was in a college other than mine, he influenced many of our students and collaborated with faculty in my college in a fashion that put NDSU on the map. He will be long remembered here and he will be missed greatly by us all. Our prayers are with you Rita, and the children. His passing has left a great hole in our universe. It will ever b e quite filled.


Linda Jalbert posted on 5/11/20

Rita, my thoughts & prayers are with you & your family. Cherish all your memories. Remember when he started at NDSU & I sold you the house across the street from us. Your little children would be playing on the porch.
Hugs


Craig Stockwell posted on 5/10/20

Dear Rita and family, I was so sorry to hear about Brian passing away. I often encountered Brian as I walked to my office, often wearing Batman hat, which always brightened my day. I miss him already, and I am so sorry for your loss. Craig


Janet R Fleming-Halmrast posted on 5/10/20

Thank you, Brian for all you did in getting me a “temporary” position at NDSU that somehow became permanent. Your kindness and clarity were characteristics that never waivered. You will be greatly missed. My sympathies to your wife, children and grandchildren.


Jim Deal posted on 5/10/20

A great scholar, administrator, and colleague, and a genuinely nice guy…he’ll definitely be missed.


Mark Strand posted on 5/10/20

Will miss our 5 min chats at the NDSU Wellness Center. RIP Brian


Pranav posted on 5/10/20

You will b missed Prof.Slator


Katherine Olson posted on 5/10/20

Brian will be missed by so many.


Vishwajeet Marathe posted on 5/9/20

Thank you Professor for your knowledge and hardwork !!


Audrey Omar posted on 5/9/20

You can find his GoFundMe page here: gf.me/u/x2cbmz All the money will go towards a scholarship for women in Computer Science at NDSU


Lisa Faulkner posted on 5/9/20

In memory of Brian M. Slator, Lisa Faulkner lit a candle


Wendy Reed posted on 5/9/20

My heart is with you all, Brian was such a kind, generous colleague. I loved his laugh and wonderful sense of humor and justice. Rest In Peace, Brian.


Addy posted on 5/9/20

Rest in peace Dr. Brian Slator. NDSU remembers you.


Sri posted on 5/9/20

We miss you Dr. Slator. My deepest condolences for your family. May your soul rest in peace.


Mark Clark posted on 5/9/20

Rita & Family, I’m sorry to hear of Brian’s passing. Brian was well respected and well liked across NDSU’s community. Jacob & Katie have fond memories of their time with you and getting to know Brian through you – we still have the Batman cap he gave Jacob all those years ago. We are so sad for your loss.


Ken Magel posted on 5/9/20

In memory of Brian M. Slator, Ken Magel lit a candle


Ken Magel posted on 5/9/20

Brian made my life richer. I feel poorer that he is no longer with us. He was a great colleague for most of three decades. I used to treasure our brief conversations at Fargo Brewing Company on Tuesday evenings.


Kevin McCaul posted on 5/9/20

Brian was a true renaissance man–a delightful conversationalist smart enough to persuade me about almost anything. Most importantly, he tried to support everyone as much as possible, especially in his role as department chair. He truly cared about doing the best for his “peeps” and the department. We will all miss him.


Melissa Selders-Ortez posted on 5/9/20

My deepest sympathy to your family. Brian was a such a good person. He will be missed at NSDU.


Anna Tuohy Halligan posted on 5/9/20

In memory of Brian M. Slator, Anna Tuohy Halligan lit a candle


Anna Tuohy Halligan posted on 5/9/20

Receive Brian’s soul oh Lord, and present him to our God most high. Heartfelt sympathy to Brian’s wife Rita, his children, grandchildren, his Mom, Kevin, Nancy and all his family. May his gentle soul Rest in Peace. Loved too much to be forgotten !


Katie Reindl posted on 5/8/20

Rita and family- I’m so sorry to hear about Brian’s passing. It was a joy to work with him on the NDSU VCell project. He was a passionate educator and creative scholar. He will be missed. Praying you find peace in your sadness. Katie


Paul Howell posted on 5/7/20

Students of NDSU present a memory candle.


Paul Howell posted on 5/7/20

From all the Students in the Engineering and Computer Science Departments that are currently taking classes from Professor Slator. You are an A+ educator and innovative mentor. Thank you. Rest in heavenly acres. 2020 Class NDSU


Arthur Olerud posted on 5/7/20

In memory of Brian M. Slator, Arthur Olerud lit a candle

Date posted: May 9 at 12:29 PM


Robert C. Rasmussen:

You guys look like your getting ready to head out to Woodstock! (smile)

Kevin Slator

My older brother, on the left, juuuust missed out. Osseo ’70 grad, or he probably would have been there!


Laura Hawdon Roessler:

So sorry Kevin. I remember Brian so well.

Kevin Slator:

Laura Hawdon Roessler Thanks. He was such a big part of our lives.


Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

I remember asking about woodstock, and he told me that in MN at the time it hadn’t seemed like such a big deal. He didn’t know anyone travelling all the way to N.Y. for it. And once I asked him if he had been a hippy, and he said, firmly, “I always had a job.” (crying laughter)

Nancy Slator:

Except when he took that cross-country motorcycle trip! And when he was bumming around Europe at 17, but then he paid for that with his after-school job at Farrell’s.


Laurie Norton:

I’m so sorry for your loss, Kevin.


Richard Fogal:

Sorry for your loss Kevin. Peace to you and your family


Patti Jensen:

Oh Kevin… so incredibly sorry for this huge loss!


Lori Rathburn:

What a great picture. Sympathy to you and your family Kevin


Brian Hawkins:

Sorry for your loss Kevin. Peace for you and yours.


Cori Lichtenberg:

Sending love.


Lori Champion French:

I’m sorry, Kevin.


Lynnae Solarz Sniker:

My condolences to you and your family.


Kris Zelinski McNeely:

So sorry to hear of your loss, Kevin. I hope dear memories bring you peace and comfort.


Lisa Ellram:

So sorry, Kevin. My good thoughts and sympathies to you and your family. Peace and comfort to all of you.


John Rooney:

Sorry, Kevin. Tough times.


Jonathan Carter:

I’m sorry for your loss, Kevin.


Terry Nixon Conn:

So sorry Kevin. (love)


Gretchen Ronsdotter:

So very sorry for your loss, Kevin. And you too, Patrick. Words just aren’t enough. (broken heart)


Ann Merrill:

Kevin- so very sorry to hear of the loss of your dear brother. Condolences to the entire family.


Beth Bailey:

I’m so sorry.


Sue Schabert:

I’m so sorry for you loss, Kevin.


Catherine Carey:

I’m so sorry you lost your brother, Kevin. May God bless you and your family during this sad time.


Linda Vincent Johnson:

So sorry for your loss.


Leon L. Rankin:

So sorry to hear about Brian. My deepest condolences to you and your family.


Laura Anderson Gjestvang:

We are praying for comfort and peace as you reminisce on the memories of your brother.


Terry Jandro:

Terry Jandro What a great picture


Maggie Simcoe Barbur:

I am so very sorry for your loss Kevin! Sounds like a very accomplished loving man. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Deepest sympathies to you and your family (sad) (prayers)

Date posted: May 9 at 12:28 PM


Nancy Slator College:

graduation? He borders on distinguished-looking.

Kevin Slator:

I believe so.

Kay Kirscht:

Nancy Slator I’m so sorry – blasted heart trouble, and what a thief it is. My Condolences.


Laura Hawdon Roessler:

Warm eyes


Tim Cook:

Red blooded Canuck. So sorry for your loss. What happened to him, if I might ask?

Nancy Slator:

Sudden heart failure last weekend. 🙁

Tim Cook:

Thanks Nancy. Wow. You guys wrap yourselves up in memories of him.


Ginny Delisi:

I so sorry for your loss.


Mary Kay Stinar:

Good looking Irishman! Taken too soon. (sad)


Kevin Slator:

We both did the ‘stache at different times. (smile)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

I remember not being able to tell your pictures apart when I was little.


Mary O’Leary:

I’m sorry, Slator family.


Caitlin Slator:

Wow, I really see how much you guys look alike in this photo!


Brian Ledin:

Very sorry Kevin. Peace to you and family.


Cindi Rose:

My condolences!


Donna Swanson:

Oh Kevin Slator I am so sorry.


Paul Stinar:

Sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and your family


Cheryl Dammar Morgan:

So sorry for your loss.


Marsha Weidner:

Prayers that God gives you peace during this time of loss. My condolences Kevin.


Heidi Thayer:

I’m so very sorry Kevin.


Terri Momsen:

So very sorry for your loss, Kevin. Losing a sibling stinks.

Kevin Slator:

I think about your sister sometimes when I’m on that area of Hwy 61. (crying)


Linda Cherek:

So sorry to hear of your loss , Kevin. Peace and blessings in the days ahead.


Sarah Piotraschke:

Peace and love to you at this time of heartache, Kevin.


Gail Polk-Pearson:

So sorry for the loss of your brother Kevin. May your memories provide you comfort and the feeling of peace in the days ahead. You certainly resemble him. Sending air hugs!


Katherine McDowall:

Oh gosh I am so sorry Kevin. 🙁 Prayers for all.


Gianna Marie Haley:

Sorry for your loss (broken heart)


Terry Nixon Conn:

I’m so sorry to hear. Hugs. (love)


Frank S Poitra:

Prayers for the entire family


Kelsey Cariveau:

I’m so sorry for your loss, Kevin and family. (love)


Lynn Arcand:

I am sorry for your loss. May you know God’s peace and comfort.


Kim OConnell Thomas:

Such sad news Kevin.Prayers of comfort…God bless.


Mary Sutton Andrews:

I am sorry for your loss, Kevin.


Sara Doherty Harrison:

Sorry for your loss, Kevin and family. (love)


Lesley Klis Snyder:

So sorry for your loss, Kevin. Peace to you and family.


Lori Scheller:

So sorry for your loss!


Karla Peterson Simonson:

So, so sorry, Kevin.


Larry Capecchi:

Love and prayers to you and your family during this time of sorrow.


Carol Bradbury:

So sorry (prayers)


Little Teena:

So sorry, Kevin. Peace to you and your family. (broken heart)


Wendy Olson:

Holding you and your family in the Light.


Megan Prebelich Engelhardt:

Kevin, I am so sorry. Sending good thoughts and prayers to you and your family.


Jacki Betz:

So sorry for your loss Kevin. Prayers to you and your family.


Mike Slator:

Love you, Dad.


Marty Cole:

Sorry I’m slow to react lately. So very sorry for your loss. Our prayers to you, Peggy and the whole clan.

Date posted: May 7 at 9:34 PM


Theresa Penner:

So sorry to hear about Brian. My thoughts are with the family (love)

Brad McCormick:

What happened to Brian?

Theresa Penner:
Brad McCormick passed away suddenly on Saturday-congestive heart failure (crying)

Brad McCormick:

oh dear God. That breaks my heart. We went to HighSchool together and we’re in school plays together and we’ve had some Epic battles on Facebook. But through all of it, I respected him deeply. I am so so sorry to hear this. My prayers and condolences to all of his family and friends. Godspeed Brian. Rest in peace my old friend.


Dale Muellerleile:

RIP Doc.


Carole Huber:

My heart hurt when I heard the news that Brian had past. He was a great Boss and friend to me. My prayers goes out to the family. RIP (prayers)


Janet Gauvin Muscala:

So sorry to hear of the passing of Brian. Knew him in high school. Great sense of humor. My prayers go out to his family.


Carol Cwiak:

My condolences to you and your family Rita. (love)


Anna Tuohy Halligan:

So sorry for your loss Nancy, you were lucky to have him as a brother. X

Nancy Slator:

I was.


Jean Luft:

My condolences to the whole Slator Family. Sending hugs and prayers your way.


Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Nancy Slator, my mom loves this picture! Do you by any chance have a similar one, but with his hat on? Thank you!

Nancy Slator:

Honestly I found this online in the course of looking for something else. I’ll see what I’ve got.


Dale Muellerleile:

Fall of 2015. Everyone has a souvenir from my trip to China. With Dave Schmidt and Barry Link


Lisa Rilling-Frandsen:

I am so sorry for your loss Rita!!!! Sending prayers for you and your family!!!

Date posted: May 8 at 12:12 PM

I met Brian in 2001, but I had been hearing about him since childhood, as I was the teenage sidekick of his lifelong friend Dave.

Brian impacted me more than I can say.

I remember when Brian one day gave me a green batman cap, I felt like I was being given junior league AHC status. I wore everyday for years!

Brian was one of the greatest men I ever knew. Clever, kind, and just so, so interesting. His being gone is a true loss to humanity.

Date posted: May 8 at 10:05 AM

I was luck enough to work for Brian at ILS with a lot of other amazing people posting here. Through casual conversations, we discovered that he was studying upstairs at NMSU while I was getting my undergrad downstairs. We knew some of the same people in the department. I worked for Brian for almost two years and some 28 years later, Brian still remains a source of quiet strength and leadership for me. He lead humanly and he was a kind and empathetic soul. I have nothing but the fondest and warmest memories of him.

Rita, I am so very sorry for your loss and that of your daughters.

Date posted: May 8 at 9:36 AM

I worked with Brian in the 90s at ILS / Northwestern. I once asked him when the best time would be for my vacation that summer (as we had a big project due in fall). He stopped me and told me “THIS is America. YOU decide when YOU want to go on vacation and then you tell me.”

He always attended happy hour and would sometimes go out to bars in Chicago afterwards. I always enjoyed his quick sense of humor and perspective.

Facebook post by Audrey Ruth Slator Omar, May 8th, 2020:
(Copied by request of Rita Slator)

My father, Brian Slator, died suddenly and quickly from congestive heart failure on Friday, May 1st. He was 67, living with my Mom (Rita Slator) in Fargo, ND.

He was a computer science professor at NDSU, an award winning scientist and teacher, a world traveler, an author. He had a motorcycle, had worked on the railroad, made movies, had been an English major, and was a theater fan.

He was so so smart, and funny, and generous. He hated musical theater, but still saw every production I was ever in. He could not cook, but he would eat whatever was served to him with appreciation. He used to eat the cakes I baked for breakfast. He had a really scary yelling voice, and a temper. He loved and was fascinated by his grandchildren. He quit smoking 12 years ago without telling anyone. He supported me and loved his family unequivocally.

He could be reserved with Megan and I, so we are desperate to hear from his friends, both old and new.

Those of you who know what the world lost, please share your thoughts and memories with us.

We will hold a service when it is safer for everyone to travel.



Claire McNellan:

Audrey, I am so sorry for your loss. It is such a strange time to be mourning and so hard not to be able to be surrounded by family and friends. I hope you take the time you need to grieve. Sending you love and strength!


Amanda Hughley:

Audrey, I am so incredibly sad to hear this. Sending love and comfort to you, Megan, and your entire family.


Matthew Kruse:

My sincere condolences, Audrey Ruth Slator Omar.


Rolf Fiebiger:

So sorry to hear that, Audrey.


Michele Gehrig:

So sorry for your loss Audrey Ruth Slator Omar


JS Reynolds:

I am so sorry Audrey Ruth Slator Omar .


Matt Hodler:

I am sorry, Audrey.


Laurie Sweet:

I’m so sorry Audrey. We just had a loss in our family this weekend. I feel your pain. May his memory be a comfort.


Fatema Mookhtiar Charawala:

I am so sorry for your Audrey.


Michele Cadigan:

I’m so sorry for your loss Audrey, if you need anything, I’m here


Michael J Ahlibobwa:

I’m so sorry, Audrey. What an absolute tragedy.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thank you (love)


Veronica Rene:

I’m so sorry, Audrey! Much love to you all


Joy Candido:

Oh, Audrey! I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope you get to be close with your family soon (love)


Lesley Welsh Marion:

Oh Audrey, thank you for sharing about your father. I am so sorry for your sudden loss. My wish for you is that many who knew him will share those stories with you and your family. May those memories sustain you in the coming days… Sending all my love to you.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

thank you, Lesley


Reid Messerschmidt:

I’m sorry to head this, Audrey. I think I only met him once and he seemed a little weird and scary (though that’s probably because I was a kid that wanted to kiss his daughter), and those are two very good things to be. And he was the father of a damn fine family which is the best thing to be.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thanks, Reid. This is exactly the stuff that soothes my heart.


Marie Basile McDaniel:

I’m so sorry Audrey. Hugs to you, and your family.


Dayna Del Val:

Dr Slator was a longtime supporter of The Arts Partnership. When he first started giving, I had a conversation with him about it. He said, “I read a letter that dismissed the arts in the community, and that ticked me off. So I’m sending support your way.” He never wavered on that. Dr Slator was a quiet and excellent supporter of so much. And that doesn’t begin to discuss how supportive he was of me personally. I will miss him. I hope you know how proud of you he always was.


Monica Jo Ptacek:

I’m so sorry Audrey!


Austin Regan:

I’m so sorry to hear this Audrey. Sending love (love)


Marie DiZazzo Wilson:

I’m so sorry to hear this, Audrey. Sending you – and your family – our love.


Jean Luft:

I”m so sorry for your family’s loss. I remember your dad from when you lived in Evanston. He helped me a few times with some computer issues. You wrote a beautiful tribute to him. Please give my love to your mom and the rest of your family.


Sarah Blake Shore:

Shore Oh Audrey! I’m so sorry for your loss and hope you and your family can feel comfort and love at this time (broken hearts)


Jace Brownlee:

So sorry for your loss.


John Meyers:

Terribly sorry to hear this. My best to you and your family.


Megan Hunter:

Audrey, I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. Sending you and your family all my love. You’re very much in my thoughts. If there is anything at all that I can do, please just say. I’m here. (love)


Ann Burnett:

I can’t believe it. He was fun, unconventional, and an overall great person. I’m so sorry.


Kara GS:

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. You have some wonderful memories that you have shared here. I hope they bring you peace as you grieve. Hugs to you and your family!


Meghan Jefts:

I’m so sorry to hear this news (love)


Donna Lancianese:

My heartfelt condolences


Shelly Betts:

Oh Audrey, I’m so sorry. Sending your family lots of love. I have lots of fond memories of your dad. (love)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thank you! I would love to hear them when you have a moment 🙂

Shelly Betts:

I remember playing at your house on Dodge and we were making up dances in your living room, I think? Your dad would walk through from time to time and smile and nod, not necessarily approvingly or disapprovingly… Just a quiet, solid recognition of our foolishness. (crying laugh) That was my sense of who he was– solid and caring. (love)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Yes, definitely.


Karinne ‘Murphy’ Davidson:

Oh Audrey. I am so terribly sorry to read this news. My heart is breaking for you and your family. I know he will continue to live through the incredible gifts and talents he passed on to you. I’m so sorry.


Christy Lennington-Asch:

I’m so sorry, Audrey! I know you and your family will always miss him and he will have a special place in your heart and memory.


Rachel Jeffrey:

So sorry for your loss. I see a lot of Izzy in his sparkling eyes and sweet smile.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar
yes!! Me too!!


Kelly Mills:

Sorry for your loss Audrey. (crying)


Katie Phillips:

Oh Audrey, I’m so sorry. Sending so much love to you and your family (love)


Suzy Boseck:

Sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your family (love)


Ashley Jo:

I am so very sorry to hear this, Audrey. No doubt your dad was an amazing human being to have helped you become the beauty and the wonder that you are. He will certainly live on through love and laughter within your mom, sister, children and close family and friends. Sending you a huge hug (love) Take care of yourself.


Selene Poulsen:

My heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry for your loss (crying)


Christina Johnson:

It might be a strange thing to have enjoyed, but I always got a (very quiet, mostly in my head if I could help it (wink)) chuckle when he and Phil would go back and forth during a work meeting, arguing different sides of whatever was being discussed about VCell. They were both very articulate and generally played nice, but also both very invested in what they thought would be best. I was always entertained to see what the outcome would be. Not being a biology guy, he always brought a different outlook on everything that was being taught, and I think that really paid off over the years. And he was just fun to work with on that project. He was funny, and excited about it, and even when it ended, I jumped at any request I got from him to help out with working on other things. (love)


David Biagas Jr:

We’re so sorry to hear this Audrey…. you both look just like him….


Kristin Wiley:

I’m so sorry for your loss


Sue Ulintz Mosovich:

I’m so sorry, Audrey. My heart breaks for you, especially during this time when you can’t be there. So much to you and your family. (love)


Leah Koop Lichy:

Audrey, I am so deeply sorry for your loss! (praying)


Becca Seston Schillaci:

I love you Audrey. I’m so sorry your dad is gone from our world. (crying)


Gennifer Leigh:

So sorry for your loss (praying)(love)


Lacy Onstad:

I’m so so sorry Audrey! He is a great man!!!! Sending my love! (much love)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

did you know him from the turf?

Lacy Onstad:

yes I did. Always such a pleasure to talk to! I remember he used to always put money in our stockings during the holidays! Always so so nice!!!


Emily Hilleren:

I am so sorry, Audrey. He sounds like he was a good man who will be missed.


Lau Calvimonte:

Oh so sorry for your loss Audrey… sending love to your family (much love)


Lauren Henderson:

I am so sorry for your loss.


Lindsay Bock:

I’m so sorry Audrey! Thinking about you and your family (much love)


Laura Wehri:

Oh Audrey. I’m so sorry to hear this. Dr. Slator was a wonderful man. It was great having conversations with him when I worked at the turf. He will be missed. Prayers to you and your family. (love)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

I’d love to hear more!!

Laura Wehri:

He always sat in our corner booth. We pretty much designated that booth (which was actually a table) for him. I remember when I would train someone new, I would say that’s booth 5 you can remember it because that’s where Dr Slater sits. He will drink pints of beer instead of getting a big 32 oz but we always charged him for the big ones and gave him two pints so it was cheaper. Natalie Deutsch actually drew him a reserved sign for Bison games that we used so he always had a spot. He always had a tidbit of information to pass along. Most of the time he had his ear buds in working on his computer bmand would give us a friendly nod when wed bring him a fresh beverage. But once in awhile hed take them out to share a new piece of random info that hed found out or thought we should know. Always salted his napkin so his beer glass wouldnt stick. 🙂 He was enjoyed as a person by all who worked and patronized there. Cheers Dr Slator. I’ll send a pint to B5 for you. (beer)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

thank you!

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

I only tracked him down once at the turf after I turned 21, and he was not thrilled to see me. (crying laughter) It was his sanctuary in a lot of ways, so I’m so glad he was appreciated.

Laura Wehri:

he probably saw me drunk more times than I’d like to admit. I mean if I wasnt working I was drinking. He was very much appreciated and well taken care of by all the staff. (love)

Teresa Riggs Foushee:

Peace love and strength to you, Audrey, on the passing of your AWESOME Dad. He was one of my NDSU cs professors in the ’80’s Treasuring memory of alum-visit BisonTurf meet-up with Dr. Brian Slator.


Samuel L. Krauth:

My heart is with you. I’m so sorry, Audrey. (much love)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

thank you, Sam


Morgan Early:

So sorry Audrey Ruth Slator Omar. Sending you lots of love.


Amber Bernhardt:

Oh I’m so sorry, Audrey, Megan and Rita. My love to all of your families. Hugs to you.


Soriah Anvary Nourani:

This is so hard. Sending you warm thoughts during this time.


Cole Davidson:

Oh Audrey. I’m really sorry to hear about your dad. I never had much interaction with him, but will always remember the guy in the batman cap on campus. Take care. (much love)

Ann Burnett:

The backwards Batman cap.


Shane Drew Soboroff:

Very sorry to hear this, we’re thinking of you and your family!


Jessica Vaughan-Jensen:

I’m so sorry for your loss.


Kathleen Turley Cox:

Audrey, it was wonderful to read your tribute to your Dad, he absolutely adored his family! I have been at a loss for words because in my mind he was bigger than life in so many ways. He always patiently listened to me explain something to him with a 1,000 words when what he really wanted was more like 5. (smile) He could occasionally be hard on the people that worked for him (and not unfairly) but ALWAYS ended with kindness. He was so incredibly kind and generous. I feel so lucky to have worked with him, and will miss drinking beer with him at the Fargo Brewing Co. Sending love to you, your Mom, and whole family. (love)


Cathy Hauge:

I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. Hugs to you and your family!


Alison Bianchi:

My deepest condolences, Audrey.


Kevin Bauer:

I’m sorry for your loss. I knew your dad. He was my professor. He had a great sense of humor and was kind to everyone in the department.


Beverly Dennis:

I’m sorry for the loss of your brother. You are all in my thoughts and prayers!


Crystal Cossette Knight:

Knight Audrey, I am so, so sorry to hear this. Hugs and love to you and your family.


Matthew Bakko:

I’m so so sorry. So much love to you and your family. Love you forever

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

love you, too


Anthony Paik:

My deepest condolences, Audrey. So sorry.


William Charles Lies:

I never knew your dad was ‘the professor’. I’m so sorry. He was always nice when we chatted.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

where did you chat?

William Charles Lies:

at the turf. Unless I’m thinking of someone else. (frown)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

nope, that was definitely him. Would love to hear more!


Daniela Volo Nunes:

So sorry, hugs to you and your family.


Carly Wicks:

Audrey I am so so sorry! Love to you and your family.


William R. Balsley:

My sincere condolences. It sucks. <3


Tristan White:

Audrey, we were so sad to hear this news. Your dad came through North Carolina and stayed with my parents for a few days last fall. Rachel and I brought the girls out for dinner and Nora and Audrey spent the night running around the house and talking his ear off while he watched football. So sorry for your loss and the extra pain of not being able to come together in this weird and scary time.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

he loved that trip, and we talked a lot about it. He loved the Whites.

Tristan White:

He definitely had a great time telling stories and talking while he was here from what Alan White has said!


Jamie Sanchagrin:

Audrey, we are so very sorry for your loss. Thinking of you all.


Barbara Koop:

Audrey, I can’t believe this sadness has come upon your family. I hope you all experience some solace and support for as long as you need it.


April Graves:

I’m so sorry for your loss love and prayers to you and your family


Chien-ju Lin:

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope the good memories will bring you enough comfort.


Amber ‘Ray’ Mattson:

I am so sorry Audrey… (frown)


Marion Flynn:

I am so sorry for this loss, dear one. Holding you and your family in my heart –


Shannon Hessburg:

I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family.
(love)


Amy Barrett Small:

I am very sorry Audrey.


JoDe Person:

I’m so sorry for your loss! The world lost a good one!


Lynette Seminole:

Hugs, hugs, hugs; there are no words. We were family. I always enjoyed being around him. My last visit with him was playing trivia with him at the Fargo Brewery. He knew the answers! Such a loss. I’m so sorry we can’t be together to mourn.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thank you, Lynette


Laura Elise:

So sorry for you loss. Sending love to you and your family (love)


Rachel Lowery:

I’m so sorry for your loss! Prayers to you and your family.


Heidi King Purvis:

I’m so sorry (crying)


Katy Alter:

No time is a good time to lose someone of course but right now is particularly difficult… I hope you can find solace in others who knew him well. (love)


Heather Pavlovic:

I’m so sorry for your loss, Audrey. I will be praying for you and your family. (much love)


Bjorn Pederson:

sorry to hear this. lost my dad this year too, its tough. hang in there


Jerome Nelson:

I’m so sorry Audrey- Those are some lovely thoughts/ memories you shared and I hope you will receive so many more to help you through this time.


Kyle Shaffer:

So sorry for you and your family’s loss. Hoping you are able to celebrate his life during such a tough time

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thank you, Kyle


Alicia Crone:

So sorry for your loss (love)


Farah Nadeem:

I’m so sorry for your loss


Aaron Levy:

Sending Andrea’s and my love to you and your family, so sorry to hear, Audrey

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thanks, Aaron (love)


Marcy Hilleren:

I’m so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you all.


Hilary Fussell Sisco:

I am so sorry for your loss.


Bryce Livingston:

He will be greatly missed! Sorry for your loss!


Matthew A Andersson:

This is such sad news. It sounds like he will live on through many people. Thinking of your family – what a great loss.


Lori Horvik:

So sorry. Wishing peace to you and your family.


Valerie Bornemann:

I’m very sorry for your loss.


Ramin Jabbarli:

Audrey, I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. My thoughts are with you.


Sonia Singhvi:

So sorry to hear of the passing of your father. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.


Christi Boscarino Elligers:

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar, I’m so so sorry to hear. You and your family are in our thoughts.


Janani Gopalan:

So sorry for your loss, Audrey. Thinking of you and your family during this very difficult time.


Kristin Bradbury:

I’m so sorry, Audrey. My thoughts are with you (love)


Kylie Beard:

I’m so sorry, Audrey, Megan, and Ruth. I remember him from when we were younger. What an interesting life he led.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thanks, Kylie. That is a comfort right now. My dad wasn’t waiting to live life.

Kylie Beard:

Such a character, and a something to strive for. What a great idea for the scholarship, by the way!


Denyce Grabe McDonald:

So sorry for your loss Audrey, hugs to you and your family.


Caitlin Coghlan Brosseau:

I’m so sorry Audrey. Please know I’m thinking of you and your family. FWIW, I remember you to be a wonderful, kind person – that is surely a credit to all of your father’s hard work and love. (love)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thank you, Caitlin. I really appreciate it!!


Cheryl Troxel:

Oh, Audrey…. I’m so sad to hear this. We lost my dad 8 years ago. Losing a parent is so hard. I’ll be holding you in my heart…


Emily Hagemeister:

I’m so sorry for your loss, Audrey. He was a presence like none other and made such a remarkable impact. Sending hugs and healing thoughts to all of you.


Katie Croce:

So sorry for your loss! My thoughts are with you all!


Pamela Chabora:

I am so very sorry Audrey Ruth Slator Omar…you are in my prayers xxoo


Kristen Brennan:

I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending you healing thoughts. (much love)


Miranda Wilson:

I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending loving, peaceful, and kind thoughts to you and your whole family! What a loss… (sad)


Robin Grotte:

So sorry to hear this Audrey, take care during this time! (love) Looks like you have so many wonderful memories to remember your dad by.


Rooth Varland:

I’m so sorry. Such a shock. I saw him at provost’s meetings way back when. If we talked it was about you and Megan. He was a proud father.


Jay Taylor:

So sorry, Audrey.


Sean Dillon:

So much love to you and your family, Audrey. What a terribly hard thing.


Davida Wheeler:

Oh honey, I’m so so sorry. Wrapping my arms around you from afar. Love you so much


Katie Seston Burns:

I love you Audrey (much love)


Angela Mathers:

I’m so sorry. Sending peace to you.


Joshua Boschee:

I am so sorry, Audrey Ruth Slator Omar! I enjoyed the visits your dad and I had at the Turf. He’d often be working at a table in the corner, while shenanigans and ensued around him. Sending positive thoughts your and your family’s way.


Carol Spencer:

We didn’t see each other all that much, us in California and them in Minnesota. I think the first time I met Brian I was 12 or 13 and he had just traveled across the country ala Easy Rider on a chopper style motorcycle. He had longer hair, a face that had been burnt by the sun as he rode through the Mojave (in July) and he convinced my dad to let me go for a ride on the back of his motorcycle.

Thought he was awesome then…

Nancy Slator:

You saw the authentic Brian then. 🙂


Anne Ballinger:

So sorry, Audrey. I remember meeting your dad at North High and Trollwood events. He was reserved, but always very friendly and so very proud of you and Megan. He will be missed.


Katie Gruchalla Russart:

I am so sorry for you loss, Audrey. Hugs to you and your family.


Robert Brantseg:

So sorry for your loss, Audrey. I got to work with your dad a little bit during a summer job at NDSU. He was smart and funny and always fun to be around. Sending good thoughts to you.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thank you, Rob! I’m realizing that he had more contact with people that I knew from other places than I realized! It helps a lot to know how many people he positively affected.

Robert Brantseg:

Robert Brantseg He really did. I still remember a few of his quips and bits of wisdom. 🙂

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

I’d love to hear/ read anything you’d like to share!

Robert Brantseg:

Well one thing that really struck me was that despite being a computer expert his approach was always very common sense. One time we were in a meeting and people were debating back and forth for what seemed like a very long time about how to speed up some process that was slowing down the software. Finally he was like “just put in a loading screen, people will wait *forever* as long as they know it’s not crashing”. He realized it was a user expectation problem more than a software problem. It’s a small detail I guess, but I was really impressed by how insightful his solution was. It was also pretty funny. 🙂


Alicia Maher Lakomski:

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar I am so so sorry to hear this! I am keeping your Dad and all if you in my prayers! Sending you lots of Love-Hugs-and Prayers (much love) (prayers)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Thank you, Alicia


Annie Guter:

OH my, I am so sorry for your loss, too young, too soon, sending lots of prayers for everyone.


Carol Frueh Russo:

I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Sending lots of love.


Leigh Skomolo-Porterfield:

Audrey, my heart breaks for you. Please know that we are praying for you and your family (love).


Toby Mulvihill:

I’m so sorry for the loss.


Pebbles Boe Ensrud:

I’m so very sorry for your loss, Audrey. I will be thinking and praying for you and your family during this difficult time.


Kim Jablonski:

So sorry Audrey (love)


Lilly Schultz:

Sorry to hear that , I know you all will miss him .


Stephanie Esposito-Bartocetti:

Sending you hugs, I’m so sorry xo


Gerry Tuohy:

Rest In Peace Brian. Sincerest condolences to all Brian’s family and friends.


Joyce E. Craig:

I’m so sorry for your loss. After reading your tribute, the people who knew him were very fortunate. Sending hugs to all of you.


Juandalyn Burke:

So sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Sending you and your family so much peace and love. And what a beautiful tribute you wrote for him.

Facebook post by Rita Slator on behalf of Brian Slator, May 8th, 2020:
(Copied by request of Rita Slator)

 

So, This is Rita Slator, Brian’s wife. If all/some/one of his facebook friends would like to tell me a thing or two about your relationship or our thoughts…. I would love to hear them. At this time we can not have any kind of a service for him and I know hearing your stories, even just your condolences would mean so much to me and his children. Thanks for your thoughts and time.

Rita Slator



Terry Jandro:

Brian and his family were are next door neighbors growing up in Brooklyn Center. I am so very sorry to hear of his passing.


Bob Kaeding:

Oh no. So sorry to hear about Brian. My first real job was at ILS at Northwestern University where he was one of the lab heads. Everyone who worked there thought Brian was great to work with. He was patient and human. He was more interested in developing the people who worked for him than in proving how smart he is. Years later, other ILSers would remark about how much they learned from him – not just the technical stuff but also how to collaborate and how to lead people in a small team.


Sheila Tuohy-Fitzgerald:

Our grandmothers were sisters from Tipperary, Ireland. Mine stayed, Brian’s emigrated to Manitoba. We grew up on opposite sides of the world. We eventually met – for one day in 2009 – when Brian and Rita came to
Australia to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. I wish I’d met him more often. He was a very interesting man and a great conversationalist. May you rest in the arms of the Angels, Brian. Walk slowly down the Heavenly Road and we’ll catch up with you later. (blowing kiss)

 

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

please send these pictures to my mom!!

Diane Slator:

those are great photos Sheila


Roxanne Schmidt:

I often visited with your family and Brian always took the time to talk with me and often joined us in whatever activities we had planned. I will miss him. I’m so sorry for your loss. (prayers and crying) I wish there was someway I could be there.


Theresa Penner:

I was given up for adoption as a baby. Brian was the cousin to my birth mother. I was impressed and grateful that he welcomed me into the family when I met Shirley back in 1991. After a Slator reunion and with the introduction of Facebook to the world, Brian looked me up and added me as a friend. He kept me in the loop about goings on with the Slator family and his own adventures. I always enjoyed hearing from him and reading his posts, something I will miss. RIP cousin, thanks for making me part of the family. (love)

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

He was so great at bringing family together. It was the most important thing to him. Thank you

Diane Slator:

I’m Brian’s first cousin.. our Dads were brothers… I have always thought that Brian was the glue that held all of us Slators together and I really don’t know what we’ll do without him. I’m so very sorry for your loss guys.. all of our loss.

I remember meeting you at that reunion Theresa (love)

Theresa Penner:

Diane Slator it was a nice way to get to know the family, and even though I haven’t seen most of you since then, Brian always kept in touch.

Diane Slator:

Yep.. that was just Brian (love)


Renee Pouliot:

I’m very sorry to hear about Brian. I went to Our Lady of Victory school with him. That was years ago and wasn’t in touch with him since. I just remember him as a shy kid and very smart. Again, my prayers are with you and your family.


Roger Miller:

I was a classmate of Brian’s way back in high school. However, I got to know him better after that when we were all making crazy super 8 movies like “Eye of the Holy See” and “Batman and Dutch Elm Street”. Brian typically played the hero. The Batman thing stuck with him the rest of his life. I did music and film editing on these ‘Clubhouse Classics’. It’s hard to grasp that he is gone.

Maurine McCort:

I still have a copy of the eye of the Holy See. Man those were fun times. Do you remember recording a part of that out by our farm in Rogers Minnesota?

Mitch Omar:

I would love to see Batman and Dutch Elm Street if anyone’s got it

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

A few of those movies are on IMDB, he took them to film festivals in Iowa City when my husband and I lived there.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1391059/


Carole Huber:

I had the privilege to work with Brian as the Administrative Assistant at NDSU for 22 years. He was an awesome Boss, Department Chair and friend. Together we made a good team making the Computer Science department strong.

I always felt respected and appreciated in doing my job. I always loved the Batman hats that he would wear daily and the tradition of awarding a Batman hat to his PhD graduates. He was a kind man and I will miss running into him when he would give me that kind smile. I send prayers and thoughts to his loving family (prayer)

Nancy Slator:

He spoke very highly of you, Carole.

Rita Slator:

Carole, He thought you were the backbone of the department. You were competent and knowledgeable.

Carole Huber:

Thanks Rita and Nancy for your kind words. He loved his family and would brag about them often.


Maurine McCort:

I am so saddened to hear of Brian’s passing. You and your family have my deepest sympathies.

I will never forget him as he is one of the good ones. His kindness, compassion, and humor will always be remembered.

We hung out in a group from junior high through high school and for a few years afterwards. As a group we took frequent trips up to Ely Minnesota and hung out with friends up there on the weekends.

In high school we had so much fun as kids hanging out whether it was at school or after school or on the weekends. Brian was on the cross country team as was my boyfriend at the time and the cross country team was a good bunch of guys. There were many pranks played on each other and I was thoroughly entertained, especially if Bernie Hancock was involved which he usually was. There was something special between he and Brian.

I was impressed by how mature he was at such a young age. He would not put up with people being cruel to each other even in playing pranks. He always wanted to make sure everyone was doing OK and enjoying themselves. When I broke my leg in 10th grade he was one of the people that was at my side and help me get around the school.

I saw Brian sporadically through the rest of our adult life but never forgot about him and once there was Facebook was able to contact him more often.

My regret is that we did not stay in closer contact. I live in the Twin Cities and the distance between here and Fargo seemed too far to travel and now it seems that that was a mistake to think that. RIP my dear.

Please keep me informed about any services you have for him later.


Gail Slator:

Rita…Sandy and I are saddened to hear the news of Brian’s passing. We have the fondest of memories two years ago July 2nd when you joined us for Brunch in our home with some of the rest of the Family, Son Jordan, Daughter in Law Jacqueline and Grandchildren, Aidan, Kira, Davin and Nels. You had a 6 hour layover from Yellowknife, (lucky for us) we were so delighted we were able to share that time together. He kept calling me Auntie Gail and I kept telling him to drop the formalities, Gail is fine…expecially when we were so close in age, lol. He also hooked us up with Sheila Tuohy-Fitzgerald when we were travelling around Ireland. He sent us discs of downloaded early photos of Sandy’s Mum, his Dad, Jack and young Jordan that he had discovered while digitalizing them from 35mm slides. Just a few examples of how much he honoured and loved family by trying to bring everyone together one way or another. Our encounters although few but fun and memorable. Love from the Slators xoxo


Ken Magel:

I worked with Brian at North Dakota State University for three decades. Sometimes, I was the Department Chair, sometimes he was. It was always a joy to be with him and to learn from him. He was the nicest co-worker of them all.


Jeff Lind:

Like Bob Kaeding I first met Brian at Northwestern. He was rarely on my project, but like everyone, I sought him out because he showed real interest in the staff as people and professionals. His genuine humanity always shined through. I still find myself quoting him from time to time. My favorite “When you hear your boss repeating your ideas back to you as though they were his own, that means you are making progress.”


Bruce Krefting:

Oh no. What sad news. I was looking forward to catching up again at our 50th reunion in October. We have been trying to get his school involved in our intern program for college students. Brian had so much passion for his students; it was such a joy to listen to him share their accomplishments. My condolences for your loss, our loss. He was an extraordinary man.


Lonnie Sandberg:

I am so sad and sorry for your loss. I went to high school with Brian and played hockey with Brian. Those were great times.


Rob Tims:

Hi Rita and family, I first met Brian Slator in 1971 when he came over to England. He stayed in a commune with some friends of mine, Dizi, Derek Norman, Pete Codner, John Graves etc etc. In 1975 Pete and I came to see America, and hichhiked from Hobokin just outside New York to San Fransisco..as you did in those days. We stated with Brian and a group of his friends in Minniapolis/ St Paul, and went up to a log cabin up near the Canadian border. Had a very debauched weekend.

Brian came back to UK again in 1978, and stayed here between Jan and March. He did a wiener roast in the snow, and we had a themed party- Tequila and cowboy boots.

Then we lost touch for a long long time, until he got back to us on Facebook.

Rita and Brian visited The UK together and amongst other things we went to Stonehenge.

I last saw Brian a couple of years ago when he stayed with Bridget and I. We had a few beers, a lot of laughs, and a good time. I am so sad to know he has passed away.

He will be greatly missed, as he really truly was one of the good guys.

Our condolences to you and all the family.

Keep safe
Rob and Bridget


Duane Sprague:

I went to school with Brian and in 9th grade science class the teacher let us make Gunpowder. Everyone else was dissecting frogs or some other projects. Every class reunion that I saw Brian at he always reminded me of our gunpowder project. (prayers) Cherish the Memories.


John Richardson:

I’ve known Brian since Jr. High. It sadden me to hear of his passing. Always looked forward to talking to him at the Class Reunions. He and my EX brother in law( Brad McCormick) FB disagreement over politics alway brought a smile to my face. RIP Brian.


Yorick Wilks:

Brian did a PhD with me in New Mexico in the late 80s and we did a book together on semantics before he went off to Chicago. I have only the nicest memories of him and am so sorry he died so young. Awful– my deepest condolences to his family. We touched base last year when he thought about taking a job at the Florida Institute where I was.


Sue Scott:

I am so sorry to hear this news. Brian and I were cousins, but unfortunately I never met him. Thoughts are with Rita and the children at this sad time.


Anna Tuohy Halligan:

Brian’s cousin from Tipperary Ireland. Hi Rita and family, it’s with a heavy heart that I write you, no words can express my heartfelt sympathy to you all.

Can I say one of the things I remember most about my time with you and Brien in Tipperary was the pure love that ye had for each other, it was shining, like the sun.

All the comments above cement the sort of person I thought Brian was, after a short time in his company I found him friendly, witty and charming with a passion for knowledge and family history.

Since our first meeting, Brian sent me a diary every Christmas of all your outings & trips ye had during the year, he spoke of family parties,gatherings, birthdays & Christenings that ye attended during the year. Brian also had a gift for writing, and I would think I was sitting opposite him as I read his letter. I will always remember him and even though we only met in later life the love and fond memories will live in my heart.

Please offer my sympathy to Brian’s Mam to you Rita your children and all extended family members.My sister Sheila Tuohy-Fitzgerald has already explained our strong family connections. Xx


Brad McCormick:

Rita, I learned about Brian’s passing this morning. And it hurt my heart. We were in High School and in school plays together and and once again reconnected through Facebook over the last year. Our politics are different and we had some pretty great knock-down drag-out discussions! LOL but through them all, we were respectful to each other and tried to let our intelligence express our positions… instead of our emotions. Brian was definitely an intelligent man. And I truly respected him. I am so sorry for your loss and please accept my prayers and condolences to you and your family.


Thomas Riley:

I met Brian through Jeff Clark and Alan White. Over the years we interacted through various grants that they had together and through MUD. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. He was a great colleague and a great collaborator in the Cog Sci AI sphere. Our prayers are with you and your family Rita. What a great loss for all of us, and for NDSU.


Bob Hooker:

Brain and I coauthored a paper, he was a PhD and I was only a staff researcher and yet he put my name first: always a class act and under him I did my best academic research work in my life, a tragedy way too soon

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Bob Hooker I think that was my dad in a nutshell, thank you


Teresa Riggs Foushee:

Here [are 2 photos] taken last year, August 16, 2019 during NDSU campus visit. I was NDSU cs student back in 80’s. Meant so much to have a chance to visit with Dr. Brian Slator last year.

Love
Teresa Riggs Foushee


James Landrum:

I am very saddened to hear that Brian has passed away! I worked under Dr. Slator and Dr. Jeffrey T. Clark on several projects while I was at NDSU in the Archaeology Technologies Lab, and Brian was on my Master’s Thesis committee too. And the MUD group, can’t forget those gatherings! I also enjoyed playing pool with Brian upon occasion! Forward thinking and creative mind, and great wit, lost to us now. He is missed. My sincere condolences to you Rita, and your entire family! Best thoughts, hopes and prayers winging their way upward and outward!


Barry Link:

I don’t have many pics of Brian but here’s one featuring refreshments with Schmidt and Bjorn Handeen

And here’s another from Clubhouse 2 in costume. Brian was an unforgettable friend.


Jeffrey T Clark:

I remember the first time I met Brian, which was a winter day in 1998. He had heard that I was beginning to explore technology for visualization in archaeology. He had this idea, which seemed to me to be wild at the time, of virtual reality applications for archaeology. I was intrigued. Not too much later I was invited to join the World Wide Web Instructional Committee, which initiated a long and fruitful run as a collaborator with Brian. From that point on, my career changed dramatically. Brian and I, along with his student assistants and mine, and an array of colleagues, spent the next decade writing more proposals than I can now count, and on such varied projects as, digital databases with 3D content in archaeology and in physical anthropology, different types of educational VR games, a powwow dancing game for diabetes intervention for Native American kids, virtual worlds for museum displays, a virtual reality 3D simulation for an historic Mandan village in the late 18th century, organizing an international conference, and more. Some proposals and projects were successful, others not, but we stayed very busy.

We also were co-authors on a long list of conference and publication papers. Brian was creative, collegial, energetic, and friendly. Perhaps the thing that impressed me most with Brian is how supportive and sharing he was, especially for students – not just his, but all students involved in any of his projects. This is best illustrated by the long lists of co-authors on so many of his published papers. If someone contributed, in even a small way, no matter what their position, they were acknowledged. Magnanimous is the word that comes to mind. Brian was fun to be with, in work and in play — there were so many Friday afternoons drinking beer with colleagues to close the week, always entertaining and informative.

Rita, I understand the pain of loss of someone dearly loved, and my heart goes out to you and your daughters. At times like this, you come to understand the true meaning of the phrase “broken heart”. My wish for you and your family is that you can come to a place of peace with your loss, however difficult that will be.


Cheryl Rezabek:

Oh Rita, I am so sorry to hear about Brian’s passing. Bob Strous and I were so touched when Brian made the effort to visit with Bob when he was so sick. It meant so much to him to see his old UWLX friends. We meet many people in our lives but certain ones stick with you for life. Brian was that for Bob. Peace to you and your family in this difficult time.


Jane Schuh:

Oh, Rita, I just heard. I am so very sorry for your loss…and ours. I always enjoyed Brian. He had a beautiful calmness that I always thought was very charming. He will be missed. My love to you and your family.


Lydia Tackett:

Hi Rita, Don Schwert introduced me to Brian when I first moved to Fargo six years ago and he has been a good friend ever since. He always had a good story to tell, a goofy plot he was hatching, and a ready laugh. He was someone I could ask for advice any time. He brought us a sample of peaty sand from Slator Lake last year that is now a part of the Geo Dept’s sand collection, and it will be displayed with pride to honor him in the new science building. I feel fortunate to have known him. It won’t be the same on 12th Street without seeing him biking around – he will be sorely missed.

Lydia Tackett:

I have just about a million goofy bingo pictures – I won’t play bingo or drink a Fresh Squeezed without remembering Brian.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Could you send this, or any others you have like it to my mom?

Lydia Tackett:

no problem.


Char Bezanson:

I’m so sorry to hear this! I went to HS with Brian. One year, we auditioned together to emcee the winter Snow Days event, and were chosen- but Brian was in a one-act play that ended up going to State competition that weekend, so we never did emcee the event. Brian was interested in everything, and always fun to hang out with!

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

So true! An honest to goodness renaissance man!


Noreen Burke Bigelow:

Rita, I was so sorry to hear about Brian. He was a great guy. I’m part of the ILS crew. My first “real” job and had only been there a few months when a relative died. I booked a flight home and then found out that our funeral leave didn’t cover that relationship. I wasn’t eligible for vacation yet. I went to Brian. He told me to go. Told me it was important. Told me not to worry about making up the hours and paid me anyway. Every time I’ve had an employee with a similar situation I tell that story. And I tell them to go. He made me a better manager.


Emily Hagemeister:

Brian was such an incredible individual. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with him, but he had a way of really welcoming people in his presence. It was obvious that he had such a warm heart, not to mention being a role model of authenticity and absolutely brilliant. I wish our paths had crossed so many more times. My deepest wishes of healing to all of his family and friends. Such a loss is deeply felt.


Lisa Daniels:

I’m shocked to learn Brian is gone. He played such a foundational role in my life in the early 2000s when he and Schwert invited this novice to be part of WWWIC. Without playing the sage, he subtly guided my professional growth and confidence. I don’t remember ever having a conversation with him in which laughter was not involved – Laughter and a  Batman hat! I am truly sorry for your loss. He was a unique, remarkable man.


Jerett R. Biggs:

I met Brian through Facebook.my father is Gordon block, which technically makes Shannon block,Laura block and Ryan block my 1/2 siblings…lol

Once Brian saw the relation on Facebook,He reached out to me,and it was the best conversation I had with this guy!

I am so sorry we couldn’t meet my friend.thank you so much for making me feel like welcome.

till we meet one day.


Paul Omernik:

It’s been awhile, but Brian would team up with Dan and me at Fargo Brewing trivia every so often. We would even win sometimes!


Nem W. Schlecht:

I’ve been trying to come up with something to say, but it’s all still too raw for me. Brian meant so much to me, I can’t come up with any words, other than that I loved him.


Julie R Fischer:

I didn’t know Brian personally. I knew him as a customer at FBC. All I can say is I will miss him coming in each day. I would feel concerned if I was working and hadn’t seen him by a certain time. I looked forward to seeing him pull into the parking lot and having his drink ready so he didn’t have to wait. I’ve never donated to a go fund me. Ever. But I wanted to make a small impact in honor of his memory. (love)

We will miss seeing you at FBC, Brian.


Andy Bellisario:

Hi Rita and family, we were so sorry to hear the sad news about Brian. We met up with you lovely people at Mum and Derek’s at No.4 (my childhood home and the former commune where Brian stayed with us when I was 11) a few years back when Brian brought you to meet us all in London – he hadn’t changed 🙂 Sending you all huge love at this very difficult time, stay safe Andy, Andy and the boys xxx


Eddie Tuohy:

Eddie Tuohy, Tipperary, Ireland. To Brians wife Rita, his brother Kevin and sister Nancy and indeed all the Slater family and relations. I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to you all on this very sad and emotional time. I didn’t meet Brian when he came to his ancestral home in Tipperary a few years ago, for that I’ll be forever disappointed. I think we would have gotten on well together, I don’t know why I say that, not having actually met him, but it’s a gut feeling and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not lacking in that department! (laughter) Blood is blood and that’s one thing we will always share between us. May Brian Rest In Peace with the angels, until we all get together again in a place where miles don’t matter. (much love)

Anna Tuohy Halligan:

that’s lovely Eddie, yes ! You would have enjoyed Brian’s company and he yours. Two unique cousins x

Kevin Slator:

Eddie Tuohy Lovely, Eddie!

Nancy Slator:

Eddie, I only know you from Facebook as well, but I do think you and Brian would have got on famously.


Andrew Mazz Marry:

I first met Brian the first Friday I moved to Fargo in January 2001. I met Brian (and all of you) through Alan White. One of the first things he did, which I think was partially powered on a suggestion from Rita, was to give me a very heavy and warm parker coat. Apparently, my very chique European style leather jacket was not built for North Dakota. I also got a fur-lined hat with ear flaps – which was the first time I became aware of the very existence of such an article of clothing. Brian looked at my reaction to the hat and said something along the lines of “Dr. Marry (he mostly called me that) – when it gets cold around here, no one – including you, will care what you look like!”. I just remember thinking … When it gets cold?

For the last 19 years, I consider Brian to be a friend. He always explained things to me, usually starting with “let me explain – you are not from around here…”, he always asked how I was doing along with always asking about Dayna Del Val and Quinn. In fact, Brian had Dayna working for him before I met her. He always made me smile and laugh and see a good side to anything. I had the privilege of working for him a few years ago on the V-Cell project, and I absolutely loved all those Friday meetings for MUD.

I last talked to Brian in January when he came over to my house to talk about the Nationalization process. After going through the forms and the 100 questions to learn the answers to, Brian stroked his chin and said “Erm, this seems like a lot of ‘busywork’, Dr. Marry. I will go home and think some more”. In the end, the last time I talked with Brian was the same as the first and all those times in-between. It ended with me saying “see you soon” with a smile on my face.

Dayna Del Val:

This makes me cry. What a fabulous recollection, and one I can heartily say was so similar for me, too. Dr Slator was a special person indeed and will be missed by so many, including me.

Nancy Slator:

Naturalization?

Andrew Mazz Marry:

Nancy Slator – Brian was feeling the need to vote……

Nancy Slator:

I didn’t know that! Thank you. I also took the form home many times before finally following through after 35 years.

Audrey Ruth Slator Omar:

Andrew Mazz Marry – I didn’t know that either!


Rick Griffith:

Dave told me about this a few days ago. So sorry to hear of Brian’s (“Doc”) passing. I have some amazing memories of good times spent with him at Convergence and at the local comic cons as well as his visits to Col. Dave’s game nights. He was one of those guys who I was always happy to see and who always made me laugh. I’ll miss him and I’m very sorry for your loss.


Diane Slator:

I’ve just read all these amazing tributes to Brian and they’ve made me realize that he was even more wonderful than I’ve thought my whole life… makes me even sadder that he’s gone. He’s just always been there.. you know?.. he was 26 days younger than my brother Dan and, other than the time he threw a dart in my butt by accident when I was about 7, always treated me like I was special. I’ve come to realize that that was the way he treated everyone, but that doesn’t negate how it made me feel as a child. I wish I had the words to express how very sorry I am that he’s gone.. way too soon. (broken heart)


Brian Jackson:

Hi, I just found out about his passing this morning. I came here to see any updates and found this post. I’m actually a recent student of his. I had a class of his a year ago (Comparative Programming Languages) and he was one of my favorite professors at NDSU, as well as my current advisor. He had a very laid-back teaching style that was very much appreciated by his students. His sense of humor was also not unnoticed as he would sometimes make really odd jokes, but I loved that kind of humor and it would always make me laugh. He also was a very kind soul in how he dealt with students and handled any interactions with them both in the classroom and outside. I never had a bad interaction with him and wish I had the opportunity to learn more from him. No pictures sadly, but I always remember him wearing his batman hat and I really appreciated him as a person. I’m sorry for your loss 🙁


Jim McNaught:

Hello everyone. I just read of Brian’s passing this morning, and it took the wind out of me a bit. He was one of the world’s most genuine people. Brian was also my manager at my first “real” job at Northwestern and he was a true gem, someone I tried (not always successfully) to emulate in management and leadership style during my own career. He was infinitely patient with a young, enthusiastic, and semi-sane group of cub programmers, project managers and content analysts or “indexers” as we were then known. He wryly assented to a purloined plastic Tiki doll in our office space named “Jobu” and prayed to in order for our project demos to work. Gentle, calm, and wise with a word of advice, we always knew we could go to him with any question.

Brian was one of those people who enjoyed meeting and introducing people from different walks of life, remaining in contact with all of them. When I discussed with him my plans to join the U.S. Foreign Service, he invited me to meet a friend of his “also in government.” He suggested we go to one of Chicago’s blues bars I was always raving about, and so down we went from Evanston to Lee’s Unleaded Blues deep in the South Side, a place that saw few northsiders, at least at that time. His friend turned out to be not from the military, Peace Corps, or USAID but the U.S. FOREST Service, a man who was the living personification of Grizzly Adams who jumped into forest fires from helicopters and looked as if he wrestled bears during his off time. We sat down, ordered drinks, and during a break in the music the man (whose name I forget) leaned forward and intoned “Look lad, don’t DO it. Don’t join the government. For me it’s a rush. I only do it for the rush.” Wide-eyed, I observed Brian quietly chuckling behind his glass.

Fast forward about three years later. After my first assignment in Haiti (1996 ish), I returned to Evanston and stopped by Brian’s office. He welcomed me as if I’d never left, invited me to sit down and chat a bit about my experiences. A couple members of his current team then entered, talking excitedly about something they’d found on the “web,” and how it might be useful for their project. Having spent a couple years without electricity, never mind computers, I glanced toward Brian and asked “web?” to the astonishment of his team. The corner of his mouth twitching a bit, he informed the two ILSers that “Jim has been away,” and could they tell me a little bit of what the World Wide Web was. Brian later explained that and more to me over a pint at Nevins, the local Evanston pub. His willingness to spare time for people was part of his charm. To this day, “Jim has been away” remains the most succinct summation I’ve ever heard to describe two years of utter chaos in Haiti.

Brian was one of the vanishingly few people who take the time for people, who enjoyed meeting and introducing new people from all walks of life, kept a wide-ranging curiosity and exceptionally open mind. Patient, intelligent, gentle, kind, calm and wonderful, the world is poorer for his passing. Heaven has gained another star and will be all the richer for his arrival.


Suzanne Pink Baker:

I worked with Brian at Northwestern in the early-mid nineties, and was so pleased to find this pic of him at that time, from an ILS gathering. And, I love to see more recent pics of Brian, still sporting the Batman hat! He was such a class act-not just smart, but insightful, thoughtful, inspiring, fun, and always had time for a chat or to share his sage advice. Will hold these fond memories forever.


Sharon Lewis:

I too worked with Brian at ILS in Evanston and fondly remember his quiet yet deadly humor. And loved when he hung out for happy hour. My deepest condolences to his family and all who loved him.

Jonathan Hickey:

Due to loss of words, I will let Sharon speak for me

Sharon Lewis:

Jonathan Hickey my pleasure (smile)