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.
Brian and his family were are next door neighbors growing up in Brooklyn Center. I am so very sorry to hear of his passing.
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.
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!!
those are great photos Sheila
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.
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
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)
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.
Yep.. that was just Brian (love)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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)
He spoke very highly of you, Carole.
Carole, He thought you were the backbone of the department. You were competent and knowledgeable.
Thanks Rita and Nancy for your kind words. He loved his family and would brag about them often.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Rob and Bridget
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Teresa Riggs Foushee
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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
Eddie Tuohy Lovely, Eddie!
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.
Andrew Mazz Marry:
Nancy Slator – Brian was feeling the need to vote……
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!
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.
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)
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 🙁
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.
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.
Due to loss of words, I will let Sharon speak for me
Jonathan Hickey my pleasure (smile)