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

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