Jul 27, 2021

Jim Slade, R.I.P.

It is with sadness that pass along the news of the death of Jim Slade, a long-time genealogist and member and leader of many genealogy organizations. The following obituary was received from Jim’s daughter, Becki Slade Teague:

James Lee (Jim) Slade, PE

January 30, 1928 – July 26, 2021

James Lee (Jim) Slade, 93, loving husband, caring father, doting grandfather and great-grandfather, proud engineer, and accomplished genealogist, expired on July 26, 2021 at his daughter Jamie Slade’s home in The Village, OK.

He was born (as Jimmie Lee Slade) in Oklahoma City on January 30, 1928 to Jessie Hollis Slade, who was born in Cloud Chief, Indian Territory and Lee Dumas Slade of Boyd, Wise Co, TX, who died when Jim was a young adult. Dad lived his entire life as a proud, friendly, helpful Oklahoman.

After graduating from Classen High School, he courted his wife, Genevieve Willett Slade of Perry, OK at The University of Oklahoma; they married in 1951. They enjoyed a lifelong love affair and were inseparable until her death in 2014. He is survived by daughters Rebecca Ruth Slade Teague, Edmond, and Jamie Marilyn Slade, The Village, OK, son Lee Willett Slade, Boxborough, MA; three grandchildren, Susanne Slade Kelly (Bradford), Conroe, TX, Lauren Leigh Teague Collins (Tony), Tulsa, OK, and James Lee Slade (Alicia), Prosper, TX; and two great-granddaughters, Emery Kay Slade and Laurel Grace Slade, both of Prosper, and a third great granddaughter, Baby Girl Collins, whose arrival is imminent. He adored them all and was loved much by each.

Educated and trained as a civil engineer, he served as City Engineer of Ponca City, OK for five years before accepting a position as Bond Engineer and Assistant City Engineer with the City of Oklahoma City. In addition to being a licensed professional engineer, he was also Oklahoma Registered Public Land Surveyor #4, with experience designing and surveying throughout the state, including Turner Turnpike, Lake Eufaula, and major interchanges statewide. Early in his career he surveyed from the state’s Initial Point, a stone marker that established the first survey point in Oklahoma Territory. He established the consulting civil engineering firm Slade & Associates before merging with Hudgins Thompson Ball (HTB), a firm since acquired by Dewberry. Always a proud member and contributor to the engineering profession, he was honored as a Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Society of American Military Engineers.

He relished travel, boating, and otherwise enjoying family times at state lakes, especially Lake Eufaula. He was an accomplished water skier into his 60’s and boasted an almost perfect record in teaching dozens of newbies how to water ski. His planning and giving spirit made him an expert at creating memories for his family and their friends during long weekends on smooth water and sunset barbecues on the deck.

Jim Slade was a lifelong learner and teacher who advanced the use of computers in genealogical research. He was ever eager to help others trace their roots, regardless of their family name. He was the global keeper of the Slade family name through the Guild of One-Name Studies, London, England, and wrote the definitive book, The Descendants of Samuel Slade of Southampton Virginia, tracing his family lineage to the mid-1600’s. He enthusiastically worked to identify and connect the extended Slade family worldwide, even during his last days.

Dad began seriously researching family history in 1975, painstakingly harvesting handwritten and microfiche records from numerous county courthouses before the advent of computers and electronic databases. As computers became widely available in the late 1980’s, he helped pioneer their use as a tool for genealogical research, applying the lessons he had learned with land records and emerging technology in his engineering practice. He helped found and lead the Genealogical Group of the Computer Club of Oklahoma City. He served numerous years on the GENTECH Advisory Council and Oklahoma Genealogical Society Board and as National Chairman of the Computer Interest Group of the National Genealogical Society. He eventually was elected to the board of directors of the National Genealogical Society. He lectured frequently at national and regional genealogy conferences and built a ‘second career’ as a lecturer aboard the Royal Caribbean and Cunard Cruise Lines, helping educate and entertain passengers and crew on passages of the Royale Crowne Dynasty and the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ships, among others.

Dad was driven to make life better for his loved ones. He was never without a list of to-dos, or a plan for today, tomorrow, and next week. After Mom’s passing in 2014 left him without a life partner, he built a new circle of friends at his independent living facility, The Statesman. He served several years as council president, and enthusiastically participated in numerous activities, including excursions, swimming, bridge, and parties, winning the annual Halloween costume competition multiple times.

He cheered his beloved Sooners teams in all sports, especially women’s softball. He advised and assisted with his daughters’ backyard landscaping and loved flowers of every kind and color.

Dad was a 62-year member of First Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, serving as deacon, elder, and trustee, including trustee chair for multiple terms. He was a gentle, loving person who lived a quiet but powerful faith. He cared deeply for his family, his friends, his profession, and genealogical research. Dad faced his deteriorating health with positivity, wit, and grace, even as he knew his days were growing few. Our family thanks all those who cared for him, especially his many caregivers at Baptist Integris and Frontier Hospice, as he dealt with a progression of health challenges with brave dignity.

We miss him terribly, but always with smiles about his many stories, drawn from his incredibly sharp memory and attention to detail. Friends are invited to join the family in celebrating his life at 1 PM on Monday, August 2 at First Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City, following a private interment ceremony at Memorial Park Cemetery. The family suggests that remembrances be made in the form of a donation to the Endowment Fund of the First Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City, 1001 NW 25th Street, Oklahoma City, OK or to the Oklahoma Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 12986, Oklahoma City, OK 73157-2986.