Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT / friedbits.com
Richard Melvin Slayter (SDB)
April 4, 1931 – December 10, 2016
Richard Melvin, “Dick”, Slayter, is remembered by his family and friends as a man who impacted countless lives in countless ways. Richard was the only child of Henry Sands and Enid Reese Slayter. Originally from Glendale CA, he attended Glendale high school and graduated USC School of engineering, cum laude, in 1954. He worked his way through these years as a surveyor throughout southern California. He served in an Army Engineering Mapping Group during the Korean War in Tokyo, Saipan and Tinian.
After separation from the army in 1955, he supervised construction of the original Illinois State Tollway near Chicago IL. As a supervising engineer, he inspected many bridges and was known as "Sledge Slayter" because he would test the soundness of concrete forms by wielding a sledge hammer against the wooden frames to see if they would fail. It was on the shore of Chicago’s Belmont Harbor where sailing stole his heart in the form of a Star boat. California called him back in 1959 where he immediately signed on with Rick Engineering. He towed his Star boat directly into San Diego Yacht Club, stumbling upon Lowell North at the hoist.
For the next 34 years Richard, a legendary principal of Rick Engineering, was the chief civil engineer on many landmark projects in San Diego County including La Costa, Rancho Bernardo, Scripps Ranch, Fashion Valley Center, Miramar Ranch North and Lusk Mira Mesa.
A colleague wrote: "He had quite a reputation at Rick Engineering among the engineers who were sometimes a bit afraid of him but always respected him. He was considered a real expert at all things engineering and taught many people through the years, some who later became leaders at Rick after Dick retired. His imposing stature, square jaw and piercing blue eyes sometimes presented a gruff exterior but covered up a big heart. He had a completely unbiased view of gender (if you were good at what you did, he did not care whether you were male or female) and an uncommon ability to get to the point and move things along. He was a no drama kind of guy!"
Cars and boats occupied his spare time throughout his life. His engineering skills were applied to hot rods as a young man and then to owning and restoring eight different Porsches. His first boat was a Star and he owned and raced four Stars in Illinois and the San Diego Bay Fleet. The first sailing of a Fifth District Green Star was won by Richard Slayter in Feather. Richard encouraged and fostered crew and new skippers in Stars in the fleet. Strong young sons moved him into racing a Petersen 34 and then cruising extensively on his Valiant 40 with his wife, Lynlee. Many lasting friendships were made in ports from Baja to Maine and the Caribbean.
Among their cruising friends he was known as a belt and suspenders kind of guy. He had parts for his parts. On his boats, as well as all other endeavors, he always made sure everyone had the tools and training to be successful and safe. His dry, sharp wit was enjoyed by everyone he met.
He is survived by his wife Lynlee Austell, four sons and six grandchildren.
Richard endured the long series of small griefs dealt by Parkinson's Disease. Donations can be made to UCSD Dept. of Neurosciences, Parkinson's Disease Research (4425) https://giveto.ucsd.edu/?sk=439.
Even with his deteriorating health, he remained a pillar of support for his wife, sons, grandchildren and extended family. "He was my voice of reason during tough times and my inspiration when I felt like giving up. He was my rock and my compass when the seas got rough."
Fair winds and following seas Richard Melvin Slayter. 1931--2016