Nancy Slaughter loved a game of bridge, Minnesota Gophers football, fine scotch and sharing her life with friends, family and just about anyone she encountered — especially at her downtown Minneapolis church and her St. Paul college alma mater.
Slaughter, 83, of Minneapolis, a longtime community activist and volunteer, died July 31 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis after a brief illness.
“Nancy’s the kind of person who could socialize with a CEO or a high-ranking politician but knew the names of every server at an event,” said the Rev. Timothy Hart-Andersen, senior pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church. “She went out of her way to make everyone feel welcome.”
She also was self-effacing. “She would not want her memorial service to be all about her. But on that one she does not have any choice,” he said.
For decades, Slaughter volunteered not just at Westminster and Macalester College — her two favorite institutions — but also the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, MAP for Nonprofits, the Minnesota Humanities Commission, Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library, the Dale Warland Singers, the James Sewell Ballet and Presbyterian Homes and Services.
“She was kind, gracious, well-mannered and so thoughtful of others,” Hart-Andersen said.
A decade ago, Slaughter started a weekly “Beyond Sunday” women’s group that gathered over dinner to listen to one woman tell her life story. More recently, she had started a group for older church members looking for new adventures, Hart-Andersen said.
Regarding her dedication to Macalester, President Brian Rosenberg said: “There will never be a more devoted Macalester alum than Nancy Slaughter. Simple as that.”
She did just about everything for Macalester, from organizing reunion committees to serving on the board of trustees and keeping the college connected to its Presbyterian roots, Rosenberg said. “She was associated with Macalester for more than 50 years, and she made sure we very much stayed in touch with our history,” he said.
Rosenberg said he could provide a list of all the work she’d done and positions she’d held over the years. But she was the rare person who did more than just show up, he said. “There are certain people who bring people together, who are the glue that holds people together,” he said.
Hart-Andersen and Rosenberg said they had known Slaughter for as long as they’ve held their jobs — two decades for the pastor, 17 years for the president.
Slaughter grew up in Stillwater, the daughter of J. Edward and Gertrude Rothschild Slaughter. She was inspired by her father, who worked at Central Lumber Co. and served as chairman of the Stillwater school board. She also benefited from the influence of her uncle, Harold Rothschild, an officer with the Andersen Corp.
Slaughter earned both her undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in education at Macalester. She began her professional career as an elementary school teacher, then worked as a development officer at Courage Center and in public relations for Winston-Seabury Press.
In later life she became widely philanthropic, serving on boards and raising money while saving time for epic dinner and cultural outings with friends, their children and grandchildren — many of whom cherished her Christmas cranberry pudding. She enjoyed adventure travel with her sister, Sally Anderson of New York, who survives her.
A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 14 at Westminster Presbyterian, 1200 Marquette Av. S. The service will be livestreamed on the church’s website.