Slagle helped make world a better place

Slagle helped make world a better place
I first became acquainted with Frank Slagle at a get-together at our church.

I can't remember what it was for now; it occurred at least a decade ago.

I do remember, however, that this was a gathering of our congregation after formal Sunday services. It was a time to relax, share a cup of coffee, and chat.

And Frank, who up to that time I had only known to be a serious professor at The University of South Dakota School of Law, began telling jokes.

Funny jokes. With great delivery.

That's what I'll remember most about Frank Slagle.

I was never his student. I've gone about with the mistaken notion that this was a good thing. I always imagined Frank easily grinding me to a pulp as I tried to understand the complexities of tax law.

After all, I'm just a simple hometown news editor.

Frank was (and some of this I only learned about by reading of his death Sunday) a pharmacist, a pilot, a traveler whose favorite mode of transportation was bus because of the conversations he could strike up, a clown with the Shriners, a computer whiz, a woodworker, a plumber and a mechanic.

He was also a past member of the Vermillion City Council, a leader in our church, both locally and statewide, and an advocate in our community.

Frank and I didn't always see eye-to-eye when he was on the city council. Chalk that up to a lack of foresight on my part. Today, I'd love to see a half-dozen Frank Slagles serving as city aldermen. There would never be a dull moment. And we could take comfort in knowing that the public's will would be carried out.

Frank's death, in a unique way, has helped me get to know him just a bit better. Scores of people have been posting memories of him on a USD Web page. Turns out he wouldn't have ground me to a pulp if I was taking one of his classes. Judging from so many of the comments left by well-wishers, he bent over backwards time and again to help his students.

There is one thing I've known from day one about Frank. The output of love for his wife and two daughters was always at the maximum.

Again, at church, during one of those casual moments, I overheard him talking with a member of our congregation.

His face was beaming. He was discussing his two daughters' latest achievements.

Had he never been anything more than a very proud, supporting husband and father, Frank would have left a superior legacy.

He did that, and so much more, leaving a void in our community and on the USD campus that will very, very difficult to fill.

Make that impossible to fill.

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