Norman B. Slater Jr., a longtime Clarksburg farmer and community volunteer, died May 4 at 94, his family said.
Born in Berkeley, where the cool air aggravated his asthma, Mr. Slater was a boy when his father, an electrician for a San Francisco oil company, moved his wife and two sons to the warm climate in Clarksburg in 1928. The family put down roots in the rural Sacramento River community and began a new way of life as growers and leaders in agricultural and civic groups.
Mr. Slater studied agronomy at the University of California agricultural school that became UC Davis. He began farming in Clarksburg with his father Norman Sr., and his uncle, C.E. "Babe" Slater brothers who had won gold medals together as members of the U.S. rugby team at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.
After World War II, Norman Slater Jr. partnered with his brother William to grow sugar beets, safflower, alfalfa and other crops at Slater Bros. Farms. He retired in 1981.
"He talked a lot about prices and followed the weather closely," said his daughter Camillis. "But he never complained about his work. Farming was more of a lifestyle than a job."
Mr. Slater was one of the first volunteer firefighters in the Clarksburg Fire Department, which his father led as chief. He volunteered on the boards of agencies that support farming, including the Woodland Production Credit Association, a cooperative lender for farmers, and Reclamation District 999. He was appointed to the board of the Yolo County Historical Museum and served on the Yolo County grand jury.
Born Feb. 23, 1919, Mr. Slater graduated from schools in Clarksburg. He was married for almost 70 years to his wife, Carolyn.
Although he was refused for military service in World War II because of a congenital condition that limited his arm movement, he was an expert marksman who won shooting contests. He was a skilled woodcarver who sold many of his works including birds, Santa Claus figurines, trays and knife holders to raise money for the Yolo County Historical Museum.
Besides his wife, Mr. Slater is survived by three children, David, Camillis and Catherine; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. today at Clarksburg Community Church, 52910 Netherlands Road, Clarksburg. Memorial donations may be made to the church's building fund or senior luncheon group.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.