July 28, 1941 – March 29, 2019
Jack Slatter, of Orchard Park, a retired printing company executive, died March 29 in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center after a three-month battle with brain cancer. He was 77.
Born in Toronto, an only child, he grew up in North York and started several businesses. One of his early ventures was a butcher shop in midtown Toronto, which catered to the Jewish community and shipped to customers in small towns in northern Ontario where kosher meat was unavailable.
He went on to own and operate an audio-visual company that supplied educational materials to schools, then had a pair of printing companies, Big Bay Printing and Pro Art Graphics, in the Toronto area.
“He never wanted to work for someone else,” his wife, Frances, said.
Mr. Slatter was a friend of Robert Freudenheim, one of the owners of Thorner Sidney Press, a premium printer in Buffalo, and when the company declared bankruptcy in 1992, he was part of a group of Canadian investors that bought the operation.
Starting as vice president of manufacturing for the new firm, Thorner Press, he became president and chief executive officer in 1995. He moved the company from Seneca Street to its current location on Bailey Avenue in 1997 and retired in 2010.
In 1995, he joined with 17 of his employees in a pool to purchase tickets for the New York State Lotto. They won and divided a $10 million jackpot, each receiving $17,000 per year after taxes for 20 years.
“He was just a friendly boss,” his wife said. “They said, ‘Jack, you want to get in on this with us?’ And he did. They thought it was him that brought them their luck. He’d get a check every year on April Fool’s Day.”
He met his wife, the former Frances Diebel, a human resources staffer at Erie County Medical Center through in the late 1990s through her cousin, who was one of his pressmen. They were married in 2007.
Mr. Slatter maintained a summer cottage on Lake Simcoe in Canada and in recent years had a winter home in Deerfield Beach, Fla., where he was president of his condominium association.
In Toronto, he was a season ticket holder for the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs. When he moved to Buffalo, he transferred his allegiances to the Bills and the Sabres and acquired season tickets.
In retirement, his wife said, “he was never without some project he was working on.” He was an accomplished carpenter, enjoyed gardening and helped neighbors with home repairs.
“He had incredible houses here and in Orchard Park,” said Bill Isen, a longtime friend from Toronto, “It was a mammoth job to take care the gardens and he did it all himself.”
He also combed flea markets looking for items for his collections. He collected Coca-Cola and Mr. Peanut memorabilia, apothecary jars and vintage cameras and clocks.
A classic car fancier, he often attended auto shows. His prize possession was a red 1966 Buick Skylark convertible, which he purchased new and displayed at the annual car show during Quaker Days in Orchard Park.
He also traveled extensively and enjoyed deep sea fishing.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Aimee Berman and Sari Slatter; three stepsons, Michael Diebel, John Diebel and James Diebel; two grandchildren and three stepgranddaughters.
Services were held March 31 in Toronto.