February 7, 1917 – Sunday, April 24, 2011
First Presbyterian Church of White Bear
Monday, May 9, 2011
Gene L. Slocum (“Genie”), 94, formerly of White Bear Lake, Minnesota died peacefully at home in Buffalo, Minnesota on Easter morning April 24, 2011.
Gene Marion Latta (Slocum) was born on February 7, 1917 in Clinton, Wisconsin to J. Marion Scott (Latta) and Warren H. Latta and sisters Carolyn F. Latta (Harris) and H. Jeanette Latta (Hein). The Latta family lived mainly in the area of Clinton, Wisconsin, and the Scott family in Poynette, Wisconsin and later Stewart & Brainerd, Minnesota. She was welcomed into the world by grandparents Elliot & Jeanette Scott and Darius & Carolyn Latta; uncles and aunts Oliver & Ruth Scott, Helen & Samuel Phillips, Lola & Milford Wilkins, Lillian & George Joslin, and uncle Fay Latta; and by her cousins and their families with whom she remained close all of her life. Her name was chosen by her sisters after their favorite author, Gene Stratton Porter. She was baptized at the First Congregational (later First Presbyterian) Church of Clinton, Wisconsin. Tragically, her father died when Gene was only eight, and her family had to leave their home in Clinton. Her mother returned to work as a rural schoolteacher until she was able to start a new career in the book department of Dayton’s department store in downtown Minneapolis. She established a new home in Southeast Minneapolis, MN a block from Andrew Presbyterian Church and a short walk from John Marshall High School, the University of Minnesota, and downtown Minneapolis—a center of learning and culture. The family joined Andrew Church, where Gene later met and and in 1937 married Wayne W. Slocum of Wilmont, Minnesota. As a homemaker and mother, equestrienne and folk dancer, Gene supported Wayne’s career as a high-school physical education teacher, coach, and square-dance caller. In 1938 they lost their first child, David Lee, and in 1942 they started their family of six children: Kathleen Virginia, Sally Gene, Carol Jeanette, Warren Wayne, Paul Jerome, and Scott Steven. Before the war, Wayne took a job in the White Bear Area School District and they bought a farm. When Wayne returned from his service in the U.S. Navy, they moved to the farm and gradually built up a pony-ride business that became a popular summer attraction at Como Park in Saint Paul and other events around the Twin Cities area. After Wayne’s death in 1965, Gene returned to the University of Minnesota to complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work, which she then applied (along with her family and community experience) to her career as a Social Worker with the County of Anoka and the State of Minnesota. In retirement, she traveled the world, continued her church and community involvement, and visited with her six children, ten grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, sisters, nieces & nephews-in-law, cousins, friends and families around the country. In 2002 she moved to the Presbyterian Homes of Arden Hills, and in 2010 to the Cherished Moments Home in Buffalo, Minnesota.
Gene was preceded in death one year ago by her daughter Dr. Carol Jeanette Slocum, a Professor of Marine Biology at Stockton State College in Absecon, New Jersey. In earlier years she grieved the deaths of her husband Wayne, her sisters Carolyn Harris (Winfield, Mound MN) & Jeanette Hein (Arden, Minneapolis), and other dear relatives in the families Scott, Phillips, Wilkins, Joslin, Avery, Robinson, Haight, and Bernard. She is survived by her daughters Dr. Kathleen L’Armand (Adrian, Swarthmore PA) and Dr. Sally Stafford (Corvallis OR); sons Warren Slocum (Star Prairie WI) , Paul Slocum (Willow River MN), and Scott Slocum (White Bear Lake MN); nieces Rosemary Dixon (Buffalo MN), Juanita Bernard (Stan, Minneapolis MN), and Judith Gruber (Gill, Minneapolis MN); ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; and many dear cousins, nephews and nieces.
Gene’s memorial service & lunch will be held at First Presbyterian Church of White Bear Lake, Minnesota on Monday, May 9, 2011 at noon, followed by lunch at about 1:00 PM. All are welcome. Her ashes will be buried in a private ceremony at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota (in the grave next to Wayne’s). In lieu of flowers, her family requests memorial gifts to the church or the donors’ favorite charities.