Audrey Gatewood Slater
Audrey, a lifetime Oregonian, was born into the rural Northwest logging economy, during the Great Depression, in the Oregon coast range about 3 miles outside of Noti, Oregon. She grew up at the family Homestead, which her father Cecil Gatewood settled under a federal homestead grant, awarded for his service in World War I. Audrey attended a one room, K through 12 school, evidencing courage at a young age when she joined a boys softball team as the only girl.
Her father, with minimal education himself, valued education and saw to it that his daughter went to college. She enrolled at Oregon State University in 1948 where she joined Chi Omega Sorority. There she found a second home, making lifelong friends, including Sue Boardman, Loeta Hunting, and Patty Hutra.
At Oregon State she also met Jackson Parrish Slater. They were married in 1951. Together they raised 4 children and made homes in Washington and California before returning to their Oregon roots where they would live out the rest of their lives.
Audrey, as a new mother, in her early twenties, was paralyzed by polio, and, after agonizing effort and physical therapy, eventually learned to walk again and gained the strength to bear additional children. Giving up her love of ice skating and skiing the Cascades, she never fully recovered from polio. Yet, she grew strong enough to raise her family, build a successful career in real estate and travel the world.
Her indomitable will and enduring faith, evidenced by overcoming polio, would allow her to find joy and optimism as she later overcame many challenges in her adult life, including loss of sight in one eye, substantial hearing loss and being confined to a walker for over 20 years due to post-polio-syndrome.
Always active in her community, she founded one of the largest 4-H clubs in Santa Clara County, California (Valley 4-H Club) and, with her husband Jack, were pioneering members of the Lake Oswego United Church of Christ.
Her children described her as their "faith beacon". One commented "during her last 20 years, she could hardly see, could hardly hear and could hardly walk; yet, she never lost her optimism, believing that good days lie ahead."
Her husband Jack preceded her by 30 years; and her son David preceded her by 18 years. She is survived by her son Dan, her son Dudley (married to Laurie), her daughter Dianne (married to Joe); four grandchildren (Whitney, Kyle, Toryn and Kathrina); and two great-granddaughters (Emma and Ellie).
Audrey's family requests that any remembrances be sent to Rotary International (working to eradicate polio) or the Lake Oswego United Church of Christ.