John Slater

Interview Date: February 22, 2017
Interview Location: Morton Grove Public Library
Interviewer: Chad Comello
Transcriber: Elizabeth Ceisel
Duration: 50 minutes


John Slater has lived in Morton Grove since 1960. He grew up in Chicago and was in college for engineering in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. As an engineering officer in a combat battalion, John coordinated beach landings in the Pacific, and narrowly missed being killed by a kamikaze attack. After the war he and Mary Helen, his wife of 60 years, opened a machine shop in Chicago, which he ran for 49 years. Over the years John has remained involved in the Boy Scouts, the American Legion, Friends of the Morton Grove Forest Preserves, and various other civic projects.

Together with Mary Helen, John was instrumental in establishing Morton Grove’s Veterans Memorial and the museum’s Education Center, and through his philanthropy dedicated the Quiet Reading Room at the public library to his late wife’s memory.