SLEMP, Richard (Skip)
“The music’s over; the song is done
but the melody will live in our hearts”
Richard (Skip) Slemp was born on September 11, 1937 in the Coronation Hospital, the eldest son of McDaniel and Alberta Slemp of Fleet. His father, Mac, owned the corner store and post office, which was the hub of the small community. His earliest memories were of being surrounded by relatives and friends of every age, as they came for their groceries and mail. Skip took grades one through 10 in Fleet, and when he began grade 11, the school board hired Mac’s car, with Skip as driver, to transport the other three high school kids to Castor. A decision that would send school boards today into permanent shock! After graduation, Skip worked a year in Edmonton, but in 1958 he returned to become bookkeeper and transport driver for Murray Price, his future uncle, at the British American Oil Bulk station in Coronation. Here he was in his element, providing a service for the customers with the added benefit of getting to know people and making them his friends. Everyday he had farmers coming in for fuel, who almost always stayed for coffee to discuss the lack of rain, the dismal price of cattle, how the government needed fixing, and all the latest gossip. In fact one customer, who became a life-long friend, used to call the Petro-Canada office the “House of Useless Knowledge”. In 1960, Skip married Gladys Carter, and together they raised four children; Tracy, Marla, Kerri, and Rick. In 1961 they bought an old travel trailer and began a life-time of RV-ing, going at least every other weekend, through spring and summer, all over Alberta. In 1984, Skip bought the bulk fuel business from Murray. Through the years Skip always seemed to find the most competent staff. He had an office manager and bookkeeper (Stan and Debbie Barnes) and truck drivers he could always depend on when he was absent for any reason. In later years, his son Rick also worked with him. Because of longer business hours, Skip could not always get away on Friday nights, so he and Gladys decided to rent a lot at Green Acres, Pine Lake, where they parked a trailer permanently for 26 seasons. They bought a motor boat in 1985 and their kids, and later their grandchildren, developed a love of water skiing and fishing. Skip enjoyed sitting around the campfire at night with his family and friends, young and old. Here they also made many friendships which were so very special to him. Skip was always very willing to help sponsor town activities and as well as hosting an annual ‘Customer Appreciation Day’ to thank the community for their patronage. He was also a longtime Elks Lodge member, where he was happy to help with the monthly bingos, Mother’s Day breakfasts, rodeos or any other project they committed to. Over the years, Skip played with many bands beginning with the Fleet Rhythm-Aires. He also played with the Harold Simon’s band and the Heartland Playboys (both from Stettler), and the Zinger Family band here in Coronation. After retirement in 2001, Skip had more time to devote to his music. He truly enjoyed playing for various functions at the Golden Age Centre and Assisted Living in Coronation, as well as birthdays and anniversaries along with Darwin Matkea. He also played at the Legion, Senior’s Centre and Senior’s Lodge in Castor with Dave Zimmer as well as many other musicians. He tried never to miss any jam sessions at Hanna, Consort, Torrington, Olds and Eckville. His greatest pleasure of recent years was having the privilege of playing with the “Yesteryear Band” from Hanna. He considered that the ultimate. Skip’s love for music carries on through his grandchildren. The last few years he took much pleasure and pride in watching them perform in their own school bands. The last three winters, he and Gladys were able to spend three months at the Palm Creek Resort in Casa Grande, Arizona, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Once again, he made many lasting friendships and was part of a small band that played for different functions in the resort.
Predeceased by his father and mother, Mac and Alberta Slemp; father-in-law, Ray Neal; and brother-in-law, Ross Neal. Skip is lovingly remembered by his wife Gladys; his daughters: Tracy (Dwayne), Kristin and Logan; Marla and Travis; Kerri (James), Rebecca and Lauren; and one son, Rick (Sandra), Melissa, Alicia, and Amber. He is also sorely missed by his four-legged best friends, Taffie and Nugget. He also leaves to mourn his brother, Buzz (Carol) and his children, Jeff, Bruce (Shelley), Greg, and Erin Slemp; his mother-in-law, Helen Neal; sister-in-law, Bonnie Stephenson (Lloyd) and family; brother-in-law, Ken (Dolores) Neal, and family; sister-in-law, Tina Fox and family; and many, many cousins. Richard (Skip) Slemp passed away at the Coronation Hospital & Care Centre on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the age of 72 years. Skip lived a full and happy life surrounded by a host of people who loved him. What more can one ask? The memorial service to commemorate Skip’s life was held at the Coronation Community Centre, Coronation, Ab. Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 1:00 P.M. with Pastor Terry Belcourt officiating. The prelude music was played by Dick Slemp. Barbie & Margaret Evans played for the congregational hymn “The Old Rugged Cross”. Soloist, Brenda Brigley sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”. Jeff Slemp shared the eulogy as well as some memories from the family. Active Pallbearers were Skip’s grandchildren. Honorary Pallbearers were Sadie Caseley, Marion Lamontagne, Margi & Darwin Matkea, Ron & Helen Heidecker, Stan & Debbie Barnes, Dan Bullick, Bill & Bubbles Bullick, Gordon & Lynda Twa, Bruce & Sandy Guard & Dave & Irene Rowbotham. The Elks formed an honour guard. Following the memorial service family and friends remained at the Community Centre for a time of visiting and reminiscing. A beautiful lunch was prepared and served by the Evangelical Free Church Ladies. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to the Coronation Hospital Foundation, Home Away From Home Room, Mail Bag 500, Coronation, AB, T0C 1C0.
Heather Caseley of Coronation Funeral Home entrusted with the funeral arrangements. 1-888-578-2928.
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