Wednesday, February 9, 2011

William Albert Slater

William Albert Slater III passed away at home in Ketchum, Idaho, on Feb. 2, 2011, shortly before his 80th birthday. Bill was the son of William and Francis Slater of Santa Barbara, Calif.

Survivors include his wife, Sheri Shepstone Slater of Ketchum, Idaho; sons, William Albert Slater of Burbank, Calif., Michael Ames Slater of Ventura, Calif., Samuel Sullivan Slater of Portland, Ore.; daughter, Sarah Jane Slater of Ketchum, Idaho; seven grandchildren; two former wives and numerous friends around the world. His parents and his brother, John Fox Slater of Perth, Australia, predeceased him.

Bill attended Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, Pomfret School in Connecticut, Menlo College and the University of Virginia. He was a gifted linguist. He learned to speak French fluently as a child. He then learned German in the 1950s while stationed in Bavaria, serving in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps. Later he studied Spanish and Portuguese.

Bill pursued various business interests and hobbies over the years, including advertising, real estate, auto racing and travel, but found his true calling in the restaurant business in San Francisco in 1970 when he opened Barnaby's, a highly successful evening gathering spot. Social happenings at Barnaby's were reported regularly in Herb Caen's column in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 1972, Bill and Sheri moved to Portugal for a year and followed that adventure with a year of living in Spain before moving to Santa Barbara in 1974. In 1995, after spending several months of each of the previous 10 years in Sun Valley, the Slaters decided to make Idaho their full-time residence.

Bill was an avid golfer and tennis player. He was a member of both the Valley Club in Santa Barbara and the Valley Club in Sun Valley. Bill was an accomplished chef who loved to entertain his friends at home, usually with at least one standard poodle at his side. He never failed to amuse his guests with his irreverent sense of humor and sophisticated calm, cool demeanor.

Bill Slater was a gentleman and a true bon vivant who followed dreams, not rules.

A celebration of Bill's life for friends and family was held on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Valley Club of Montecito, following a private service at Santa Barbara Cemetery. Another celebration of his life will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Valley Club of Sun Valley.

Memorial donations may be made to the Slater Memorial Museum, c/o NFA Foundation, Inc., 321 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360.

Friends are invited to leave condolences and share memories at

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