Irma Esther (Heil) Slater


(Sept. 4, 2009)

Irma Esther (Heil) Slater, 97, died Sept. 4 at New Horizons Care Center in Lovell.

She was born in Wichita, Kan., on Nov. 5, 1911, to Lorena Violet (Rishel) Heil and Harry Roy Heil.

Irma was born two months premature. In those days, there were no incubators so she was kept warm with lots of warm blankets, wool clothes and a hot water bottle. At one month, she weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces; a shaky start to a long life. In 1920, she moved with her mother and father to a homestead northwest of Savageton, Wyo. She had many stories about life on the homestead. She told about riding her horse on the prairie, walking to school with her cousins and raising a pet antelope named Billy.

When it was time for Irma to go to high school, her father sold the homestead and the family moved to Casper. There she met her best friend, Margaret, who was from Vienna, Austria. They were friends for 67 years. She graduated from Natrona County High School in 1930 and immediately got a job with Lee Doud Motor Co. When the Depression hit and the motor company closed she went to work at Woolworth’s, a job that lasted for 12 years. She would transfer to Woolworth’s in Billings in 1938 with a cut in pay of $1 a week.

Irma and Loris D. Slater were married on Sept. 25, 1938, at the First English Lutheran Church in Billings. When Loris was drafted, they moved to San Francisco. Irma then returned to Powell to stay with her parents. Lois joined her in Powell in 1945, where he built the home they lived in until he died in 1988. The couple had two children, Judy and Larry. When both children were in school, Irma went to work as a bookkeeper for Dick Jones Trucking, a job she held for 18 years.

Irma enjoyed reading her Bible, spending time with friends and family, cooking, sewing and gardening.

She was a 50-plus-year member of the United Methodist Church in Powell.

Her greatest joy came from her children and grandchildren.

Irma was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Loris; and three brothers, Donald Roy Heil, stillborn, Charles LeRoy Heil, 3 months old, and Charles Robert Heil, who died in a motorcycle accident at age 15; and her sister, Lenore Hays.

She is survived by her children, Judy Ferren (Tom) of Lovell and Larry Robert Slater of Ogden, Utah; two granddaughters, Danielle Merrifield (Aaron) and Nicolle Cruz (Rusty); seven great-grandchildren; and nieces, Myrna Hay and Margorie Rose, both of Cody.