TRAVERSE CITY — Kathleen G. Slawson, 93, died at Twin Rivers Care and Rehabilitation Center on June 5 as a result of a stroke. She was a former resident of Henry Ford Retirement Center in Dearborn and lived many years in St. Clair Shores.
Born in Maysville, Ky., in 1920, she was adopted at an early age by Dr. Virgil David Guittard and Saburna Edith Masson, a medical team devoting care to American Indian reservations. She grew up in several reservations in Wisconsin and Michigan before moving to Bowling Green, Ohio.
She attended Bowling Green High School, where she met her husband, Sam J. Slawson. She graduated from BGHS at age 14 and attended BGSU for a year before marrying Sam in 1937.
During the ‘40s and ‘50s she was an elementary school teacher in the Bowling Green City School and Liberty Township School districts in Ohio.
Upon moving to St. Clair Shores her interests were in the various civil rights movements, Martin Luther King, United Farm Workers Strike, school integration through busing, court watching, etc. In 1988 Kathleen received the Brotherhood-Sisterhood Award sponsored by the Detroit Area Interfaith Center for Human Rights.
Her goal in life was to ”help children be fair human beings and teach them to give other human beings a fair shake.” Accused of being a “flaming radical” she was working toward the eradication of three “isms” still predominant today: racism, sexism and ageism.
When Sam retired they pursued another love, traveling. She and Sam took many camping trips and enjoyed taking two to four grandchildren at a time on various trips. One of her goals was to visit every continent, and Australia was the only continent to elude her.
Kathleen is survived by four children, Marjorie Castanien, of Defiance, Ohio, Robert Slawson, of Baltimore Md., Margaret Anne Slawson, of Traverse City, and Susan Hancock, of Dayton, Ohio; and grandchildren, Carol Castanien-Bohn, of Napoleon, Ohio, Barbara Castanien, of Gahanna, Ohio, Jon Castanien, of Waterville, Ohio, Greg Castanien, of Defiance, Ohio, Paul Slawson, of Beverly, Mass., Deb (Bruce) Lautner, of Traverse City, Lisa (Rick) Schaub, of Lake Ann, Cyndi (Brent) Lake, of Williamsburg, and Stephanie Bruss, of Traverse City. She also enjoyed her 12 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Sam J. Slawson; a granddaughter, Jo Marie Castanien, of Defiance, Ohio; and an infant great-granddaughter, Melissa Sue Lautner, of Traverse City.
Continuing her desire to be of help, Kathleen wished her body be donated to a university for scientific studies. The University of Toledo Medical College accepted her donation.
Memorial services will be held at a later date.