Keith LeRoy Sleater, 87, of Denver, died August 1, 2018.
Keith leaves behind his son, Brian Lee (Roxanne) Sleater; his unborn grandson, “Baby Slate” Sleater; his daughter, Michelle Leigh (Maung Hlaing) Sleater; his granddaughter, Vivienne Hlaing; his brothers, Malcolm Sleater, and Kaye (Bonnie) Sleater; his ex-wife, Stella Sleater; his brother in-law Harold Chapman, and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Irene (Lamont) and LeRoy Sleater, and his brother, Mike Sleater.
Keith was born September 28, 1930 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of LeRoy and Irene (Lamont) Sleater. He was a graduate of East High School in Salt Lake City (1948), University of Utah College of Engineering (1952), University of Denver College of Law (1965).
Airplanes were Keith’s first love. He was a captain in the Air Force (1953-1959) and served in the Korean War. He flew commercially first for Frontier Airlines then later for Continental. He piloted many airplanes over his career: DC-3, CV-340, CV-580, B727, B737, and MD-80, just to name a few. Later in his life he bought a Cessna so he could teach Brian and Michelle to fly. They both cherish memories of cruising the Colorado skies with their dad.
A true renaissance man, Keith obtained his JD by going to night school while flying. Still a pilot, he opened and shared a law practice with his friend Mike Homyak, where he frequently took on cases for fellow pilots. He absolutely loved American History and the Constitution.
Once he married and had children, his family became the most important thing in the world to him. He gave up race car driving because it was too dangerous. He scheduled his flights so that he could be home for every baseball game, diving meet, and parent-teacher conference. When Frontier Airlines went down, he signed with Continental with the decision to commute from Denver to New Jersey to work, so that the family could stay in their home and the kids could stay in their schools. He passed onto his children a love for critical thinking, ethics, debate, baseball, and Broadway musicals.
One of his greatest attributes was his skill as a teacher. He was able to break any skill down to its basics and talk a person through it. If he needed to teach something he didn’t know how to do, he thoroughly researched the subject and sought out the best available experts to impart their knowledge to him. He taught his children to drive a boat at 10, a car at 13, fly a plane at 16… and never once did he panic when they made a mistake. Over dinner every night he initiated lively debates about history or current events, and he always played the Devil’s advocate in order to push their thinking further.
In his later years he remained active and adventurous, with the heart of a boy locked in an aging man’s body. “I still feel like I’m sixteen,” he would say. Despite an artificial hip, he went skydiving to celebrate his 80th birthday. He golfed frequently with his airline friends. In the last year of his life he renewed his passport as he hoped to travel again. Even after over half a century of piloting planes himself, he still loved to stand at the window of an airport, just to watch the planes take off and land.
In his last few months he delighted in visits from his first grandchild Vivienne Hlaing, and he looked forward to the arrival of “Baby Slate” Sleater.
We send our deep gratitude to The Denver Hospice for their kindness and help in making his last months comfortable and peaceful.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Denver Hospice (thedenverhospice.org -> “donate online” in memory of Keith Sleater) or to the City of Aurora Parks and Recreation Youth Baseball (send checks to 15151 East Alameda Pkway, Suite 1900, Aurora, CO 80012).
A memorial to celebrate Keith’s life will be held on Saturday September 29, 2018 at 10:30 am at Newcomer 190 Potomac Street, Aurora, CO 80011. All are welcome. Please feel free to share memories of Keith at the service. A reception with light refreshments will follow the memorial.
To share a memory of Keith or leave a special condolence message for his family, please click the Share Memories button above.