William E. Slatin lived his life on four perfectly balanced wheels – his wife, his family, his career, and his cars. His journey was a smooth one because he usually made sure to prioritize his loves in this specific order. Like all of us, though, he was human, and the ride could get bumpy if any of his priorities were out of balance. But he always knew how to fix things and get everything back in working order.
William Edward Slatin of Carmel, Ind., died peacefully on June 15, 2023, just 10 days shy of his 90th birthday. He was known as “Hon” by his late wife; as “Dad” by his four children; as “Deda” by his three grandchildren; and as “Bill” by his friends and just about everyone.
Born in Mattawan, Mich., Bill’s childhood was surrounded by farm machines, Czech food, and a filling station. At a very early age, he would dismantle and put back together again just about anything he could get his hands on. His mother told stories about how any toy he had would be taken apart, rebuilt, and then taken apart again and rebuilt yet again. This childhood curiosity about all things mechanical would be the frame on which he built his career at Ford Motor Company … and which landed him in the motor pool during his brief stint in the U.S. Army toward the end of the Korean War.
Shortly after his military duty, Bill married Alice Frances Barta, who passed away on May 3, 2016, just a few months after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. While Bill was a builder and rebuilder, Alice was an artist and creator. She participated in the Ann Arbor Art Fair with her dough art, sculpted a woman as part of an art class, and needlepointed, quilted, and sewed.
Together, Bill and Alice had four children – three sons and a daughter. They raised their children with love and without preference … although the three brothers agree that their sister was the most important person in their parents’ lives, especially as they advanced throughout their later years.
Bill is survived by his four children, Paul Slatin, Alan Slatin, Elizabeth Thompson, and Michael Slatin; daughters-in-law Marcia Slatin, Nancy Slatin, and Rebecca Slatin; son-in-law Frank Thompson; grandchildren Andrew Slatin, Julia Slatin, and William Slatin; sister Phyllis Kosner and brother-in-law George Kosner; nieces Barbara Cerri, Cathy Stroll, and Karen DiMonte; and nephews Henry Barta and Robert Kosner.
Bill is also survived by his cars – a 1960 Ford Thunderbird, a 1952 Ford F-2 Pickup, a 1950 Ford Custom, and Alan’s 1967 Ford Mustang, which he and Alan restored in the 1970s and again prior to the Ford Motor Company’s 100th anniversary event in 2003. And out there somewhere is the 2003 Mercury Marauder that Bill said was his favorite car to drive and which came with a black leather jacket he wore long after he stopped driving. Bill was a founding member of the Indiana chapter of the Vintage Thunderbird Club of America. The 1952 F-2 was showcased on the grounds of Ford’s world headquarters during the company’s 2003 anniversary celebration.
After retirement, he volunteered as a counselor for small businesses as part of the Senior Corps of Retired Executives.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
To view the livestream of the service, please click here.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.