William "Bill" Sluiter was well-known local businessman
William Sluiter, 90, formerly of Margaretville and Perch Lake, Andes, died at his home at The Meadows at East Mountain, Rutland, VT on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.
Bill was born on October 9, 1922 in Platte, SD, the youngest child of Janis and Jennie Sluiter, first generation Dutch immigrants. When Bill was 10 years old, in the middle of the Great Depression and the Midwest Dust Bowl, and with a bleak outlook for the family, “Pa” moved them to Delaware County where they settled down as dairy farmers.
Bill graduated from A.L. Kellogg Central School in Tredwell where he was both a standout scholar and a basketball star. He also had a crush on the school’s cutest cheerleader, Margaret Barlow. At least he always said she was the cutest.
Bill attended Colgate University in Hamilton, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a major in English. He served his country in the U.S. Army (lieutenant) as an instructor of officer candidates at Fort Benning, GA and then in Germany with the Army of Occupation. He returned to Colgate in 1946-’47 where he received a Master’s Degree in education.
On June 29, 1947 Bill married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Barlow, in Tredwell. He and Margaret both took teaching positions at Andes Central School, he in high school English and she in music. But even though his students thought he was a great teacher, Bill soon decided teaching was not for him.
In 1950, he went into the insurance agency business with Arthur S. Close in Margaretville, forming the company Close & Sluiter, Inc. After the retirement of Art Close, Bill expanded the agency, first with the purchase of the E.M. Woolheater Agency in Andes, then the Bovina portion of the William Hoy Agency and finally the Willis Marks Agency in Margaretville. Bill was joined in business by his sons, Doug in 1975, and Peter in 1984. The family business tradition continued when grandson Matthew joined the agency in 1995. Bill retired to his home at Perch Lake in Andes in 1986.
Bill loved the Catskill Mountains, Margaretville, Andes, the surrounding communities and his many friends and business acquaintances who lived there. He was devoted to his community and was a member of the Margaretville Fire Department and the Margaretville Rotary Club. He served on the Margaretville Hospital Board and was its president at the time the current hospital building was constructed. He was a member of the Board of Directors of NBT Bank during the years when it grew into a regional powerhouse under the leadership of his close friend, Chairman Everett Gilmour. He was a faithful member and trustee of the Margaretville United Methodist Church. Bill was a gifted public speaker and was often invited to be a lay preacher by churches of various denominations in the area.
Bill loved trout fishing, golf, a lively game of “pepper” with the boys, and a good soccer match, but most of all he loved his family. He wanted each member to excel and gave them all every possible opportunity to do so.
In May, 2009, Bill and Marg moved to Rutland, VT to be close to and well cared for by their daughter Anne. While he regretted leaving his John Deere riding mower and his beloved back porch Catskill Mountain View, he understood it was time for a change.
Bill was predeceased by his parents, Janis and Jennie Sluiter; sisters, Henrietta Stevens, Cora Henderson, and Stella McPherson, and his brother, Adrian.
He is survived by his sister of 106 years, Alice DeBoer of Flandreau, SD; his loving wife, Margaret; his son, Doug and wife Marlene of Bovina; grandson, Matthew and wife Dana and great grandchildren Ryan and Sara; daughter Anne Snyder and partner David Auty of Mendon, VT; grandson Jacob Snyder and wife Anna; son Tom and wife Rene of Lyndhurst, OH and granddaughter Lauren and husband Jared Work and great grandsons Charlie and Jack and granddaughter Lynn; son Peter and wife Suzanne of Andes and granddaughters Alison, Johanna, and Rachael.
Contributions in memory of Bill may be made to the Margaretville United Methodist Church or Rutland Area VNA & Hospice, PO Box 787, Rutland, VT 05702.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date at the convenience of the family.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Aldos Funeral Home, Rutland, VT.