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Dr. Ira Slade Jr.

Dr. Ira Hunt ‘Dutch’ Slade Jr., a man who practiced medicine and exhibited God’s love, went to his heavenly home Oct. 30, 2013. He was born in Griffin, Ga., Jan. 19, 1930, to Ira Hunt Slade Sr., and Mary Dunlap Slade. He attended Griffin schools and graduated from Griffin High in 1948. His senior year he was the recipient of The Walker Cup for outstanding scholarship, leadership, athleticism and citizenry ‘“ an award named for its original 1943 recipient, J. Henry Walker, III. Dutch Slade attended First Baptist Church as a child and in his youth. He was an Eagle Scout and one of three original members of the Order of the Arrow. As a teenager, he worked at Camp Thunder on the Flint River, teaching new skills to young scouts and serving as waterfront director. He loved being outdoors and enjoyed every aspect of God’s creation. He received his bachelor’s degree from Emory University, where he was a member of the track team, Naval Reserve Officers Training Corp and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. To help earn his way through college, he trapped animals in the woods around Emory to sell to the biology department and worked as an orderly at Grady Hospital, along with many other odd jobs. He graduated from the Emory School of Medicine in 1956 and moved his young family to Pensacola, Fla., then to Agana, Guam, where he was a doctor at the U.S. Naval Hospital. He rose to the rank of lieutenant, Medical Corp. After his military service, he returned to Griffin and began his private practice in the second story rooms of a home overlooking Poplar Street. He built a new office on Graefe Street which now houses Internal Medicine of Griffin and, as the practice grew, he brought in a partner, Dr. Kenneth Reynolds. He served as chief of staff at the Griffin-Spalding County Hospital and was instrumental in forming the first coronary care unit. In 1966, Dr. Slade and his family moved to American Samoa, where he was a staff doctor and taught practical nursing at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Pago Pago and also worked with a native Samoan doctor to eradicate leprosy from the island. While in Samoa, he developed a keen interest in plants and the local village healers’ methods of using them to care for people. Upon his return to Griffin, Dr. Slade moved his practice from town to a mobile office at his land on Newnan Highway. He and the late Frank Ingram, a scientist and his close friend, developed an early angioplasty tool that was successful in trials in Atlanta and helped serve as a basis for future advancements in life-saving surgeries. He worked with Mr. Ingram in his Meadowlark Laboratory to develop the first artificial heart valve which they donated outright to Emory University. Dr. Slade began growing plants in greenhouses he built on his farm, where he also helped his children raise cows and chickens for 4-H projects, taught them how to garden, hunt and fish and fostered their interests in nature. He was a prolific plant photographer and expert on cacti, succulents and miniature crepe myrtle and created new breeds by meticulously transporting pollen from one plant to another. His work was featured on the covers of national plant and gardening magazines along with his articles. He and his wife Linda founded Greenlife Gardens and sold plants at their home for a time and through a thriving mail-order business. Dr. Slade eventually left his private medical practice and formed a corporation to provide the first dedicated emergency room physicians to the Griffin-Spalding County Hospital. Later he joined the medical staff at the Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson, Ga., providing medical care to inmates in the Georgia Correction System. He retired from the center in 2000 after 20 years of service. While working in Jackson, Dr. Slade opened a mission clinic in his home where he and his wife treated patients since 1985. Dr. Slade was pastor emeritus of the In Christ Fellowship Church. His ministry is on-going through the In Christ Mission Clinic and the mentoring and scriptural discipleship ministry of ICM ‘“ Safehouse Coffee. Dr. Slade is survived by his wife and partner of nearly 40 years, Linda Fry Slade of Griffin; children and their spouses, Scott and Debbie Slade of Suwanee, Ann and J. Henry Walker III of Griffin, Cathy and James Roth of Enterprise, Ala., Joan and Collier Sanders Jr., of Carrollton, Jonathan and Carol Slade of Charleston, S.C., David and Alyson Slade of Mt. Berry, Ga., and Hunt and Amanda Slade of Griffin. He is also survived by his 21 grandchildren, their spouses and eight great-grandchildren, Laura and John Mealor and their daughters Erin and Robyn of Bethlehem, Ga., Kathryn Slade of Atlanta; Jessica Slade Whatley and her fiancé Michael O’Connor of Griffin; Stuart Whatley of Keystone, Col., Rebecca and Blake Conley and their son Cooper of Eastman, Ga., Chandler Dunlap Whatley of Nashville, Tenn., Daniel Roth of Birmingham, Ala., Jennifer and Steve Dignazio and their children Sam and Molly of Camp Casey, South Korea, Travis and Sarah Roth of Temecula, Calif., Matthew and Celia Roth of Moscow, Idaho, Elizabeth Roth of Auburn, Ala., U.S. Army Captains Bryan and Jenna Sanders of Fort Riley, Kan., Mark and Elizabeth Sanders, Leah Sanders and her children Riley and Paxton, Collier Sanders III and Jacob Sanders of Carrollton, Jonathan ‘Nate’ and Michelle Slade Jr. and their daughter Anjali of Stoney Brook, N.Y., Thomas Slade of Charleston, S.C., Dylan Slade of Mt. Shasta, Calif., Ira Hunt Slade IV of Griffin and Asa Slade of Mt. Berry, Ga. In addition, Dr. Slade is survived by his brothers and their spouses, Dick and Anne Slade and Dan and Kathy Slade of Griffin; and his sister and her husband, Mary and Wallace Lail of Duluth; his sisters-in-law and their spouses, Don and Gracie Noblin of Cardwell, Mo., Russell and Karen McFarren of Salem, Ark., and brother-in-law Dr. Warren Ross,of Austin, Texas; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, David and Dunlap Slade. A celebration service for Dr. Slade will be held Sunday, Nov. 10, at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Griffin, Ga. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to In Christ Mission Clinic Memorial Account (ICMCMA) through United Bank, Mail Teller, 1735 Zebulon Rd., Griffin, Ga., 30224 or at any United Bank branch. Heritage Funeral Home is providing services to the family.

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