Ron Slaymaker scan

That Peabody Gazette-Herald held high above the boy’s head as he shouted, “Japan bombed Pearl Harbor! Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!” Five-year-old Ron Slaymaker watched the paper boy, unsure about all the commotion on December 7, 1941. “I remember that day,” Slaymaker recalled. “For the next four years, we were embroiled in World War II. Everything changes. We have to make sacrifices. All the news about the war.” Slaymaker loves to tell stories and at 86 years old he has a lot to share. His stories are entertaining and often he adds flavor, and exaggerates important details for greater effect. But regardless of the story, listeners leave with lessons to apply to their lives.

One story Slaymaker likes to share when speaking at athletic banquets, coaching clinics, or community events describes a moment during the 1960s when as a youth coach he put his hand up. That moment changed his life. For Slaymaker, that act set in motion a chain of events that opened doors to new opportunities and experiences, keeping him in the game for 64 years and counting. But before Slaymaker raised his hand, he grew up in one of the most important time periods in US history.

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