Donald Sloat

Born: Davenport on 20 December 1923

Passed away: Davenport on 30 March 2016

Aged: 92 years

Funeral Date: 10 April 2016

Service Details

Those wishing to say goodbye (and hello!) are welcome to join the family at the Knights of Columbus, 1111 W. 35th St., Davenport, Iowa, between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 10. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, at P.O. box 96011, Washington, D.C., 20090-6011, online at, or by calling 1-800-272-3900.

The Story

Donald L. Sloat of Davenport passed peacefully at his home, “Clay Hill Castle,” on Wed., March 30th, 2016.

Don was born Dec. 20, 1923, eldest son of Edwin (“Ted”) and Corinne (Lake) Sloat, in Columbia, Mo. He and his younger brother Jerry (“Jet”) were raised in Ft. Madison, Iowa. Like so many members of The Greatest Generation, with World War II gaining momentum, Don enlisted in the U.S. Army upon graduating high school and began his military training as an airplane mechanic in March 1943 with the Air Corps at Miami Beach, Fl. After the war, Don attended St. Ambrose College, where he majored in English and as a bit of an afterthought also obtained his teaching certificate, which would later prove fortuitous. It was during his college career that Don met the love of his life and future wife, Margaret (Peggy) O’Connor, with whom he enjoyed almost 64 years of very happy and loving marriage.

Don began his career in sales with Ji Case, but after the arrival of two sons and a daughter in rapid succession (24 months), he decided home life trumped life on the road hawking farm machinery. He dusted off that teaching certificate and embarked upon his life’s work in the classroom, a career that spanned more than three decades and enabled him to touch countless young lives. Don took great pleasure and purpose working with young minds, serving not only as teacher (primarily of English) but in earlier years also as basketball coach, yearbook editor, curriculum writer and English Department head. His 30-plus year teaching career culminated with his retirement from the Davenport Community School District in 1988, following 23 years at Walcott Intermediate School. Like many teachers, Don supplemented the family income with summer work—in his case, painting houses, a side business his three sons later joined to earn money to help with their college expenses.

Don leaves many legacies, but the greatest of these is love. He loved his wife Peggy beyond measure, with every fiber of his being, and he doted upon the six children they joyously brought into the world. Though his family was always the center of his universe, he also loved all of humanity, without judgement, gently observing his fellow man with clarity and insight and tirelessly demonstrating all-encompassing acceptance and limitless compassion. Ever the optimist, Don saw the glass to be always more than half full, and his response when asked how he was doing was always “first rate!” Deeply spiritual if not particularly religious, Don was yet the quintessential Good Samaritan, quietly and anonymously providing help when and where he saw need. This capacity for love was handed down to his children and grandchildren, in spades, and so lives on.

In addition to his love of family and humanity, Don had a deep love of words, of writing. He became famous for his “doggerel,” creating clever, rhyming witticisms for all occasions, in which he would capture the essence of an event or an emotion with charm and rhyme, creating delight for all lucky enough to receive. In later years, writing became a balm for the various pains that aging brings, and served him well. Lest we not forget massively corny jokes, of which he was without question The Master. Don also had a love for all things mechanical, a passion reflected in his enormous garage/workshop (the ultimate man cave before there was such a name for it) and huge and highly organized arsenal of tools, widgits, whatsits, salvaged whatchamacallits and the occasional back-handed ratchet smasher, (otherwise known as gadgets, rare hardware and mechanical remedies for any fix-it problem known to man). This passion and talent lives on in his sons, whose abilities to build or fix anything broken or invent something new and super cool are truly bottomless.

In addition to his beloved wife Peggy, devoted survivors include his brother Jerry (Eileen); children Jay (Deb) Sloat, Becky (Bill) Courtright, Jeff (Tracy) Sloat, Gary (Bonnie) Sloat, Diane (John) Kruse and Julie (Guy) Heller; grandchildren Sara (Justin) Cook, Jake (Saalini) Sloat, Luke and Ben Sloat, Don (Jen) Courtright, Elizabeth (Dave) Boundas, David (Jodie) Courtright, Ben Courtright, Jon Parker Sloat and Tony Sloat, Mickey and Meredith Sloat, Nick and Bryn Kruse, and Sophie and Olivia Heller; great grandchildren Will and Abby Courtright, Lloyd, Thomas and Charles Boundas, James and Anthony Courtright, Jay, Helen and John Cook, Karthik Sloat, and many beloved nieces and nephews and in-laws.
Light a Candle

Upload Photos

Share a photo on the memorial with or without a message.


Upload music file

Upload a music file with or without your message on the memorial.


Share a music video link

Share a music video link with or without your message from Youtube, Dailymotion or Vimeo.

Share a video from the web

Share a video link with or without your message from Youtube, Dailymotion or Vimeo.

During my first four years of teaching I had the privilege of working with Don Sloat at Walcott School. What a kind man with a wicked sense of humor, always used in a respectful manner. This was in the late 60's and early 70's. He was everyone's favorite. I was so sorry to learn of his passing in last week's Democrat. I remember several dinner parties with Don and Peggy where good conversation was even more important that food. We were a cohesive group of teachers at that time, Fran Wolfe, Tom Wolfe, Bob Miller, Dean Boom, Tobin (Toby), some others (apologies for my forgetfulness), and me, Anne Stoppleworth. We all got along with one another and had each other's backs. It made for a wonderfully comfortable work situation. I remember him so well as pictured in his classroom. Brings back lots and lots of memories. Don always, always had a smile. His love of life was the balm in the midst of junior high chaos, and there was plenty of that. Bless him for that! He made me feel right at home my first day. Bless him for that, too! Great head of the English dept. I only saw him at a loss for words once. But that story need not be told! My deepest sympathies to Peggy and all of Don's family. Anne Heitz

Anne HEitz


I worked with Don during my first eight years at Walcott School. I have many fond memories of Don – his kindness, infectious smile, and literary wit. He was an example to all of us. I remember fondly the clever doggerel poems he wrote and recited for every retiring teacher. How we looked forward to the end of the school year to see what Don had written. His poems were a beautiful and joyous tribute to what could have been a sad occasion when one retires from one’s career. Many blessings, Don and to your family. Terri

T Toppler


I was able to share a special connection with my Grandpa as a teacher. We had some wonderful discussions with my grandpa about teaching and the progression of education. He was so interested in the ways Kansas State was preparing me to become a teacher, in what I was teaching and how I was teaching it, and, in true teacher fashion, he was mostly interested in my students. I always knew my grandpa had been a teacher, but it took becoming a teacher myself to realize that he never stopped teaching. Everything my grandpa said, everything he did, he was teaching. Here's a few things my grandpa taught me: Always show compassion, especially to those who don't deserve it - they usually need it the most. Look at words. Really, really look at words. Read them, research them, use them, do crossword puzzles. Never skip over a word you don't know. Find the definition and use that word. Be strong willed. Don't let other people change your mind on matters that you feel strongly about. Write. Words, poems, stories. Write it all down. Love devotedly and never give up on love. And, never let the bastards grind you down! Love you forever and miss you for always, Grandpa.

Bryn Kruse shared a photo.