Francis R. Slay, Father of St. Louis Mayor, Dies at 83


Francis R. Slay, the man who smoothed the path for his son's ascendancy into St. Louis politics, passed away this morning at the age of 83.

The senior Slay was a Democratic committeeman in the city for more than four decades, a former state representative and the city's former recorder of deeds. In 2009, the city renamed a park after Slay in the city's Ellendale Neighborhood.

Slay and his wife had eleven children, one of them Francis G. Slay, St. Louis' current mayor. In a blog post a few years ago, the mayor remembered how his father's former restaurant on Hampton was one of the first places in south St. Louis where "blacks and whites worked together and sat down to eat as friends."

In recent months I was at a meeting in which Slay talked about his father, who he said finally buckled to family pressure and stopped driving last year. That said, the family patriarch was too proud to actually get rid of his car. Slay said that he and other family members had to go over to his father's home and start the vehicle from time to time to keep it running and prevent the tires from developing flat spots.