Farewell, Mr. Tonawanda
Friday October 28, 2011 | By:Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter
Tonawanda Warrior athletics will never be the same.
On Oct.27, the City of Tonawanda was stunned to learn that one of it's favorite sons had suddenly been taken from us.
Chris Slauson, who was affectionately as Mr.Tonawanda, had passed away. Chris had celebrated his 33rd birthday just five days prior.
What can you say? There are no words that can properly describe the kind, caring person that Chris was.
And how much he was loved by everyone in the City of Tonawanda.
A THS Class of 1998 graduate, Chris was a fixture at virtually every THS athletic event, his favorites being football, baseball and basketball.
No one, and I mean no one, loved his community or showed civic pride the way Chris did. He loved Tonawanda, plain and simple.
And Tonawanda loved him - the way facebook lit up with messages and well wishes from friends was a testament to just how near and dear Chris was to the hearts of everyone.
I can honestly say I've never met another person like him. His nickname "Mr. Tonawanda" wasn't just because of his die-hard support of all THS sports teams. Sure, he was a Warrior through and through. But more so, Chris was Tonawanda through and through.
He dealt with more than his share of health issues during his all-too-short time on this planet. But the amazing and inspiring thing about Chris is no matter what he was going through he never let it get the better of him.
He lived each day to its fullest and he was never, ever down. He never forgot a name or a face and it seemed as if he had a special connection with everyone he knew that was as unique and special as he was.
A smile or a hug from Chris would just make your day. You couldn't help but smile when you were around Chris. He brought out the best in everyone.
If a Tonawanda kids name appeared in the paper, Chris would mail a copy of the article to him/her.
And it wasn't just the student-athletes. All THS kids were special to Chris. If a student was in the paper for being on the honor roll or in a play, whatever the case. Chris would send a copy to ensure the child and his family had a keepsake.
Even when he was in school. Chris was always the first kid to offer you a stick of gum.
It was those kinds of gestures that endeared Chris to everyone and defined him as the special person that he was.
Chris Slauson was pure goodness. He never had a bad thing to say about anybody. Even though he was the premiere THS booster, when the rival North Tonawanda won the state football title in 2009 Chris was just as proud of them. I remember being in the Miller Gym for T-NT basketball just a few months after NT's historic football win. As the NT basketball players were preparing to take the floor Chris called out, "hey NT, congratulations on winning the state title in football." The look of shock on the faces of the NT kids was priceless. The last thing they probably expected was a compliment from a THS fan.
But again, that was Chris. There were no enemies. There was no hate.
I was always so touched when Chris told me how much he liked seeing my stories about THS kids.
And he was genuine about it, too. He wouldn't just say it as a random compliment or to pass time while we talked. He would mention specific stories and the day the story ran. He made me laugh because at times he reminded me of dates when certain stories ran. It was my great honor to write about Chris in May of this year.
In that article Chris talked about how he loved all THS sports teams.
"Just as long as it's Tonawanda, baby! He proudly proclaimed. And meant it, too.
I ended that story by writing: Simply stated, Chris Slauson is the nicest person you
could ever hope to meet and the world would be so much better off if there were more people like him in it.
Though we all feel a void because of the loss of our friend, we're all richer for having known Chris.
Thank you and goodbye, Mr. Tonawanda.