The Rev. Jennifer Marie Slade died on July 17, 2014 at the age of 55.
Jennifer was born on July 11, 1959 to Robert W. Slade and Kennetha A. Slade. She graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1981, and from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Divinity in 1990.
Rev. Slade was ordained by the Winchester Unitarian Society, of Winchester, MA in 1991. She held pastorates at the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Greenville, NC from 1992 to 2002, and First Universalist Church of Sampson County at Red Hill, of Taylors Bridge, NC from 2006 to 2010. She served as sabbatical minister at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durham, NC, in 1999; Ministerial Settlement Representative for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Southeast District from 2008 to 2011; and interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Woodstock, IL (now Tree of Life UU Congregation of McHenry, IL) from 2011 to 2012. She spent the past year serving as developmental minister to the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, VA.
Rev. Slade’s ministry supported both the spiritual and physical growth of congregations. Throughout her time at the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the congregation grew from 165 adult members and 40 children and youth, to 360 adult members and 155 children and youth. The congregation also moved to a new, larger facility. Similarly, Jennifer guided the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Woodstock to a larger facility commensurate with its growth, particularly in Religious Education. She hoped to move the Norfolk congregation to a new location as rising tides repeatedly flooded the church.
Jennifer was invested in the larger denomination, and served as a member of the Southeast District of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. She worked as a Chaplain Resident at the Bronson Methodist Hospital, of Kalamazoo, MI, and served as campus chaplain and advisor to the Unitarian Universalist Group at Furman University, of Greenville, NC. Jennifer was instrumental in starting the Montessori preschool, UU World of Children at the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, founded in 1997. She was appointed a Merrill Fellow in 2000, and spent her sabbatical at Harvard.
Jennifer served various community organizations including the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Services; AFFIRM a support organization for gay and lesbian youth; the Sampson County Methamphetamine Taskforce; the Urban League of the Upstate; and the Greenville Faith Communities United (now Interfaith Forum).
Jennifer’s colleagues and friends remember her as “bright,” “loving,” ‘kind,” and “inspiring.” She was a birthright Unitarian, and passionate about fixing social ills. She was very interested in reading; and she had an incredible memory for facts, dates, and important events in the lives of those she loved.
Jennifer is survived by her husband, John Santoianni; son, Samuel J. Santoianni; daughter, Emma M. Santoianni; brother, K. Sean Slade; sisters in law, Rachel L. Slade, Lois A. Sans, and Jeanne R. Century (Michael S. Weisman); brothers in law, Michael P. Normandin, and James M. Santoianni (Joan F. Santoianni); nieces, Samara Ruberg, Rachel K. Sans (Christian J. Palmer), Kimberly A. Cochran (Joshua Cochran), Katherine J. Santoianni; nephews, Kenan C. Slade, Reuben W. C. Slade, Christopher M. Santoianni, Stephen J. Santoianni (Valerie Santoianni), James R. Santoianni, Matthew M. Santoianni, and Justin P. Santoianni.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, August 2nd, at 3:00 p.m. at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Rd., Durham, NC 27707.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The UU World of Children, att. Maureen Nery, 1135 State Park Road, Greenville, SC 29609 (http://www.montessoriworldofchildren.com/giving.html
Notes of condolences may be sent to John Santoianni, 914 W. Markham Ave., Durham, NC, 27701.