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Frank Slayton, retired judge and former delegate, dies

Retired Halifax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge and eight-term delegate Frank Slayton died Tuesday shortly after noon at his home in South Boston, surrounded by family.

Slayton was under hospice care at the time of his death.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Slayton earned his law degree from the University of Virginia in June 1959.

Former delegate W. W. “Ted” Bennett practiced law with Slayton for over 20 years, describing Slayton as a “dear friend of mine,” and “as a person who loved the community.”

“He will be sorely missed,” said Bennett.

“We were together over 20 years, and he was just a close dear friend and mentor.

“He loved the county, loved the community, and he loved this region, and he was working for it right up until he was physically unable to do so.

“He loves the higher ed center, and he loved being a judge, and he was a good one.”

Slayton was an expert on juvenile law and pretty much helped re-write the entire code relating to juvenile law, Bennett recalled.

His service to his hometown, state and country has been noteworthy, Bennett added.

Himself a former 60th House delegate, Bennett said he learned “patience” among other things from Slayton.

“There are so many things you would like to change for the better, and he would say, “Patience, Ted, patience.”

Ronnie Guthrie, a next-door neighbor and friend of Slayton for over 50 years, said, “We’ve known each other for years and served in the National Guard together.

“You couldn’t ask for a better friend or neighbor.

“He was the commander of the local National Guard, and he offered me a slot here.

“We’ve been friends ever since.  It is a big loss, and he’ll be greatly missed.”

Upon graduation from law school, Slayton was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the Virginia Army National Guard, serving for 20 years as a JAG lawyer and rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Slayton served as acting Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney during the illness of Commonwealth’s Attorney James S. Easley, and he also served eight years on the South Boston City School Board.

Slayton joined Easley in the practice of law in 1959 and practiced law together until Easley’s death in 1965.

Until his retirement in January 2004, Slayton held court in Halifax, Mecklenburg and Charlotte counties on a weekly basis.

He represented Halifax and Charlotte counties in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1972-1988.

During his eight terms as delegate for the 60th House District, Slayton served as a member of the House Appropriations and Courts of Justice Committees.

Slayton also served as chairman of the Board of Youth and Family Services and was a leader behind the revision of the Juvenile Justice Code of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

Slayton was honored in 2011 at the Charlotte County Courthouse with the formal dedication of The Honorable Franklin M. Slayton Law Library, after Slayton offered to donate his entire law library as an unconditional gift to the Charlotte County Court clerk’s office.

Slayton is survived by his wife, Ruth Jean, three children, Marshall, Sarah Hodges and George, and five grandchildren, Adam, Patrick and Emily Slayton, and Jacob and Blaire Hodges. 

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Tuesday.