SLAGS – A Celebration of a Great Life, by Chris Farrell

“ not something you learn in school, but if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship you really haven't learned anything.” Oscar Wilde

I first encountered Martin on 2nd November 1981 when I transferred as a Xerox salesman to London to join a newly formed sales district created with a newly appointed Sales Manager named Martin Slagter. In those days people struggled to pronounce his name – was the g silent - as in Slater. By the end of his first year most knew the name well as he was the Number One Sales manager in Xerox UK. For the next 5 years Martin retained that Number One position whilst he changed sales teams and he took a lot of salesman with him hanging on his coat-tails.
I, along with many others, had the great good fortune to hang on his coattails at Xerox and Dell for the next 15 years. I have much to be thankful to Slags for!
We all will die, the goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will – and Slags, you did that!

All cultures have ways of dealing with death. Where I come from In Ireland, Wakes were more of a celebration of the cycle of life and death, than they were an aspect of mourning. Food, tobacco and drink were provided of course, and music, song and storytelling were expected. This would have been right up Slags Strasse!

He liked nothing better than visiting Ireland with its traditions and one of his favourite songs was this one by Luke Kelly (we tried a duet, he & me, badly a few years back after a few in Westport Co. Mayo!)

When we convene next we will raise our glasses high and proclaim in Gaelic, sláinte !

Slags was my friend and I miss him but he would not be doing with any sentimentality.
Martin, until we meet again, ma y God bless you and hold you tightly in the palm of His hand.

From Michael & Yvonne Hodgson-Hess

Remember the 1970’s? That’s when Yvonne and I first met Martin, and then Jan, and later on saw Adam and Luke arrive. It was a different century, a world that doesn’t now exist. Martin and I played rugby together (that’s how we met), and for the next 20 years this sport and our club (Richmond) were a huge part of all our lives. Friendships were formed, sporting triumph enjoyed (Kipling’s twin imposter ‘disaster’ was probably the more prevalent, truth be told), our social lives intertwining whilst unseen, adulthood and responsibility coalesced around us, our ambitions seemingly worthy and important, even as we believed our young selves immortal. Until, much later, we had to accept we weren’t. Our journey through this potential vale of tears had us meet many people; with some, like ‘ships in the night’, hulls scrape and you sail on. With others there is that moment, that interlocking when you know you are friends, and so it was with the Slagters. And then they moved to America. Our friendship, our closeness, endured, but now with ‘exotic’ added – well OK, suburban Austin - to the mix. We watched as their young boys became young men, and we saw the pain and yes, anger of divorce, and then Tina entered our lives, she meeting the Martin challenge - difficult enough in itself for goodness sake, without having to manage new home, new family, new friends, and new country – with poise, warmth, grace and skill. And now for one of us, it is the end. We will not allow just the last seven years of Martin’s life frame his story because there is so much more than that. We saw his faults (ours are just as transparent) contained within an amusing, generous, gifted man, at times infuriating but a real person, someone who could only be Martin and nobody else. Our dear friend, central to our lives, has died, and we grieve for him and with his family.