Sarah (Sally) Slack was born in 1917 in Zanesville, Ohio. She attended Lash High School and Muskingum College. When she graduated in 1939, she took a few extra classes at The Ohio State University, so she could become a teacher.
Sally taught at McKinley, McIntire, and Lincoln Elementary Schools in the Zanesville City School system. She also taught special reading education for students in the Zanesville City Schools and St. Thomas Elementary.
Many teachers decorate their classrooms to help engage their students, but Sally was like a walking classroom. Her colorful sweaters were a sight to be seen; matched only by her vibrant personality and generosity of spirit.
Sally was always giving, even if it was just a piece of fruit or candy that she happened to have on her at the time. Giving was a way of life for her.
When she started having trouble with her vision, she went to see Alan Letson, MD, a Zanesville native who practiced ophthalmology in Columbus.
“When I met Sally,” said Dr. Letson, “she was upset about the vision she was losing from AMD. We used to have long talks about the lack of treatment available for dry AMD. She was determined to change all of that.”
When Sally passed away at the age of 87, the majority of her estate was left to the direction of the Muskingum County Community Foundation to help fund research in macular degeneration.
Located in the Putnam Historic District of Zanesville, the Muskingum County Community Foundation is in its 27th year of operation with millions of dollars of assets to manage for the benefit of Muskingum County and the greater central Ohio area.
David Mitzel, Executive Director at the Muskingum County Community Foundation, met Sally when he was visiting his aunt in an assisted care facility.
“Sally was a character and a good character. She was a school teacher. She was used to dealing with young children. She was young at heart,” said Mitzel.
Sally loved animals, so David would bring his dog into the dining room for her. David was glad to bring a smile to her face because Sally had spent her life bringing happiness to everyone else.
It seems that Sally wasn’t finished. The gift Muskingum County Community Foundation received to establish the Sarah E. Slack Prevention of Blindness Fund was about $900,000. This fund will support research to find a cure for the leading causes of blindness, especially macular degeneration.