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Nathan Slewett, Hollywood Philanthropist, Dies at 97

Championed Parkinson's Research

PDF is saddened to learn of the death of Nathan Slewett, the legendary long-time Chairman of the National Parkinson Foundation.   With his immense personal charm and humor, he was a true champion of the Parkinson’s community and an effective, generous and colorful figure on our world stage.


Nathan Slewett, Hollywood Philanthropist, Dies at 97:  Championed Parkinson's Research
By Kelly House, The Miami Herald
11:01 AM EDT, July 11, 2010

Nathan Slewett was known by many as one of South Florida's foremost philanthropists and a champion of Parkinson's research. But to those closest to him, his generosity and kindness extended beyond his public persona.

``From the National Parkinson's Foundation, you're well aware of his accolades,'' said his son, Alan Slewett. ``On a personal basis, I would say he was even better.''

Slewett, a former lawyer and real estate agent who became a leader with the National Parkinson's Foundation, died Wednesday at his Hollywood home. He was 97.

Slewett moved from New York to Miami in 1958 with his wife, Evelyn. At the time, he was semi-retired and expected to spend his twilight years on the golf course.

But a chance meeting with a friend whose husband suffered from Parkinson's disease led to Slewett's involvement in the National Parkinson's Foundation. He spent 50 years as a member, serving as president, chairman, and most recently, chairman emeritus. During his involvement, the foundation funded more than $150 million in research and support services. Slewett acted as its ambassador even after poor health limited his ability to be actively involved in the past few months.

In his 50 years with the foundation, Slewett never missed a day at the office.

``Even when he was sick, he still went down and instead of staying [his regular] four hours, he stayed two,'' said Rhoda Goodman, Slewett's companion for the past 10 years.

Dr. Bernard Fogel, the foundation's current chairman of the board, said Slewett was driven by a desire to help others. ``With no reason, like anyone in his family having Parkinson's, he took on the responsibility of making it one of the leading Parkinson's foundations in the country,'' Fogel said.

Slewett was an avid traveler, and his business and charitable interests took him to every continent, his family said. When he wasn't traveling or focusing on the foundation, Slewett loved to dance and golf. He was also actively involved in several other charities, including the Miami Jewish Health Systems, Boys Town Jerusalem and Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach.

Sheila Slewett, Nathan Slewett's daughter-in-law, said Slewett had his hand in several ventures around the world and insisted that every business partner agree to donate 18 percent of profits to charity. In turn, Slewett did the same.

Growing up in a low income family in New York, Slewett learned from his mother to start a list of charities and send a donation every Friday. At first, the donations were just a few dollars, but as Slewett became successful, he never missed a check.

Through his involvement in Parkinson's research, he became friends with Muhammad Ali, Dick Clark, Bob Hope and Elizabeth Hurley, his family said.

``Anyone that met my father-in-law never forgot him,'' Sheila Slewett said.

Slewett also valued education, and vowed to learn one new word every day.

Goodman said she's unsure what the foundation will do now that Slewett won't make his daily visits. But his contributions will live on: the Miami-Dade County Commission proclaimed Dec. 13, 2009, as Nathan Slewett Day.
Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

 

 

Source Date: Jul 19 2010
Source Publication: South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
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