Walter Robert Slingerland Jr., 80, passed away on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008 in North Carolina. His passing culminated a long and difficult struggle with Alzheimer\'s. Walter Robert Slingerland Jr. is survived by his wife of 56 years, Helen, daughters Mary Helen and Lisa, their husbands and children.
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Walter Robert Slingerland Sr. (brother of founder Henry Heanon \"HH\" Slingerland,) was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Slingerland company in the early 1900s. Together with a third brother, Arthur James Slingerland, Walter and HH grew the Slingerland company into the world\'s largest producer of stringed instruments in the mid-1920s. The company claimed in that era to have over 1700 dealers. In the late 1920s Slingerland began drum production and by the early 1930s shifted their entire production from stringed instruments to percussion instruments.
Walter Robert Slingerland Jr. did not play an active role in the history of the Slingerland Drum Company, but grew up with a keen interest in drumming and the family legacy. He played with two drum & bugle corps; Roosevelt Military Academy and Rogers Park, Illinois. He frequently accompanied his father to work at the Slingerland drum factory where he met many of Slingerland\'s famous endorsers.
He played well enough to sit in with the Gene Krupa orchestra at the Panther Room in Chicago. The Slingerland family terminated it\'s interest in the company in 1970 when H.H. Slingerland Jr. (\"Bud,\") sold the firm. Walter Robert Jr. continued to closely monitor the firm\'s fortunes.
When Gibson USA began producing Slingerland drums in Nashville in 1995, Walter Robert Jr. visited the facility for a firsthand look at the new operation. He served as a consultant to the publisher of the company history (The Slingerland Book) in 1996.
A memorial service and burial will be held at St Peter Lutheran Church of Schaumburg, Illinois, on May 4th, 2008, at 2:00 P.M.