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Chief Donald "Doc" Slyter
May 25, 1951 ~ November 4, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old
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A Celebration of Life for Chief Donald “Doc” Slyter, of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, November 18, at the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians Community Center & Tribal Hall located at 338 Wallace Street in Coos Bay. A meal will be provided immediately following.
Don was born May 25, 1951 in North Bend, Oregon, the son of Donald Slyter and Carolyn (Carlson) Slyter and passed away at his home surrounded by his family on November 4, 2023. After a long battle with cancer, he left this world to rejoin the Creator.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald “Tuffy” and Carolyn Slyter and in-laws, Jerry and Loretta Farrens. He is survived by his wife, Debbie and sons, Tyler Slyter and Scott Slyter; sister, Debbie Bossley and brother-in-law, Bob; sister-in-law, Connie Reid and brother-in-law, Paul. Grandchildren, Reece Slyter, Ryan Hirschbock and Mallory Hirschbock; nephews, Rusty Bossley and Cody Workman and wife Amber; nieces, Mindy Andresen and husband, Keith, Katie Workman and Kysha Bossley; great-nephews, Bryson Bossley and Ryan Andresen and great-niece, Kaya Carter and extended family, Nikki and Bobby Hirschbock.
Don grew up in Coos Bay and graduated from Marshfield High School in 1970. He was an avid surfer throughout high school and was drafted right after graduation, serving 2 years in the United States Army. After his military service, Don met Debbie and the two were married on August 4, 1973. Don’s work career included 3 -Sons Logging, mechanic at Automotive Electric, mechanic at Verger Chevrolet, and finally retiring from Verizon Telephone in 2007 after 291/2 years.
Don was Hanis Coos, a descendant of the Jordan Family and elected Chief of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. Don’s commitment and participation in the Tribes spanned over five decades. His work was instrumental with the Pre-Restoration Council to help get a bill passed through Congress and signed by the President of the United States to reinstate the Confederated Tribes in 1984. Recently, he was present for the Tribes’ 39th Restoration Celebration held at Three Rivers Casino in Florence.
His lifelong involvement with the Tribes included being elected to Tribal Council since Restoration in 1984-1987, then again in April 2015-April 2019, re-elected for a second term April 2019-April 2020 and becoming Chief in April 2020 after running unopposed. Doc served on several committees which included the Elder’s Committee, Housing Committee, Budget Committee and currently was a member of the Gaming Facility Operation Review Board, Tribal Cultural Committee, Elakha Alliance and the Lakeside Water Task Force. He also had been involved with the Amanda Trail project in Yachats since 2009.
Since recognition, Chief Doc had worked continuously with local, state and government agencies to better his Tribes. Not only was he involved with his Tribes, but he also played the Native American Flute. He was a flute maker, player and composer. He produced a CD with traditional and original songs in 2013, including a song he wrote for his wife titled “Debbie”. He gave an ‘Introduction to Native American Flutes’ presentation for several local schools, community organizations and state organizations. Doc was asked to play his flute for one of the daily opening ceremonies at the State Capital in Salem in May 2009 and played his flute on stage at the local community live theatre for a Veteran’s Day program. For several years he played his flute at the annual Coquille Indian Tribe Salmon Celebration held at The Mill Casino.
His many friends remember him as being a kind and gentle person that embraced his Tribal heritage and was eager to share his culture with all.
Don was well known for this simple, but encouraging quote:
“get rid of your negative energy and move forward in a positive way”.
In lieu of flowers the family asks donations be sent to Chief “Doc” Slyter Education Scholarship, c/o Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, 1245 Fulton Ave., Coos Bay, OR 97420 or Elakha Alliance, PO Box 704, Siletz, OR 97380 or online www.elakhaalliance.org
Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com