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Dale Sleezer: Non-stop at nearly 90

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"If you find a job you like, you never have to work another day in your life."

Those are the words of advice Dale Sleezer Sr. had to offer, and by the looks of his social calendar, he seems to have found a few jobs he enjoys.

Sleezer, who will turn 90-years-young in November, can be seen at nearly every Cherokee County Cattlemen's event, undeterred by the heat of the summer as he mans the grill, flipping rib-eyes and burgers.

Dale Sleezer can be seen manning the grill at nearly every Cherokee County Cattlemen's event. Here, he is hard at work during the CCC's annual steak fry at the Quimby Golf Club. Photo by Katie Carnes
"I'm still a member of the Cattlemen's board, and I figured I've been a member for nearly 21 years now," said Sleezer before he added with a smile, "so I've had a little practice working the grill."

Sleezer takes that experience with him each year as he helps grill in the Relay for Life event in Cherokee.

"About 10 years ago, I heard the organizers talking that they found someone to donate hotdogs for the event, but they couldn't find anybody to donate beef," said Sleezer. "I didn't think that was quite right, so I decided to donate the meat myself."

He continues to donate the beef each year.

"It's for such a good cause," said Sleezer. "The first year, I donated two boxes of meat, and this year, we cooked four boxes and still ran out," said Sleezer with a chuckle. "It's nice to see the support."

In addition to those events, Sleezer also uses his grilling experience to help out the Cherokee County Pork Producers.

"One of my sons is real big in the Cherokee County Pork Producers," said Sleezer, "so I help them out when they need extra help."

It's no surprise that Sleezer supports both organizations as he and his son raise both hogs and cattle on the Sleezer family farm in rural Aurelia.

"I live just 1/4 mile from where I grew up," explained Sleezer.

And he has worked that land for quite some time.

"I began farming back in 1942, during World War II," remembered Sleezer. "I was granted a deferral, because during my first few years of farming, I was renting the farmland."

After several years of renting, Sleezer came back to work on the family farm.

At that time, Sleezer remembers that cattle, hogs, chickens and horses were all present on the farm scene.

"When I started farming, we still used horses for the farm work," explained Sleezer. "I was raised around horses, and my four kids were raised around them as well."

A lifetime of horse experiences led Sleezer to be a long-time member of the Cherokee Saddle Club.

"I always found riding horses and being a part of the Saddle Club to be real enjoyable," said Sleezer.

Before long, some of the horse-work was eliminated after the family bought their first tractor, a Farmall H.

"Back then, we only used the tractor for a few jobs, the cultivating and such," explained Sleezer. "It wasn't much like today."

While sharing memories of growing up during the Depression and his early days of farming, Sleezer recalled performing a full-day's work for 50 cents and staying busy because it was "just what you did."

When asked how he still manages to stay so busy still today, Sleezer laughed and responded, "I'm lucky I've got my health," and after a slight pause and a smile, "and I guess I've had a little luck along with way, too."

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