Eugene P. (Gene) Slay
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
1993 - 2011
Over 65 years ago, Gene Slay learned firsthand the positive influence the Boys’ Club can have on young lives. He became a member when just a boy himself as the club’s former home was within walking distance of the Slay home on Hickory Street. Gene spent many of his after-school and weekend hours there, lifting weights, playing sports, and socializing with friends. He nurtured his enthusiasm for wrestling and to this day he still holds the club record of pinning an opponent in 15 seconds. Gene went on to become a Missouri State and Ozark A.A.U. Wrestling Champion.
He received an athletic scholarship to St. Louis University. However, with adulthood came the duty to his country and World War II was in its final months. Gene was drafted and from 1945 to 1947, he was in the 7th Division of the United States Army, serving his tour of duty in Korea and Japan.
After army life, Gene worked side-by-side with his father, building the family business, which his father started in the 1920s. Slay played an active role as Chairman and CEO of Slay Industries, a leading company in our country’s trucking, logistics, warehousing, intermodal and waterways barge operations. He married a wonderful woman, Joan, and they have been blessed with 7 beautiful children and 12 grandchildren. Looking back, Gene knew he was very fortunate as a child. He came from a loving family and his father passed on many of his fine attributes. He never forgot his youthful days at the Boys’ Club. The values instilled by his father and reinforced by the Boys’ Club benefited Gene throughout his life.
With the growing number of single-parent homes continuously rising and his compassionate understanding of the hardships and difficulties these families face, Slay became a generous contributor and supporter of many children’s charities. He demonstrated his civic pride and concern for the community by serving on a number of boards including St. Jude Hospital, Normandy Osteopathic Hospital, ALSAC (Aiding Leukemia Stricken Children) St. Louis Zoo, Variety Club of St. Louis, St. Louis Ambassadors, Christian Brothers High School, and the Boys Club of St. Louis. Gene’s kindheartedness for the misfortune of others went beyond boardrooms. Anonymous cash gifts to charitable efforts such as Old Newsboys Day were always on his agenda. And if someone—a little down on his or her luck—had a chance encounter with Gene, his generosity was known to go beyond providing a good meal.
Gene’s true passion, however, was The Boys’ Club. He was elected as a director to the Boys’ Club of St. Louis on December 11, 1973. By the late 1970s the Board wanted to expand the club’s athletic fields and asked Gene to chair the committee and raise $35,000 for the expansion. Gene readily agreed, but had one condition: he didn’t want to raise $35,000—he wanted to raise $500,000—and he did!
In 1993, Slay was elected President and until his passing in 2011, was unanimously re-elected by the board. His determination to make the Boys’ Club financially self-sustaining was ignited by his passion to make a difference in boys’ lives today and for future generations to come.
During his inaugural year as President, Gene launched the first Boys’ Club of St. Louis Golf Classic. With Gene’s generous support and the philanthropic support of his friends in the business and political communities, the annual tournament has become the club’s major fundraiser. On the anniversary of the 10th Annual Golf Classic, Gene summarized his life’s mission for the Boys’ Club; “We have stood together for ten years supporting the valuable programs of the Boys’ Club of St. Louis. Our tournament sponsors, hole sponsors, advertisers, donors, and golfers ensure that this organization can continue to help boys and young men reach their potential – physically, intellectually, and emotionally while having fun in a safe environment.” Slay has been General Chairman of the golf classic since its inception. In March 2006, the golf classic was renamed the Gene Slay’s Boys’ Club of St. Louis Annual Golf Classic to recognize Gene for his devotion and hard work. The monies raised go into an endowment fund to offset the operations and services of the club.
In May 2006, to honor Eugene P. Slay, who dedicated his life to making things better for the kids, the club was renamed the Gene Slay’s Boys’ Club of St. Louis. In addition to maintaining the current program levels, the board is planning expansion of the overcrowded gymnasium and the development of educational scholarships to help youngsters go on to college or vocational school. Slay truly believed that “No Man Stands So Tall That He Can’t Stoop To Help A Boy.”