Never in a million years did I think I’d be charged with the task of writing my own father’s obituary but that’s how it goes sometimes and when it was finally finished and sent off into the world, my only thought was that I hope my words honor him in the way he deserves cause I can tell y’all one thing is for sure…Big George LIVED his life!
Here it is.
June 7th, 1946 – August 26, 2016
George Thomas Scott Sluppick of Natchitoches, Louisiana (also known as “Big George”) a Viet Nam War veteran, died of lung disease on August 26, 2016. He was 70 years old. Born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1946, the oldest of six children, his parents George Sr. & Florence Sluppick raised him as a farmhand for several years before relocating the family to Memphis, Tennessee. Dropping out of high school, he enlisted into the U.S. Army in March of 1964, just a few months before his 18th birthday. His first assignment was in Korea, where he stayed for ten months before being reassigned to Viet Nam. In 1965 he served with the 57th Assault Helicopter Company, known as the Gladiators under the command of Gen. Hugh Smith as a Huey helicopter crew chief & gunner and later as a truck master on convoys. He survived the Tet Offensive of 1968 but was unfortunately exposed to Agent Orange, which later led to his lung disease.
Post war he married twice, fathered four children and was the credit manager for Merck, Sharp & Dhome pharmaceutical company in Memphis. For more than 20 years, he worked tirelessly, maintaining a busy schedule moonlighting at several jobs, raising his kids and attending night school at Shelby State Community College, where he received his associates degree and was elected into the Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. In addition to fronting his own band, the Tennessee Blues Connection, as bassist and singer, George was also an active member of the Memphis Blues Society. As production & stage manager for the Blues Amateur Talent Contest in the 1980’s, he helped usher-in hundreds of blues artists from all over the world.
In 1990, he met Judy Jones who lived in Natchitoches and they were married on October 6th. Relocating from Memphis, Big George very quickly immersed himself into the community there, devoting himself to his church and to the people. He and Judy were owners of For Heaven’s Sake Christian bookstore for several years until he got into radio, a life-long dream of his. As news reporter on KNOC and the host of Talk Back Natchitoches for more than ten years, he helped in the establishment of the Radio M*A*S*H* (Make A Smile Happen) Radio-thon, a fundraiser for needy children during Christmas. He was also a very active member of The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, one of the world’s largest and most impactful fundraisers to help end Cancer.
George is survived by his wife, Judy Sluppick, his brothers, Saro & Michael Sluppick, his sister, Juanita Zientara, his children, George Sluppick, Dawne Woods, Audra May, Darrell Jones & Laura Bishop, his grandchildren, Hannah Grace Woods, Chelsea Rose Joy, Jessica Roach & Zachary Bishop and his great grandchildren, Olivia Rose Joy & Keegan Woods.
Big George was loved & adored by everyone who knew him and he will surely be missed.
Love you, Pop.