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Obituary for Jay R. Slesarenko

April 24, 1952 – July 7, 2023

Jay R. Slesarenko, age 71, of Racine, passed away at his home on Friday, July 7, 2023. He was born on April 24, 1952, in Racine, a son of Fred and Lorretta (nee: Reisenauer) Slesarenko.

Jay R. Slesarenko
Jay R. Slesarenko

Jay was a 1970 graduate of Case High School and served our country in the US Army during the Vietnam War. He was employed with Case Corp. for 15 years and retired from SC Johnson Co. in 2014 after 25 years of service.

He was known by many names, including Robby, Bones, Sles, Roman, J-Bird, Bongo and Stalker. (Sorry, Dad, not including that other nickname.) His self-proclaimed greatest moment in life was when he was reunited with his daughter in 2000. He enjoyed softball, fishing, hunting, scuba diving, golfing, riding his motorcycle, shooting “sporties”, and bowling.

As a young man, he enjoyed his trips to the Wind Point Lighthouse to watch the submarine races. His great passion was found in skydiving, where he served as a jumpmaster, and was on four state skydiving records. Jay was a member of POPS (Parachutists Over Phorty), SOS (Skydivers Over Sixty), the Moose Lodge and Skydive Milwaukee (retired).

Jay was an extraordinarily generous person with a great sense of humor. His zest for life was unparalleled. He was a loving father to his daughter and all his fur babies. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed.

Survivors include his daughter, Anh (John) Gross; grandsons, Iain Gross and Aaron Gross; brother, Gary (Alice) Slesarenko; nephew, Matthew (Donna) Slesarenko; niece, Sarah (Billy) Aldridge; niece, Carrie (Dave Harris) Laehr; niece, Kristine (Constance) Slesarenko-Borjes; brother-in-law, John Helland; several great-nieces and great-nephews; special friends, Patty King (Chewee’s Mom) and Jon Eeg; his dog, Buddy; and many other family and friends.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Lynn (nee: Slesarenko) Helland; nephew, Fredrick Laehr; and his dogs: Toby, Mickey, Foots, Lady and Chewee.


Jay’s Celebration of Life service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 13, 2023, at the Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home followed by military honors. A visitation will take place on Thursday from 4:30 p.m. until the time of the service. Inurnment will be held in Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial remembrances to H.O.P.E Safehouse animal shelter, 1234 Lathrop Ave., Racine, WI 53405, would be appreciated.

Obituary and photo courtesy of Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home.

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