William "Bill" Slanger

William D. Slanger was born October 9, 1944 in Baker, Montana to Benjamin Slanger of Montana and Josephine Comfort Slanger of Wilmette, Illinois. At the end of second grade he moved to a small ranch that provided an environment in which he developed tremendous courage, then a large capacity for work, and then an endurance of focus. He graduated from Dillon Beaverhead County high school of Southwest Montana 1963. A baccalaureate of Animal Science from Montana State University was obtained 1967. Marie Marchington of Gardiner, Montana and William were married July 11, 1970. Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY followed in 1972 and 1975. He was hired as an assistant professor of Animal Sciences in 1975 by North Dakota State University. He worked his way through the professorship ranks to full-professor in 1987, then Interim Dean of the Graduate School for five years and then in 2000 Director of Institutional Research and Analysis, a job for which he was well-suited. From 2003 through 2007 he was an Examiner and then Senior Examiner for the national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. A serious countenance masked a clever sense of humor and a delight in occasionally making fun of himself. Sons Robert William; James Eric; and Daniel Lee were born 1976 through 1981. William and Marie parented in full instinctive partnership with equal 100% commitment to providing the best parenting for these sons they personally could provide. All three are one of the best in their diverse, chosen professional fields and are loving, caring, and supportive of their families, friends, and acquaintances. William liked to be involved. He was usually contributing at low to medium levels to church, Boy Scouts of America, or Rotary International. He is thankful for the socialization these many interactions provided him. From 2003 through 2013 he worked on a weekly basis with the New Sudanse Community Association, which, with Marie’s vital contributions, was awarded $200,000 of competitive money for leadership training and community organization. This experience provided opportunities to meet international persons of indomitable spirit. He is survived by Marie, sons Robert (Carrie Luiken), James (Gretchen Steffenson), and Daniel; grandchildren Mack, Ellie , Mason and Nora Slanger, brother George, and nephews Brian and Marc Slanger. A memorial suggestion is Rotary Foundation

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Memories Timeline


  1. Marie and family,
    Love to you all. Bill was such a good and kind person, smart and generous, introspective and occasionally, very, very funny. My life is richer for having him part of it. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  2. I would trust anything Bill said or did as 100% honorable. I throughly enjoyed hiking in the Montana high country with the Boy Scouts and he was the most adult of the 4 adult leaders. ( sorry Barry and Chuck heehee ). He shared how exciting it was for him to travel by train from open Montana to heavily populated Illinois as a boy and I was amazed listening to the large # and varied amount of contrasts his great mind absorbed and conveyed so well to me. He also said how lucky we both were that our wives were always smiling, so Marie I will honor him for making me pause to appreciate my wife and to tell you what a sweet compliment he gave you!

  3. Marie and family,
    Lee and I send our deepest sympathy to you all. Bill was a devoted professor and family man and will be missed at NDSU and in the community. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with your whole family as you adjust to this loss. Wishing you peace…

  4. We were sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I enjoyed working with Bill and Marie at NDSU and Ed enjoyed the Boy Scout connection. Prayers and love being sent to Marie and the boys.

  5. Marie and family,
    I was so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I want to express my sympathy and let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all. I worked with Bill for over 10 years at NDSU and he was the best boss ever.

  6. Marie and Family,
    What a great picture of Bill. He was great friend in High School and though we drifted apart, I was pleased that we had an opportunity to reconnect during our 50th reunion. He will be missed but we know he is smiling down on us from a much better place. Our heart felt sympathy to you all.

  7. Marie, Although I did not know Bill, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

  8. Marie and Boys,

    I worked with Bill at NDSU and am so saddened by his passing. He had a brilliant mind, was wholeheartedly dedicated to making NDSU the most effective institution it could be, and was proud beyond measure of his boys. Bill was a wonderful colleague and I will miss him very much.


  9. Marie and Family–I had the opportunity to work with Bill at NDSU. He also graciously agreed to be a member of my doctoral committee. When he retired and was no longer able to serve on the committee he was concerned that I find a good replacement. I so appreciated his support as a mentor and a colleague. Know that he will certainly be in my thoughts when I finally get my degree! I also appreciated his sense of humor and always felt accomplished when I captured something funny he had to say. He allowed me to live vicariously through him when he attended Oprah’s farewell, sharing his experience and even bringing a souvenir back for me to keep. I will always hold him in high regard and think of him fondly. Know that you are all in my thoughts.

  10. Marie and family:

    I wanted to let you know what Bill taught me. In the fall of 1977 I was one of his first two and only undergraduate advisees, ever. Brad Lewis was the other and he is an associate pastor at First Assembly here in Fargo. Bill was tireless in his devotion to us, and it showed. Not by words, but through actions. We knew he cared. He was also straightforward. At the beginning of my junior year I expressed my intentions to change my direction from going back to the farm to going to vet school. This was at the beginning of the farm depression of the 1980’s. He looked at my grades, he looked at me, he looked back at my grades and then back at me and said “You will have to get an A in everything you do from now on. Can you focus?” He did not sugarcoat it or try to dissuade me, he called it like it was. Bill taught me to focus, a trait he had. When I returned to NDSU in 1996, Bill was one of the first to welcome me. And not as a student, but as a colleague. Bill was the consummate professional, and friend. He treated people with respect. So, thank you for sharing Bill with us at NDSU.

  11. We are lucky to be close relatives. We thank all the family for sharing their great lives with us.

  12. I had the privilege of working with Bill, at his request, on several campus research projects at NDSU. I greatly enjoyed the experience and his focus on getting the project done right. He was both a great listener and a great questioner–the best kind of person with whom to work. I could spot his hat moving across campus from a mile away and knew that there was a very good person underneath.

  13. Marie and family,

    You have all been in my thoughts and definitely have my prayers headed your way. I feel like I knew Bill thru all of our Saturday morning conversations. I hope you know I am always here to lend an ear or a shoulder to lean on my friend. Take care and remember you now have one more guardian angel watching over you all even though he was taken from you way too soon.

  14. Marie and Family,

    Thoughts, prayers, and condolences on the passing of Dr. Slanger. I met him while taking courses on the institutional analysis track in the NDSU Education Doctoral Program. He helped introduce me to the Association for Institutional Research in the Upper Midwest (AIRUM). I enjoyed visiting with him while I was enrolled at NDSU and on several occasions after completing my doctorate. His insight, guidance, and very kind demeanor were notable and will be missed.

  15. Bill will be so missed. He was that rare kind of person who works tirelessly behind the scenes to get things done, even when there isn’t fanfare or glory involved. He didn’t miss a thing, and was very helpful in running the books for the FM Rotary Foundation, through which Project English was funded. He was very encouraging as I was getting Project English off the ground, and his commitment to New Americans was unwavering. It was always obvious there was so much deep thinking going on behind those kind, soft eyes of Bill’s, and it was always a pleasure to talk to him because one always left the conversation feeling enlightened. It is clearly one of Bill’s last laughs that his obituary says that he was only moderately involved at Fargo Rotary Club, as he gave so much. His self-deprecatory humor was one of a kind. I think of Bill often, and Fargo Rotary Club will never be the same without him.

  16. Marie & Sons,
    This was a shock!
    I’ve known Bill since I came to NDSU in the fall of ’96 from Colorado Springs and I always admired his energy & drive to get things done and done right! He was the guy with the facts and figures about NDSU, and one just knew that he had them correct. But I think the thing about Bill that I will always remember was his smile when he was springing that dry sense of humor on one. It showed that he really enjoyed sharing the joy of laughter. We all need more of that.

  17. I knew Bill as a quiet man who always seemed to be on the go. While at Gethsemane Bill and I “job shared” teaching Sunday School for a couple of years. After Bill’s Sunday, my son Joey was always pleased to receive a small note in the mail from him along with a stick of gum. The note always thanked my son for being in his class and wished him a happy week. Small note. Simple words. Huge impact. I can’t help but think that Bills time at NDSU, along with his other various volunteer work, didn’t also make a huge impact in other people’s lives. I feel blessed to have known him.

  18. Dear Marie,

    My sympathy to you and your family. I had the pleasure of working with Bill on many projects at NDSU over the years, and appreciated his dedication, loyalty, and high standards .Every once and a while, I’d get a glimpse of his sense of humor which was such a joy! He will be missed.

  19. Bill was the kind of man Frank Capra liked to write screenplays about. You know, the quiet, unassuming fellow who changes the world around him for the better and no one seems to notice, not even himself. Except Bill was a bit smarter, so he knew. He just liked to keep it on the down low. Not that I ever got him to admit it. But a couple of years ago I asked a few professors what effect they thought Bill’s work might have had on NDSU over the years. “Profound,” “immeasurable,” and similar accolades were thrown around, not words I was used to hearing from these folks. One day over lunch with Bill, I couldn’t resist telling him what I’d heard. He wasn’t surprised. Maybe a bit embarrassed and uncomfortable, but not surprised. And NDSU was just Bill’s professional sphere of activity; he was equally accomplished with his family life and in his community. It really doesn’t get better than that: Leaving lots of lives tremendously improved in your wake. I’m grateful mine was one of them, and glad Bill knew the beneficial effect he’d had, and continues to have in his wake, on so many of us. Godspeed, Bill Slanger, and thank you for a life very well lived.

  20. Bill’s last faculty visit during his interview trip to NDSU was with me in Walster Hall, room 353. It had been a long day and he was clearly worn out. That did not prevent Bill from completing an interesting and wide-ranging discussion where he shared his background and interests. Fast-forward several years and Bill and I had adjoining offices in Morrill Hall where he was the Director of Institutional Research and Analysis. We walked together to and from weekly meetings with Provost Schnell where Bill shared his latest analyses related to his position. Bill was a highly-motivated professional who essentially “told it like it was” while knowing that some information would be more welcome than other scenarios. Bill was correctly proud of activities unrelated to his responsibilities at NDSU. To Marie, their sons, and their extended family: Jean and I would like to extend our condolences and also wish each of you the very best in the future.

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