'Larger than life': Former superintendent recalled for raising standards in Barrington schools

This article has been updated to reflect tthat Clyde Slocum received his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Illinois.

Clyde Slocum, the former longtime superintendent of Barrington Community Unit School District 220, is being remembered for combining a zest for life with a mastery of school administration.

Slocum, who served as the district's top administrator from 1979-1992, died from congestive heart failure July 3 in Downers Grove, said his daughter, Carolyn Slocum.

Stevenson Mountsier, former District 220 school board president, called Slocum a "top-drawer administrator" who upgraded the district's educational standards from a 'C' grade level to an 'A.'

"He had very high standards," Mountsier said.

Slocum had a great personality and worked well with the teachers, Mountsier added, but also would not back down to the teachers union when he believed it served the district's best interests. Such was the case when teachers briefly went on strike in the 1980s.

"He would sit down and negotiate and work out the problems," Mountsier said.

During Slocum's tenure, school facilities were updated and district voters approved a $10.8 million referendum to build a new middle school, which opened in 1992.

Carolyn Slocum said her father was a man of many interests and varied travels.

Born in Echo, Minnesota, he graduated from Redwood Falls High School. An outstanding athlete, he was a member of the 1947 Minnesota all-state high school football team.

He received a bachelor's degree in history from Carleton College and his master's degree and doctorate in education from the University of Illinois.

His educational career included a stint at U.S. Department of Defense schools in England and Turkey, and Illinois public schools in Urbana and Evanston Township. He was deputy superintendent at New Trier Township High School and superintendent in Tenafly, New Jersey, before landing in Barrington.

Among his passions were champagne - for its celebratory nature, his daughter said - and fly-in fishing.

"He was kind of always larger than life," she said.

He was fond of traveling and family vacations, often linked with his love of history. Carolyn Slocum recalls trips down two-lane highways with frequent stops to examine historical markers.

Slocum had a penchant for military history, paying particular attention to the Civil War and World War II. His daughter recalls one time he described the World War II North Africa campaign to his then 5-year-old grandson, Eli.

"And my son loved it. He lapped it up," she said.

In retirement, Slocum merged his love of travel with education by working for international and defense department school accrediting agencies, taking trips to Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East.

Slocum is survived by brother Laurie Slocum, sons Brian and Craig, daughter Carolyn, wife, Anne Roberts, former wife Marjorie Slocum, grandsons Eli and Paul, granddaughter Maren, and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Slocum Scholarship Fund at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

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