Kevin J. Slater
On November 15, 2013, SDG Systems lost one of its team members. Kevin J. Slater, a Principal Engineer, left this world after a battle with cancer. To me -- to all of us at SDG -- Kevin was a friend, a co-worker, and brother (fellow saint!). He was always willing to help others and was well-respected and liked by all. Though Kevin had not worked at SDG for the past 18 months due to his illness, we all still considered him one of our own.
As a friend, Kevin and I enjoyed many conversations about common interests, both of us being geeks at heart. We talked about computers, audio/video, software, guitars and more. Kevin was a tinkerer. Anita, his wife, referred to him as a “serial hobbyist". He had a curiosity about how things worked, and dove into different projects, including his Vespa, cars, wind-surfing and others. Kevin regularly talked about the latest technology. I knew he was “hard-core” when I heard him talk about his MythTV box at home. Kevin had a great laugh, and had fun showing me hilarious YouTube videos, like Brian Regan. He was fun to be around. My family spent time in his home and his family in mine. Our children are friends, so we were able to see each other outside of work fairly often. It was and is a blessing to my family.
Kevin once told me working for SDG Systems was his dream job -- small business, technology company, focused on cutting-edge technology like Android, working with other Believers, and writing software. He was a leader at work, often helping others by providing direction to the junior engineers and working with others to get to the bottom of a difficult problem. Kevin was instrumental in the implementation of Linux on the Trimble Yuma. He once demonstrated the product for us, which is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfAaRYV5Zrs. Our private engineering chat room is used heavily because we are geographically distributed. Kevin set the chat room subject to the following verse: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)”. That subject remains for everyone to see when we log into the ‘everyone’ room. It demonstrates Kevin’s heart, dedication and leadership. Kevin’s son, Jay, works for SDG Systems, and we are a glad to have him as part of our team.
Kevin continued to embrace life in the midst of cancer. He had a positive attitude that was an encouragement, and sometimes rebuke, to us all. He trusted in God, and accepted the outcome as part of God’s plan. As a brother in Christ, we prayed together. He prayed for the needs of other team members and for the success of SDG. We had some good theological discussions over our company lunches. We didn’t agree on everything (who does?), but we discussed topics with grace. We did agree on many areas, including the Gospel message. Kevin would want you to believe that God did not send His Son, Jesus, into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. It was God’s love that sent Jesus to the cross. Jesus died, was laid in a tomb and rose from the dead to pay for your sins (John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Today, Kevin’s health is fully restored. He is enjoying eternal life with his beloved Savior and the many saints who have preceded him in death. For those of us who remain, and believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, we take comfort in Psalm 23. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Kevin, we look forward to seeing you again, in the presence and perfection of the King. Until then, we will miss you.