Slaback, Lecil Joel 1912-2013Lecil (Lee to friends) passed away the morning of Saturday, June 22, 2013 in Anaheim. A third generation Santa Anan, he was born in the W. Pine St. home of his parents Lester and Laura Huntington Slaback. He was preceded in death by his brother Stanley Slaback, sister Lela Green, and son James Slaback. He married Neva Rodreick in 1939, making their home on N. Olive St. They celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary just days before his death. He is survived by his wife Neva and son Thomas Slaback.
Lecil received his schooling at Lathrop Jr. High (where he first met Neva), Santa Ana High, Santa Ana College, and the Stenotype Institute of Los Angeles (commuting daily by Pacific Electric “Red Car”.) He followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming an Official Court Reporter in 1936 for the Orange County Courts, serving for 36 years in that capacity. He was the first to use mechanical shorthand in Orange County. He served honorably as a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII. Just after the war he bought property in Silverado Canyon along the creek. Most weekends thereafter he would be found improving the land with his impressive stone work construction skills, building walls, walks, stairways, bridge abutments, and a massive outdoor combination fireplace/grill/sink for family picnics. For the kids he built a dream tree house in Buck’s Oak Tree which was accessed by a ship’s bridge ladder, and complete with fold down Navy bunks. In 1968 the family moved into their new home and officially considered themselves “Silveradoans.”While working as a court reporter Lecil also served on the City of Santa Ana Cultural Heritage Commission, served 2 terms as trustee on the Santa Ana Library Board, and was appointed by Governor Reagan to 2 terms on the California Consumer Affairs Board, representing the Board in investigations of court reporting schools throughout the State. Following retirement he was appointed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors to the newly created OC Historical Commission, serving for 21 years. At the Commission’s first meeting it was voted to make the preservation of the Old Courthouse their number one project. He chaired the Commission’s sub-committee to save the structure from the wrecking ball, turning it into a museum. He was a founding member of The Old Courthouse Museum Society. The Old Courthouse Library was recently named in his honor. Lecil was also proud to have worked on the Commission to save some 250 large, ancient live oak and sycamore trees in Irvine Park from being cut down to make way for road building. He served as master of ceremonies at the Commission’s first placement of a monument commemorating historical sites, held at the old mining camp of Carbondale in Silverado Canyon. Lecil was a member of the Silverado-Modjeska General Plan Committee. The plan created the Foothill Corridor Advisory Committee, on which he served. Lecil chaired the Justice Committee while serving as a member of the 1976-77 OC Grand Jury. At the same time he served on the OC Cable TV Advisory Committee. He was also a member of the OC Bicentennial Committee of the United States Constitution and the Committee to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the County of Orange, contributing an article on court reporting to the time capsule buried in front of the Old Courthouse in 1989.Lecil loved the outdoors, first hunting, fishing, and camping by packing in with his father into the high Sierras, then car camping with his family, touring the west with a travel trailer, and finally in a small motor home. He could frequently be found in his beloved Yosemite, outdoors at his typewriter working on some historical project. Lecil was an accomplished musician, having started out on the accordion and graduating to larger and larger electronic organs. He adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “The Swing” to music. A copy was always on display on the music rack of his organ in the apartment at Walnut Village where he and Neva moved to in 1997, and where he passed away: “…Up in the air and over the wall, Till I can see so wide, River and trees and cattle and all Over the countryside- Till I look down on the garden green, Down on the roof so brown- Up in the air I go flying again, Up in the air and down!” Lecil was interred next to his parents in Fairhaven Memorial Park on June 28. No services were held “pursuant to expressed wishes of the decedent. If there should be any with an inclination to express sentiment in a substantive way, I suggest a donation to the Old Courthouse Museum Society to be utilized for maintenance and additions to the Court Reporter Office exhibit.” Old Courthouse Museum Society211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. Santa Ana, CA 92701