Barbara Jane (Chockley) Slaton, 60, of Knoxville, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at 1:05 PM, on Friday, January 8, 2021, at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
Born on August 29, 1960, in Rushville, Barb was the second daughter of Richard and Sandra (Sipes) Chockley. She married Douglas Slaton on August 13, 1983, and is survived by him
Also surviving are three children: Laith D. Slaton of Knoxville, John R. (Lauren) Slaton of Gilson, and Rae Anne Slaton of Knoxville, sister Donna (Phillip) Slaton of Galesburg, brother Rod Chockley (Debbie Lindsey) of Rushville, father-in-law John C. Slaton of Rushville, two aunts, several nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents and mother-in-law, Barbara Slaton.
Barb graduated Rushville High School with the Class of 1978. Her first jobs included working at Kozy Korner and Snyder’s Vaughn-Haven Nursing Home, where she met some of her lifelong friends. After starting her family, she became a stay-at-home mom. Barb later continued her education at Western Illinois University, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Education followed by a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Throughout her career, she taught at several schools in the Knoxville and Galesburg school districts. Barb found her calling as a special education teacher. Her patience and ability to connect with even the most challenging of pupils was almost magical. Mrs. Slaton had an amazing rapport with her students; the impressions she made went far beyond the classroom and lasted a lifetime. After 20 years as an educator, Barb retired in 2018.
As a parent, Barb was always involved in her children’s lives. From being a room mom to coaching the geography bowl team, she took every opportunity to enrich their education and encourage their extracurricular activities. She loved socializing with students and colleagues while working the basketball and volleyball games. Many of her weekends were spent volunteering at Galesburg Road Runners Club events, registering runners and assisting with race results. Barb’s enthusiasm for team trivia led to her organizing the yearly fundraiser for the Knoxville fireworks display: Big Bang Trivia Nights. Photography became a passion for her, you could always count on Barb to capture that ‘special moment’ (whether you wanted her to or not). She and Doug enjoyed taking the convertible on aimless automotive adventures, stopping to take photos and searching for the best tenderloin sandwich.
Barb loved to have fun and lived for a good time. Her infectious sense of humor and quick wit made her the life of any party. Whether it was a quick hand of cards or a lengthy game of trivial pursuit, she loved games, and socializing with those that were close to her. Barb adored her cats and dog. From orphaned raccoons to baby camels, she had a soft spot for critters of all types. The annual weenie roast that she hosted was one of her favorite opportunities to connect with family and friends. The yearly Pop Pop shopping trip with the women of the Chockley family was the holiday that she looked forward to most. Spearheading both class and family reunions, she never missed an opportunity to connect anytime she was near. No Thanksgiving or Christmas would be complete without her pickle roll-ups, deviled eggs, and egg noodles. While Barb was never able to keep any plant alive, she tended a thriving garden of family and friends.
Services will be at 1:00 PM, Saturday, January 16, 2021, at the Wood Funeral Home in Rushville, with Ron Hall officiating. A visitation will be held from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Friday, January 15, 2021, at the Wood Funeral Home. Mask and social distancing will be required. Memorials are suggested to St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital or the American Cancer Society.