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Micheal Dean Slack

micheal  slack

Micheal Dean Slack was born April 3, 1954, to Karl and Mabel Slack in Biloxi, Mississippi while his father was serving in the US Air Force. His family relocated shortly thereafter to his father’s hometown, LaGrange, IN, where Mike spent the rest of his childhood. He graduated from Lakeland High School (1972), and Ball State University where he received a B.A. (1976) and M.A. (1978) in English. During the summer of 1977, he met the love of his life, Mary Beth Gould, while working at the amusement park “Indiana Beach” in Monticello, IN. They married in 1978 and lived in Monticello, where Mike was an English teacher at Twin Lakes High School. Mike and Mary Beth moved to Washington, DC in 1985 where Mike joined the Foreign Service and served diplomatic tours in the Azores, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. His tenure for the Department of State ended in 2006, when he started the final chapter of his career in the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) under the Department of Defense until he retired in 2020.

Mike left an indelible mark on U.S. national security, developing and implementing novel policy solutions across the Department of Defense and interagency that would bridge gaps between the U.S. and international allies and partners. Mike led and nurtured innumerable DSCA programs/policies that resulted in making the Security Cooperation Enterprise more effective and efficient. A true professional with a unique combination of ingenuity, fierce integrity, passion, creativity, and intellectual curiosity, Mike was the expert that the Departments of Defense, State, and Commerce turned to when faced with complex international acquisition problems. The solutions that he provided revolutionized the way the U.S. conducts foreign military sales and are an enduring foundation for future innovations for which his colleagues, partners, the country and our international partners will reap benefits for years to come.

Mike was a devoted husband and father who loved nature, travel, mixology, delicious food, and humors of the highest and lowest brow. His passion, intellect, and kindness will be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife, Mary Beth, sons Schuyler and Patrick (Claudia), his father Karl, siblings Daniel (Diane), Sandy (Rustin), and Sally (Steve). Mike battled Acute Myeloid Leukemia for the last three-and-a-half years of his life. After a successful bone marrow transplant from his son, Patrick, in 2021, he lived for three more vivacious years until his cancer returned. In remembrance of Mike, please consider adding your name and DNA to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) registry so that you may save the life of someone with a similar illness ( Financial contributions in his honor may all be given to the NMDP. His family asks those who are able to give blood whenever possible so that leukemia patients like Mike may have time for their treatments to take effect.


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Memories Timeline


  1. Mike was a very nice, kind, and cordial man. He was extremely knowledgeable in his area of expertise. He will be greatly missed.

  2. Mike was a brilliant colleague that selflessly trained and mentored countless people throughout his career. He had a unique ability to take the most complex issues and explain them in a way for people to understand. It was amazing to listen to him describe an issue in a methodical manner and see people’s enlightenment.

    I always enjoyed working with Mike, but my fondest memories were the 21 days in July when Mike would passionately discuss each stage of the Tour de France, which became a Slack Family event. Amazingly, he knew all 176 cyclists, the most nuanced team tactics, and firmly stood behind his GC contender prediction. Mike would come to work with a few special quotes from Phil Liggett, the eccentric cycling commentator. The quotes were the wittiest and often overlooked by the casual viewer.

    We are all better people for Mike’s friendship and collegiality. He will be missed dearly.

  3. Mike was always available to help and mentor his colleagues. I was very fortunate to be mentored by Mike. He was not only available but he was kind and could recite paragraph and line of the policy or reference you would find the information he was providing. I needed pen and paper to insure I would get every bit of knowledge Mike was so adept in providing. I was happy for him when he retired and I am happy he did get time to enjoy the fruits of his labor with his family and friends. I am forever grateful for Mike and all the knowledge he shared and the lives he touched.
    Mike will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends for their loss.

  4. Any conversation with Mike made me feel not only more enlightened but respected and cherished. And each encounter felt remarkable because of who he was as a human and how the relationship seemed to grow with his nurturing. What a blessing to have spent some time with him, listened to his mesmerizing stories, and shared laughter. A Professor of How to Human Well.

  5. While I was still at State, Mike took the time to mentor and encourage me to make the switch to DSCA. He was brilliant when it came to policy details such as when he gave me the pros and cons (mostly cons) on the use of the CRAFT initiative. Mike was a very kind person, and I’m sadden to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with his family.

  6. Mike you have left an indelible mark on the security cooperation community and enterprise. You always had a helpful, can-do attitude and made it easy for Country Program Managers like me to come and ask for help while you so readily shared your extensive knowledge with us, your friends and colleagues. Well done on a life lived to the fullest, where your really did make a difference to so many.

    You will most definitely be missed. I am lifting your family up in prayer my friend.

  7. I am grateful to have been part of Mike’s extended family. I am awed by the significant influence of his work to benefit the safety our country. May God comfort his friends and family and bless their memories of him.

  8. Mike, as I knew him at Indiana Beach, was an awesome guy, Mr. Slack, as I knew him as my English teacher at Twin Lakes was even better. He taught me respect. He never called me Brian, he called me Mr Brock…even when I was a punk high schooler…and he made me call him Mr. Slack…even though I knew him at IB as Mike…respect was given, and returned…Mr. Slack, the world is dimmer without you😢

  9. I remember going to your wedding! I remember both of you from the Beach! My parents were Ralph and Mildred Price. I am so so sorry for your loss😞

  10. Sending prayers for his family and friends. He was a great teacher and will be missed by many!!

  11. Mr. Slack, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for the appreciation and love you afforded me in literature. You are the only person I can ever imagine who could make the Iliad something I looked forward to reading! I loved reading the classics through your vision. You were much more than a teacher—you were inspiration beyond any of my wildest dreams. You made me feel so smart and scholarly just by your presence. I am an English teacher now because of you. Since my first day of teaching, I have strived to be someone you would have been proud of. Unfortunately, I never had the confidence to share these feelings with you as a silly 16 year old. I think of you often! You definitely set my life in a direction I am so deeply grateful for. I pray for peace and acceptance for your friends and family in such difficult time.

  12. So sorry to hear this. I met Mike at Indiana Beach where we both worked in 1975 . A good guy gone too soon

  13. I have been fortunate to know Mike and his family since we served together in China in the early 1990s. Mike and Mary Beth enlivened the post with their sense of humor, openness to new experiences and personal warmth. As our friendship deepened over the years I came to see how kind and unselfish Mike was; he was always interested in other people and their ideas. I miss being with him.

  14. Mike was the nicest guy, the one you wanted to go to with a problem because he would take the time explain the issue and was willing to work with you to get to a solution……really nice guy.

  15. I had the privilege of being a student of Mr. Slack in his honors English class at Twin Lakes HS. He showed such care and concern for all students. His ease at poking fun of himself put all at ease. I attribute Mr. Slack and a letter he personally wrote to my mother with giving me the confidence and courage to pursue a college degree. Simply, he was the best! Thoughts and prayers to his family! 🙏

  16. We have known Mike and MaryBeth since 1987 when we first met in Seoul, South Korea. Our friendship remained secure over these many years by sharing our admiration for sons, Schuyler and Patrick, and by enjoying each other’s company over drinks and dinners at our homes and at fine restaurants. At the center of our cherished relationship was Mike.
    His keen intellect, global focus, easy manner, and quick wit enlivened each of our gatherings, and we shall miss him dearly.
    Rest in peace, dear Mike.

  17. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mike but I’m Sue he was a great guy! After all, Mary Beth lived him. My heart goes out to the family. Praying for your comfort.
    Love to all,
    Cousin Mary Ellen (Anderson) Wepfer

  18. So very sorry to hear this. Enjoyed my dealings with Mike while working at DSCA. True professional. Prayers for his family.

  19. We are saddened by the loss of such a wonderful man. He will truly be missed by so many. We were grateful to have you guys as neighbors and friends all these years.
    Sending our heartfelt condolences from our family to yours.

  20. So sorry about Mike’s passing was proud to have him as a brother in law he will be missed. Prayers for your family.

  21. My condolences to Mary Beth & your sons!

    Mr. Slack, I honor you! As the best English teacher ever, you taught me 9th and 11th and made sense out of Shakespeare and the Scarlett Letter like no one could. Thank you for your intelligence and kindness, especially at a time when I was struggling and discouraged!

    I hope you’re enjoying heaven and doing all you were created for by your Maker! Rest in peace!

  22. Mike, we never got to meet but i feel like i know you through Mary Beth. As you bravely fought the fight, i referred to you as “Magic Mike.” You gave so many a lot of hope. My heart goes out to your beautiful family. Rest in peace.

  23. “A great teacher is like a candle…. It consumes itself to light the way for others.” – Author Unknown

    What is your responsibility to your teacher? That was our first assignment from Mr. Slack in Freshman English.

    1980 classmates and I labored for the next few days on our “themes,” which in those days were handwritten on lined notebook paper — in cursive no less.

    Our attention-grabbing openings, our three main points and our pithy, concise conclusions amounted to just five paragraphs as we’d been taught by teachers before Mr. Slack.

    Memorizing spelling words. Reading assigned chapters. Showing up on time. Keeping wisecracks clean and to a minimum. Those were some of our likely main-point paragraphs.

    Now, years later, I realize Mr. Slack wanted us to think about what our responsibilities were not just as students, but as people.

    Respect. Honesty. Logic. Communication. Ethics. Participation. Endurance. Appreciation. Inclusion. Those were probably not mentioned among many of our themes – at least not directly.

    We’ll never know, because our first Freshman assigned writings were never graded nor returned, as I recall. Somehow, in his unique intellectual way, I think Mr. Slack used the exercise to learn as much about our expectations of a young teacher as he did to have us introduce ourselves and our thinking to him.

    When asked about the themes throughout the remainder of the academic year, he would brush it off with his usual long-fingered gesture, “I’m still looking through those. Alright?”

    Alright, Mr. Slack. I hope we made the grade and made you proud.

    Scott Minier
    Indianapolis, Indiana

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