Press Room

May 30, 2017

In Memoriam of our founder: Charles B. Slack

THOROFARE, NJ — Charles B. Slack, founder of Charles B. Slack Incorporated, which later became SLACK Incorporated and the Wyanoke Group, publisher of many health care titles including, died on May 27 at the age of 87 years.

Slack was the founder of a company that became one of the last great American family-owned medical publishers to succeed in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Charles B. Slack, Leo Buscaglia and Peter Slack in an undated photograph.

“Charles was a man with great vision and listened to everyone with equal respect regardless of age and experience,” said Wayne B. McCourt, Senior Director of Vindico Medical Education, a Wyanoke Group company. “He provided me with a great opportunity 36 years ago, to join a growing company that was destined to be the leaders in eye care publishing and education.”

For many years, Slack resided in Pitman, NJ, where he established Charles B. Slack Incorporated.

He established a medical publishing powerhouse and developed leading publications and educational activities that now represent more than 25 health care specialties. In addition, his company was the Central Office for more than 10 major medical specialty societies in their formative years including the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the American Gastroenterological Association and the American Federation for Clinical Research. Slack served as Executive Director for all these societies.

In those early days, the corporate headquarters was housed in various buildings in downtown Pitman.

In 1970, Slack and his wife Barbara acquired a building on Grove Road in Thorofare, NJ, where the headquarters is still housed today, although with a much larger and expanded footprint.

“He was a compassionate man who always offered a helping hand to those in need,” said Richard N. Roash, Slack’s nephew and a long-term employee of Charles B. Slack Incorporated and who served first as Executive Vice President of SLACK Incorporated and then later for the Wyanoke Group.

Slack’s entrepreneurial spirit was never more evident than when he met Leo Buscaglia, who became a bestselling author on topics related to love and the human spirit with over 50 million copies now in print worldwide. Although Slack had no consumer publishing experience, he was immediately impressed with Buscaglia’s message and agreed to publish his first book when no other publisher would. Barbara Slack was Buscaglia’s editor.

The Slack family shared a lifelong friendship with Buscaglia that far overshadowed their publishing partnership. The second building at the Thorofare headquarters became fondly known by employees as “the house that Leo built” but Charles and Barbara’s vision and hard work were critical in propelling Buscaglia’s popularity.

''Charles represents everything. I write the books and he takes it from there,'' Buscaglia said in a 1986 New York Times interview. “Charles is not just my publisher; he's a brother, and he and Barbara are my dear, dear friends. I've watched their kids grow, and we have a relationship that nothing could interfere with.''

Slack graduated from Rutgers University and served in the Air Force in Japan following the Korean War. He was President of the Pitman School Board; Founder of the Wise Men, a YMCA chapter in Pitman; and the President of the Vintage Club in Indian Wells, California, where he later resided.

“He always reminded me to have a positive attitude. He was a motivator,” said Denise Mealey, Senior Vice President of the Wyanoke Group.

“It was Charles’ vision and daring that made Charles B. Slack Incorporated, the incubator of specialty medicine organizations in the 1960s; that made us the house that Leo built in the 1970s and launched the publications in the 1980s that laid the foundation for SLACK and Wyanoke,” said John C. Carter, Chief Operating Officer of the Wyanoke Group.

He was the loving father of Walter Samuel Slack (Chari), Peter Neal Slack (Jill) and Susan Slack Budd (Robert) and grandfather to seven grandchildren. Peter Slack is the current CEO/President and owner of SLACK Incorporated and the Wyanoke Group.

“My life, personally and professionally, is better for having known Charles, and we, the employees of Wyanoke, and the professionals we serve, are the beneficiaries of his life's work. He will be missed,” Carter said.

“We never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make,” Leo Buscaglia wrote. “Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.” – by Joan-Marie Stiglich, ELS

Memorial donations can be made to the Leo Buscaglia Foundation, PO Box 265 Palos Verdes Estates, CA 902