Joseph “Ray” Sleek, age 83, of Helena, Ohio was well known and respected as the fiddle player, leader, and founding member of the Sleek Brothers Band for over 60 years. He passed peacefully surrounded by his loving wife and family in the afternoon of June 14, 2019.
Born July 10, 1935 in Imler, Pennsylvania, Ray was the oldest living son of the late William H. and Ardella I. (Ickes) Sleek. He was raised on the family farm in Kansas, Ohio and attended Risingsun schools. He was employed at various factories including Dolite Lime, Howard Zinks Company, and Sunshine Biscuit Company in Fremont, Ohio where he was a cheesemaker for 33 years until his retirement in 1997.
Ray stayed active playing music with his brothers, son and multiple friends. The successful band played for numerous events throughout the tri-state area and beyond. He also participated and won numerous fiddle contests over the years. Ray was an active member and served as head usher for many years at Shiloh U.M. Church in Helena.
Surviving Ray to cherish his life is his devoted and loving wife of 50 years, Suzanne “Sue” R. (Miller) Sleek; four children, Jim (Brenda) Sleek of Fremont, Brenda Frisby of Columbus, Ohio, Tanya (Doug) Lindsley of Dresden, Ohio and Angie (Kevin) Ruth of Helena; eight grandchildren, A.J. (Adysan) Sleek, Mandy (Brady) Shull, Amber (Brett) Gips, Billy Ruth, Abby Ruth, Nicole Lindsley, Kailey Lindsley, Derek Frisby; great-grandchildren, Brice, Bryleigh & Baylor Sleek, Blayne, Brynleigh & Blayke Shull and Brielle Gips; siblings Ada Mae Meyers of Bradner, Tony (Lola) Sleek of Millbury, Gene (Shirley) Sleek of Gibsonburg, Earl (Tammy) Sleek of Fostoria, Nancy Biddle and Ned Sleek, both of Kansas; a sister-in-law Sally Sleek of Fremont and brother-in-law Jim (Gail) Lash of Painesville, Ohio.
In addition to his parents, welcoming Ray into eternal life is his son, Alan Ray Sleek who died in 1959; sisters Goldie (Ned) Bowers, Dorothy Ickes and Lucy Sleek; brothers Wilbur, Raymond, Harry, Roy and Tex (Louise) Sleek.
Visitation will be Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 1-7p.m., at the Herman-Veh Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 319 W. Madison St., Gibsonburg. Services celebrating Ray’s life will be on Thursday, June 20, 11 a.m., at the Shiloh United Methodist Church where his closed casket will lie in state beginning at 10 a.m. Rev. John Ash and Rev. Glen Herman will officiate. Burial will be at Metzgar Cemetery, Helena.
Memorial contributions can be made to ProMedica Hospice, Shiloh United Methodist Church or to the donor’s choice.