Judith “Judi” Anne Slajer, longtime Ketchikan resident, fisherwoman, and first woman to manage an Alaska borough, passed away on April 21, 2022. 

A local government pioneer, Judi was respected for her integrity, prudence, and practical leadership as she helped establish efficient, effective, and transparent financial operations in governments across the state.  

Born on July 29, 1941, in Grayling, MI, to Horace Gray Sabine and Margaret Veronica Scherer, Judi grew up in Leavenworth, WA, where her father worked for the U.S. Forest Service and her mother taught at the local school. After her father died suddenly when Judi was nine, the family moved to southern California where she attended college and met her first husband, also a forester, Charles Slajer. 

The newlyweds moved to Ketchikan in 1962, where Judi began her local government career as the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Clerk, the newly incorporated borough’s first employee. After years of service, Judi was promoted to become Alaska’s first-ever woman borough manager. During her tenure, Judi was responsible for everything from helping to establish the municipal code and administering local elections to implementing Ketchikan’s first airport master plan and arranging school construction financing, including school swimming pools! 

At 38, Judi moved to Fairbanks with her two daughters to finish her degree in business administration at the University of Alaska. In 1982, Judi was hired as the Municipality of Anchorage’s budget director where she was at the center of an initiative to reshape the state’s largest city with ambitious municipal projects such as the Performing Arts Center, Sullivan Arena, and Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.  

She met her second husband, longtime Fairbanks resident and fellow UAF grad Tom Rosadiuk in 1986 and returned to Fairbanks to teach governance courses in rural Alaska before joining the Fairbanks North Star Borough as chief financial officer, until her 1998 retirement. 

Throughout her career, Judi collaborated with her local government colleagues across Alaska to create important and lasting institutions such as the Alaska Association of Municipal Clerks, Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority, and Alaska Municipal League Investment Pool. Judi continued to serve on multiple boards in retirement, most recently the Alaska Retired Public Employees Association. Although she avoided public accolades, the recognition she received from the Alaska Municipal League’s outstanding contribution award, a coveted national designation as a certified municipal clerk, and 2020 induction into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame touched her deeply. 

 

Southeast remained close to Judi’s heart and motivated her and Tom to make their retirement home in Dora Bay, Prince of Wales Island, spending the long summer days fishing. They divided their winter months between La Conner, WA, and Kona, HI.  

Judi’s dry wit and wisdom will be missed. She is survived by her husband, Tom Rosadiuk, her brother Robert Gray (Kathleen) Sabine, daughters Veronica Slajer (Jack Ferguson) and Franczeska (Rob) Ostrander, grandchildren Duncan (Lily), Charlotte and Oscar Ferguson, Sarah, Claire and Robert Ostrander, and Tom’s sons David (Barbara) Rosadiuk, Ward (Colleen Mondor) and Stuart Rosadiuk, grandchildren Valerie (Rosadiuk) Swansiger, Felina (Rosadiuk) Kelly, Jack Rosadiuk and Pierce Rosadiuk, and nine great grandchildren.    

In honor of Judi’s commitment to effective local governance, donations may be made to the Alaska Municipal League Judith A. Slajer Education Fund, akml.org/about/donate, to provide continuing education opportunities for municipal clerks.