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Obituaries

Wednesday, April 27, 2005; Page B06

Kenneth Burton Slater Cornetist, Conductor

Kenneth Burton Slater, 87, a retired cornetist and conductor involved in Washington area groups, died of a heart ailment April 14 at a hospital in Indianapolis. He moved to Indianapolis from Hagerstown in 1997.

Mr. Slater, who was born in Cohoes, N.Y., was a graduate of New York Military Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. His father was a euphonium soloist in Arthur Pryor's concert band.


Kenneth B. Slater conducted and played cornet in a variety of bands.

From 1937 to 1947, Mr. Slater played in the U.S. Marine Band, known as "the President's Own." He then spent a decade with the newly formed U.S. Army Field Band, based at Fort Meade.

During the 1950s, he conducted the Almas Temple Band in Washington. The group won the National Shrine Band competition in 1955.

He conducted the Hagerstown Municipal Band in the 1960s and early 1970s. In recent years, he was a frequent guest conductor of the Virginia Grand Military Band in Arlington.

Mr. Slater composed several works, including "Mohawk View" and "Almas on Parade."

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Evelyn Fey Slater of Indianapolis.

Jennifer Joy Tomkins Journalist

Jenny Tomkins, 50, real estate editor for the Washington Examiner and an international business reporter, died of a stroke April 24 at her home in Fairfax.

Mrs. Tomkins had worked for the Examiner since December. Previously she was with Bloomberg News and launched the Washington bureau of a German financial news wire service.

She was born in Manly, New South Wales, Australia, and spent her childhood on a sheep ranch before moving to Queensland. She graduated from Queensland University and went to work in 1978 in Hong Kong for Unicom News, the business wire of United Press International. Her father ran the Hong Kong Yacht Club.

In 1983, she was transferred to London, where she became the first female reporter on the floor of the London Metals Exchange before returning to Hong Kong with her husband, also a journalist.

Her family moved to the United States in 1991, where she opened the Washington bureau for Vereinigte Wirtschaftsdienste GmbH, the German financial news service. After a brief stint with Reuters news service, she joined Bloomberg News as an international trade reporter and covered the major trade initiatives of the Clinton administration.

She left Bloomberg and worked as a paralegal while raising her sons and volunteering with the Fairfax PTA, Cub Scouts and youth sports activities, before returning to daily journalism in December.

Survivors include her husband, Richard Tomkins, White House correspondent for UPI, of Fairfax; two sons, Nicholas Tomkins of Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and Patrick Tomkins of Fairfax; and a sister.

Steven D. Mitchell Programmer

Steven D. Mitchell, 48, formerly a programmer at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, died March 22 at his home in Arlington. The cause of death was kidney failure brought on by a lifelong struggle with Fabry's disease.

Mr. Mitchell was born in Washington and spent his childhood near Denver. At age 13, he returned to the area with his family, settling in Annandale. He graduated from W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax City and attended Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University. He learned programming at the now-defunct Computer Learning Center, earning his certificate in 1985.

He was with BlueCross BlueShield from 1985 to 2002.

Fabry's disease is a rare disorder caused by the deficiency of an enzyme in the biodegradation of fats. As an area resident, Mr. Mitchell was quick to participate in trials and experimental treatments at the National Institutes of Health. "He made himself a human pin cushion," his sister said.

He enjoyed building radio-controlled model airplanes and cars and built and raced sports cars at the Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. He won a special award there that described him as an "exceptional combination of car and driver."

His marriage to Deborah "Dana" Lehrer ended in divorce.

Survivors include his companion of nine years, Marianna Smith of Arlington; his mother, Elinor "Mace" Mitchell of Annandale; and his sister, Susan Swiatek of Fairfax City.


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