Bluce Sloat, Master Hutsman, Master Innovator and Master Wit, set his spirit free on August 11, 2017. He was 86.
Bruce was an innovator, nature lover and traveler extraordinaire. Bruce was also a loving husband, a loving father and a lover of all things chocolate, bacon or cheese. Bruce was always happiest outside. So if you want to talk to him, that’s where you will find him.
Born in Pompton Lakes N.J. on November 16, 1930, Bruce escaped to the White Mountains at the age of 19. He worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club for over 20 years, where he was the Huts System Manager for 5. He was also Chief Observer at the Mount Washington Observatory for 5 years, and then tested jet engines on the top of Mount Washington. Bruce loved New Hampshire and the White Mountains, where he met Mary Edgerton, his beautiful wife of 55 years.
A loving father, Bruce raised 3 sons on a farm in Lost Nation, near Lancaster. He built 2 hydroelectric plants, the Sunnybrook Cider Mill and created the Sunnybrook Montessori School on the family farm.
Later in life, Bruce hand-built a cabin on top of nearby Mt. Mary, a mountain had the State of New Hampshire name after his wife. An avid traveler, Bruce explored the world. This included his recent trip to Spitsbergen Norway, close to the North Pole.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Mart Edgerton Sloat, his siblings Ben Sloat and Jeanne Schwartz; his son Willis, daughter-in-law Beth and their children Noah & Alex; his son Stuart and daughter-in-law Andrea.
A memorial service will be at ‘Kendal at Hanover’, 80 Lyme Rd, Hanover, NH 03755 on September 10th at 3:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to the Mount Washington Observatory or the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
I first heard the legend of Bruce Sloat in the spring of 1974, when I went to a croo orientation at Pinkham and was in the office. Bruce’s picture was on the wall with George Hamilton’s (“He was a titan, wrestling with the gods” was inscribed below George’s picture). Hutmen marvelled at the feats of engineering that Bruce designed for the huts including the ingenious plumbing systems in the high huts like Lakes and Madison. I saw Bruce a couple of times in those years (1974-78) when he came through the huts, usually on day hikes. But I was but a dweeb and not worthy of a real conversation with the great man. That was reserved for hutmasters like Tim Traver.
Many years later–maybe around 2005–I was skiing at Aspen (Vail?) and was lost in a huge parking lot, waiting for a ride. Along comes this really vigorous, upbeat older man in resort gear, and he offers “Do you need some help? You look a little lost!” I somehow recognized him, but couldn’t put a name to the face. Then I saw the name tag–face to face with the legend, Bruce Sloat! We had a really great conversation where he remembered the hut years and told me the tale of building his mountain house in the middle of the forest in NH, where he had some kind of special grandfathered status. He was a special guy!
Bruce took me on to the Pinkham Croo in October of 1966. It was one of those events that changed my life for the better and I am thankful to Bruce for taking me on. I hope his spirit rests easy over the mountains.