Educators remember Sliman’s generosity

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times The Sliman family gathers Monday at the Steele High School media center to receive an award on behalf of the late Peter Sliman.

Barbra Sliman and Ron Yacobozzi share fond memories of Peter Sliman.

Philanthropist Peter Sliman was remembered Monday night as a man who never shrank from a chance to give back to his community.

“He was a guy who had such tremendous compassion for everybody around him. He had a passion for life. He always had a smile on his face,” said Amherst board of education vice president Ron Yacobozzi, who considered Sliman to be like a father.

He presented a memorial plaque to about 20 family members who attended the board’s monthly meeting.

Its twin will hang at the high school for all to see.

“I always remember Pete as a tremendous individual who cared for everybody and always gave back,” Yacobozi told Sliman’s descendants. “He taught you well, all of you.”

The award was given posthumously following Peter’s death May 15. His wife of 60 years, Barbra, accepted the honor from Amherst educators.

“He enjoyed doing what he could do for the school,” she said.

With Peter’s leadership, the Slimans have pledged tens of thousands of dollars to the school system over the course of decades.

He was responsible for the construction of the Steele football stadium in 1970, working for two months on end to oversee the project.

Most recently, the family gave roughly $20,000 to build a softball diamond next to Powers Elementary.

District superintendent Steven Sayers thanked the Slimans for years of support of both academic and athletic programs.

“Your community-minded approach to things is just wonderful and I want to let everybody know how much you are appreciated. You’re what Amherst is all about,” he said.

Board member Bob Kamnikar said he never had a chance to meet Peter Sliman, but spoke of the legacy he passed down through his family members and how they continue to reach out to residents who are hurting.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.