Donald Bruce “ Donnie” Slusher passed from this life and entered his eternal home into the arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on November 18, 2022 at his home, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Blacksnake Ky, the son of the late Gilbert Slusher and Seretta Hobbs Slusher. Donnie was preceded in death by 2 sisters, Glenna Slusher Noe and Donna Sue Green. Brother John Gilbert “Johnny” Slusher. Nephews John Wesley Slusher and Rodney Slusher.
Donnie attended Blackstar School where he was a stand out basketball player, averaging 34 pts per game. He then transferred to Bell County High School from which he graduated in 1961. He failed his physical to enter the Army during the Vietnam War and lived with the regret of that for the rest of his life. He then enrolled at Berea College where he majored in education and Math. Although he’d seen Thelma Simpson and fell in love with her years before, they officially met at a Christmas party in 1964. He would beg his sister Sue for her allowance money so he could come home and see the beautiful red head who had stolen his heart. He then transferred to LMU so he could be closer to home, but it wasn’t close enough. With only one semester of college left, they married on September 5, 1965 and moved to Cincinnati Ohio shortly after where he began working for GE. In 1971, they welcomed their first child, Karen. In 1973, his lifelong friend Don Arnett had won the Jailer position and called and offered Donnie a job as well as a home in the apartment in the jail, so in December of 1973, they came home to Pineville. They lived there until 1977 and then moved into their forever home on Laurel Street. Dad was the Assistant Bell County Jailer from 1973-1981, when he ran for office against his boss and was fired for it. He lost the race that year and went into business owning and operating Slusher’s Grocery on Hwy 119 in the Blackmont area with his brother Johnny. In 1982, they welcomed their second daughter, Kimberly. In 1985, he once again ran for Jailer and was elected for the first of 3 terms. He worked a total of 20 years there and retired from the State of Kentucky in 1998. He believed in being kind and trying to help everyone and had helped many who came through those doors turn their lives around. He was so kind, caring and compassionate and was loved by many. He couldn’t stand for the inmates to not have anything for Christmas, so every year, he would buy cases of fruit, nuts and candy and line the kitchen floor with brown paper bags and as a family, we all pitched in to make treat bags for every inmate.
Once retired, he began woodworking and sold many items to Levi Jackson State Park for them to sell in their gift shop. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved our beautiful mountains and everything in them. He loved to deer hunt and judging by his many trophies, he was very good at it. He also enjoyed turkey hunting, squirrel hunting, grouse hunting and fishing, especially with all of his family. He loved to teach others, including his girls, how to hunt, fish and what plants, berries and other things they could survive on if ever the need. He has planted thousands of pecan, oak, chestnut, walnut, beech and apple trees throughout the mountains in and around Bell County. He wanted the animals to have plentiful food, especially in areas that had been logged or mined. He wanted his children and grandchildren, future generations, to have good hunting areas. He built hundreds of bird houses and duck nests and hung them all over Mountain Drive. He also used his own money and stocked what is now called “the catfish pond” near the new Boone’s Ridge Building is going, as well as a couple of other ponds on Mountain Drive with catfish. He would also drive and throw out sunflower seeds and other flower seeds for the bees and birds. In late summer, the yellow flowers on Mountain Drive that seem to blanket the mountain top, came from him.
He was a humble, kind, caring, compassionate, loving man, who loved his wife, his daughters, and grandchildren fiercely yet tenderly, always helping, always teaching, always there. His absence has left a hole that nothing could fill not only for his immediate family, but his extended family, friends and community. He was humble, and would often say, do not let the left hand know what the right is doing as he donated to many organizations for many years. He would even donate his state income tax back to the State of Ky Fish and Wildlife Department. He was a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation since the early 80’s and he’d researched how elk were native to our area and began writing letters to them about restocking them in Eastern Ky. The whole elk restoration effort could have been his idea and he loved nothing more than to see a majestic bull close to home. His last trip to Mountain Drive he was blessed to see 2 large bulls sparring and another looking on accompanied by a beautiful sunset lighting the beautiful Autumn leaves.
He was a firm believer in Jesus Christ and The Golden Rule. He had attended Wassiota Baptist Church and was Baptized there, along with his wife, in October of 2001.
He will be deeply missed by many, but in these mountains and in the hearts of his family and all who knew and loved him, he will live on forever.
Left to mourn his passing is the love of his life, best friend and partner in everything for nearly 58 years, Thelma Simpson Slusher, Daughters Karen Slusher and Kimberly Slusher Day and husband Daniel, grand children Emily Potts Tolliver and husband Chase, Mylee Schaefer, Davin Day and Driver Day. Sister Betty Woodcock of Deerpark Ohio, Brother Bob Slusher of Pathfork, Ky. Sisters in law Erleta Simpson Bingham of Hances Creek Ky, Donna Centers Slusher of Blacksnake, Ky. Brother in law Charles Simpson of Hances Creek, Ky. And a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Per his wishes, he was cremated by Brooks-Durham Funeral Home, Pineville. Memorial services will be announced at a later date. The Brooks-Durham funeral home is honored to be serving the Slusher family and ask that you keep them in your prayers.