by Jay Wintermeyer
YAKIMA, Wash., 4/26/2014 - A celebration of life service was held for Dr. Jay Randall Sloop April 26 at the Yakima Seventh-day Adventist Church. Family and friends packed out the church to remember the gentle, fun loving and godly doctor who disappeared in May, 2013 while helping to set up two lifestyle clinics in Ukraine.
In the words of Jay’s son, Greg Sloop, “We are left without him in our lives right now…[We want] to remember who he is and was, what things were important to him and reminisce on the time he spent with us.” And that’s exactly what people did.
The emotional service featured musical tributes and shared memories from family members, friends and colleagues. Jay is remembered for his love of God, family and people. Over the years, in addition to delivering thousands of children in Yakima, he has aided countless people in crafting a holistic lifestyle – blending Christian faith and health.
The service reflected Jay's life with more laughter than tears. "Growing up, I remember asking my father why he wasn't ticklish," Randal Sloop, Jay's son said. "He told us he had four sisters."
The family says Saturday was about remembering the life of an amazing man. "I'm thankful for the stories we have to tell," Jenny Sloop, Jay's granddaughter said. "And I may be biased but I think he was best grandpa there ever was."
Jay was born in Caldwell, Idaho. He was the fourth child in the J. Randall and Faye Sloop family.
In 1948, when Jay was 13 years old, the family moved from Caldwell to Keene, TX and in 1952 the family moved again, this time to Lincoln, NE where Jay started college at Union College while he was still 16.
Jay met his future wife Sharlene at Union College in 1955. Sharlene remembers her first plane ride on “college day” when Jay invited her for a ride. She was impressed, although the roar of the engine didn’t encourage much conversation.
On May 27, 1956 Jay graduated from college as president of his class. And at four o’clock that afternoon he and Sharlene were married. Jay was 20. Imagine his chagrin when, by the laws of the state of Nebraska, he could not sign for his own marriage license. His Mother and Dad seemed amused but happily signed for him. That fall, Jay started medical school at the College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma Linda University).
After graduating from medical school in 1960 Jay took a year of internship followed by one year of Internal Medicine Residency at the White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. The twins, “Rick” and “Randy” were born in Los Angeles and then the following year the family moved to LaGrande, Oregon where Jay practiced family medicine for two years. In 1964 Jay returned to Los Angeles for an OB/GYN residency.
Midway through the residency Jay was drafted into the Air Force and subsequently stationed at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock Texas where he and the family spent the next two years. Jay was the only OB/GYN on base. A third son, Gregory, was born in Texas.
In 1969 Jay and Sharlene and their 3 boys moved to Yakima and this has been home for 45 years. Jay practised OB/GYN in Yakima from 1969 to 2005. Obstetrics was the part he loved the most - despite the nights in the hospital delivering babies when others were sleeping.
In 2005 Jay retired from the practice of medicine and began working as the Director of Health Ministries for the Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Jay went to Serbia and Ukraine for three weeks in early May 2013 on a medical mission trip. However, on May 14, 2013 he disappeared during his morning walk in Kiev. Despite an intensive search, nothing has turned up in the year since his disappearance.
Jay’s family includes Sharlene, his wife of 56 years; sons Richard (Linda) of Yakima, Randal (Christine) of Paradise, CA, and Gregory (Lisa) of Portland, OR; a sister Joyce (Gerald) Wasylyshen of Lacombe Alberta, Canada, six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
The Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists have plans to install a walking trail on their Spokane campus in honor of Jay’s commitment to and love for an active lifestyle. It will be called the Jay Sloop Trail.