By Mike Barnhardt
Dr. Francis W. Slate has a key to the town of Mocksville. It was awarded to him last week at his 90th birthday celebration.
It’s no wonder. After all, he runs this town.
Slate is Mocksville’s mayor, and has been for the past 15 years. And he has a t-shirt with the slogan, “I run this town.” He wore it a few years ago while riding an oversized tricycle between professional bicycle races downtown.
And even though he’s 90, Slate is still going strong. He knows what is going on in Mocksville, and keeps a positive attitude about it’s future.
“You’ve got to pick your parents very carefully,” when asked about his long life, saying 50 percent is genetics. “The remaining 50 percent relies a lot on mental attitude. I’m basically an optimist ... being optimistic and having an ability to adapt to stress.”
He sees a doctor when he should. He’s been treated for more skin cancers than he likes to count. He survived postate cancer, and has a heart pacemaker.
He served two terms as county coroner, then as a county commissioner. He ran for mayor at the urging of former mayor Nick Mando, and has never lost an election.
“I enjoy being mayor. I love being mayor,” he said. “Mocksville has a bright future. I can only see good things happening in Mocksville.”
Slate came to Mocksville in a roundabout way - via South Africa, Florida and California.
He was born and raised in South Africa, and graduated from medical school there before working at two mission hospitals. It was at one of ...