Yakima Doctor's Life Celebrated

May 01, 2014 | Jay Wintermeyer

A celebration of life service was held for Jay Randall Sloop on April 26 at the Yakima Church. Family and friends packed 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, Wash., he 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," said Randal Sloop, Jay's son. "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," says Jenny Sloop, Jay's granddaughter. "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, Texas. In 1952 the family moved again, this time to Lincoln, Neb., where Sloop started college at Union College when he was just 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, Calif. The twins, Rick and Randy, were born in Los Angeles. The following year the family moved to La Grande, Ore., where Jay practiced family medicine for two years. Jay returned to Los Angeles for an obstetrics-gynecology residency in 1964.

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.

Jay and Sharlene and their three boys moved to Yakima in 1969, and this has been home for 45 years. Jay practiced obstetrics and gynecology 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.

Jay retired from his practice in 2005 and began working as the Upper Columbia Conference health ministries director.

Jay went to Serbia and Ukraine for three weeks in early May 2013 on a medical mission trip. 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; son Richard and his wife, Linda, of Yakima; son Randal and his wife, Christine, of Paradise, Calif.; son Gregory and his wife, Lisa, of Portland, Ore.; sister Joyce Wasylyshen and her husband, Gerald, of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada; six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

The Upper Columbia Conference plans to install a walking trail on its Spokane campus in honor of Jay’s commitment to and love for an active lifestyle. It will be called the Jay Sloop Trail.