Bob Slocum, the voice of North Carolina's forest products industry for 24 years, died Tuesday in Raleigh at 62.
Over his tenure, the N.C. Forestry Association grew to nearly 4,000 members, one of the largest such groups in the country. Slocum lobbied the N.C. legislature and served on commissions and task forces, defending his industry and private property rights -- and frequently irritating environmental advocates.
I first encountered Bob in the early 1990s as controversy raged over chip mills and clear-cut logging in North Carolina's national forests. He was a forceful, knowledgeable advocate for his industry, but always a gentleman. At left, he's with Gov. Perdue at last year's Forestry Day at the legislature.
Among his top achievements the association lists is 2005's "Right to Practice Forestry" legislation, which limited local governments' control of forestry operations done under forest management plans or on property taxed as timberland. He also oversaw development of the association's ProLogger training program and forestry education programs for public schools.
A career forester, he graduated from N.C. State University with a forestry management degree. He's survived by his wife, Linda, and three adult sons.