Traci M. Slingerland-Lee

BERNE — As a mother of three and a strong athlete, Traci M. Slingerland-Lee had a determination about having a good time, whether she was partying or relaxing with her boys at home.

“A rock. She was there to make sure everything was set and ready for whatever we had prepared or doing,” said her eldest son, Brandon Lee.

Traci M. Slingerland-Lee died on Sunday, April 28, 2013, at home, surrounded by her loving family. She was 48.

Mr. Lee listed softball, bowling, basketball, and track and field among the sports his mother played in high school at Berne-Knox-Westerlo. Ms. Slingerland-Lee continued bowling and softball in her later years, and played on a softball league with co-workers at the New York State Thruway Authority.

Her nickname, “Animal,” came from her high school days, with her reputation as an aggressive athlete and partier.

“If there was a party to be had, she was either going to go to it or throw it,” said Mr. Lee.

With friends and family and a night of NASCAR or a baseball game on television, Ms. Slingerland-Lee had no rules and made home-cooked foods, like mac-and-cheese or chicken parmesan. She always wanted to keep people happy, Mr. Lee said, and had a common phrase: “Life — she’s good.”

“It was just like, having a good time. I guess that would be the rule. It was just eat, and drink, and be merry,” said her son.

Ms. Slingerland-Lee was born on Oct. 24, 1964, the daughter of James and Dolores (née Duell) Slingerland in Albany. 

In South Berne, she grew up with several siblings and took on responsibility within the family at a young age. Her mother remarried Joseph Curro, and Mr. Lee guessed he and his caring grandmother had an influence on his mother being hospitable to anyone, good or bad.

“They were really great, solid people and she looked up to those two a lot,” Mr. Lee said of his grandparents.

After high school, Ms. Slingerland-Lee took classes to become a clerk. She eventually worked as a filing clerk for the state’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Board.

She married Mr. Lee’s father, Rick Lee, in 1990. The two grew up down the road from one another in Berne. They were later divorced, and Rick Lee died in a car accident in 1997.

“I know she loved him to pieces,” said her son.

Though she was often ready for a party, Ms. Slingerland-Lee, an anchor in the house, enjoyed relaxing at home. Her favorite television shows were The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless.

“She was a loving fiancée, mother, sister and friend,” her family wrote in a tribute. “She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.”

In 1996, Ms. Slingerland-Lee met her fiancé, Keith Pepicelli, when the two worked at Newkirk Products Inc., a financial and health-care marketing communications company. They had two sons.

“Those are the apples of her eye, my little brothers, Alex and Noah,” said Mr. Lee.

Mr. Lee described his mother as stubbornly happy

“She’ll just be missed by everybody for being a super caring, fun-loving, supernova of a woman,” said Mr. Lee.


Traci M. Slingerland-Lee is survived by her fiancé, Keith Pepicelli; her children, Brandon Lee and his girlfriend, Erica, Noah Pepicelli, Alex Pepicelli, and Kayla Pepicelli; her siblings, Laura Slingerland Casey and her husband, Bill, Kenneth Slingerland and his wife, Doreen, Scott Slingerland and his wife, Linda, Ron Slingerland, Mike Slingerland and his wife, Lindy, Joel Curro and his wife, Faye, Jeff Curro, James Slingerland Jr., and William Slingerland Jr.; and several nieces and nephews.

Her father, Joseph Curro, died before as did her parents, James and Dolores Slingerland.

Calling hours will be held at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont, on Friday, May 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at the South Berne Cemetery. 

Mourners may go online to

— Marcello Iaia

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