Mallory A. Slaby Rafson of Algoma, passed away Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at her home, from a fall resulting in a fatal head injury. She had just turned 56 on her St. Patrick’s Day birthday. Mallory was the daughter of Joan (Orsted) Slaby and Fredric A. Slaby. She was raised in the Fish Creek area.
Mallory loved sailing, skiing and animals (especially dogs).
From age five on, she and her sister, Cindi spent most of their free time in winter downhill skiing at Nor Ski Ridge. Her love of animals started with a Golden Retriever and then a Samoyed puppy. This dog was beautiful, but never did what you wanted him to do. Undaunted, Mallory took Duffy to the county fair and entered him in the Obedience Competition. As I held my breath and said my prayers, Mallory and Duffy Dog placed first! Hard to believe but have the Advocate photo. She also loved to compete in shows with her pony, Sugar, and had many trophies on display in her bedroom. Also enjoyed doing the barrel races held in Egg Harbor on the 4th of July. Then it was time for Mister Cody Bug, her registered quarter horse. He lost out when Mallory turned 16 and got a car.
Life was not all play. Before being able to drive, Mallory always helped her dad at Ray’s Cherry Hut, the family business. She also worked at Thumb Fun Amusement Park. When able to drive, she worked at Voight’s Supper Club after her day shift at the Hut. Phil and Rosemary Voight were super nice to work for and Mallory really appreciated them. She also went back to some bartending/waitressing in later life.
After graduation from Gibraltar High School, she attended The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design for a year and decided photography was not for her. She again helped her dad run the Cherry Hut and in winter did a stint working at a Colorado ski resort and another winter was spent on her sailboat in the Florida Keys. Mallory spent a lot of time in her youth on two racing sailboats that Dr. Stoll and Fran (close friends of her mother) kept in the Fish Creek Harbor. Mallory loved sailing with them and the attraction to sailboats continued for the rest of her life. In her late twenties, she and her crew, on her sailboat “Tomahawk”, competed in the “Hook” Race, and of course, had really foul weather when going through “Death’s Door”. Nothing was easy. After this time period, she graduated from Martin School of Hair Design in Green Bay, followed up with courses in London and Toronto to become a hair color specialist. “Tomahawk” got sold and she bought a small house in Sturgeon Bay where she leased it out and worked at Erik of Norway in Mequon and Malcome of London in Milwaukee.
Mallory met and married David Larson of Larson Productions at a winter ceremony in Connecticut. They purchased a home in Glendale which sold when they divorced. Then it was on to Chicago working at Salon Blonde and a marriage to Rob Rafson, a professional engineer. The marriage took place at the Corinthian Yacht Club with vows taken on their sailboat. Rob had been sailing all his life and Mallory was thrilled to be part of his crew on one of the Mac Races. During their marriage they did extensive traveling, usually with sailing involved, when possible. Eventually they divorced, but remained good friends until her death, as she did with her ex, David Larson.
On her return to Door County, she purchased the original “Zettel” homestead in the middle of Maplewood. One day while grocery shopping in town, she ran into Tony Demarinis who was a family friend. From that day they dated, and eventually resided together in her home and ended up engaged and together for over 12 years. Nine years ago, they found her a miniature poodle/terrier puppy dog, who they named “Jacque” and he became the love of her life. Tony and Mallory enjoyed life together whether at home, on vacation or out on his boat. Tony really was into tuna fishing in Venice, Louisiana, and in May of last year decided to reside there. Mallory did not want to relocate there, as did not favor the heat and humidity. At this point, her mother encouraged her to sell the Maplewood property and find a smaller home in Algoma, when she did. So, in October, she, and little spoiled Jacque, made the move to their new location. Mallory always had an affinity for Algoma, as her grandfather, Ray Slaby, Sr., had grown up in the Hotel Stebbins, which is parents owned. Mallory and Tony still kept in touch every day. So sad she did not get to enjoy her new home for very long.
She will be missed by all her Orsted, Biwer, Zahn and Hussong cousins, distant relatives, and friends. Also, by Darrel in Algoma, who was a friend, handyman and someone Mallory trusted to take care of Jacque and when she and Tony were on vacation.
I wish to give a big “thank you” to the two young officers from the Door County Sheriffs Department who came into my living room and informed me of Mallory’s death on Wednesday, April 5th. They were caring and understanding as I felt the bottom had just fallen out of my world. How hard it must be for them to do this again and again in their field of work.
To end with, Mallory was a quick witted, interesting woman who could also be opinionated and outspoken. And yes, she could be a “Drama Queen”. Under that façade, she had a caring, loving heart that was easily hurt. She had her ups and downs and at times, if there was trouble around, she would find it. Mallory was a gourmet cook, but when visiting mom, always requested a simple meatloaf to take home and bake in her oven. She had great fashion sense and usually had hair and makeup done before leaving the house. Most evenings she and her mom would text each other before going to bed—just a simple nite & hugs (with a dog and heart emoji). So, my beautiful daughter, nite & hugs forever! Mallory died with her small longitude and latitude pendant on a chain around her neck. We hope that will guide her to a special place in Heaven.
Survivors include her parents, Fred Slaby of Luxemburg, and Joan Slaby (fiancé, Dennis McGrath) of Egg Harbor; sister, Cindy (Harry) Jacques of Green Bay; dear friend, cousin, and mentor, Gale Zahn of Baileys Harbor; her precious miniature poodle, Jacque; and aunt, Joyce Hussong of Pennsylvania.
Funeral services will be held at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, April 15, 2023, at Huehns Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay with Rev. Gary Scharrig officiating. (Mallory was raised in the Catholic faith.) The burial will be at Baileys Harbor Town Cemetery later this year.
Friends may call at Huehns Funeral Home on Saturday, April 15, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. until the time of service at 5:00 p.m.
Memorials may be directed to the Wisconsin Humane Society-Door County Campus in her memory.
Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay, WI is assisting Mallory’s family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Mallory may be shared with her family through her tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mallory Anne (Slaby) Rafson, please visit our floral store.
Wisconsin Humane Society - Door County Campus
3475 Park Drive, Sturgeon Bay WI 54235