Ed Slavin, the fifth child and second son in a family of eight, was born into a working class Irish Catholic home at the start of 1933, in Youngstown, Ohio. Molded by the harshness of the times as national and worldwide depression touched "Steeltown," he turned inward for things that could not otherwise be supplied to meet his youthful longings. A craving for friends and a social life gave birth to his storytelling talents; a fancy for toys led him to make his own, including casting molds for little lead soldiers; and a need for someplace to keep his things developed his skill in working with wood and tools. Ed discovered many other talents on his way to manhood: carving, sculpting, furniture-making, and making molds, from which he could reproduce his carved and sculpted art work. His early need to earn a paycheck spurred him into completing high school one year before his peers, without compromising his ability to excel in sports; he lettered in swimming, diving, and ice skating while maintaining his standing on the honor roll. Outside of school, he helped supplement the family's food supply with fish and game, enjoying such "manly" activities at his father's side. For many years, Slavin made his living in the world of art: designing and creating stained glass church windows, bringing faded and crumbling statues to life, painting medieval scenes or designing castles. His attention to detail makes all his creations come to life, whether they be bronzed knights in full armor mounted on their trusty steeds, painted ladies-in-waiting and canvas damsels in distress, or paper heroes cavorting about Ireland's picturesque green hills. One of only two who achieved the status of Eagle Scout during that period in Ohio (the other one was John Glenn), Slavin mastered everything he turned his hand to, including toy-making-a skill that remains a joy to him to this day. When not being viewed as an over-sized leprechaun, Ed Slavin is easily seen as Santa's helper,
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