LAKE DALLAS — Friends and co-workers of Roz Sleigh, 65, said she never wanted them to take pity on her just because she was diagnosed with cancer six years ago.
The Lake Dallas police officer died New Year’s Eve and her memorial starts at 2 p.m. Thursday at Lake Cities United Methodist Church in Lake Dallas.
Co-workers called Sleigh a friend, stating she had a good sense of humor and loved to volunteer to help others in need. They also mentioned that Sleigh had a love for animals that she regularly displayed.
“She had about four rescue dogs,” said City Secretary Joni Vaughn, who knew Sleigh for approximately 15 years. “She was always looking to help animals in need.”
The 20-year veteran of the police department, known for her dedication to her job and love of animals, never let the cancer affect her performance or attitude.
Vaughn said Sleigh rarely talked about her cancer or let it interfere with her job.
“She didn’t discuss it. She was a real trooper,” Vaughn said. “We will miss her very much.”
Lake Dallas employees held a luncheon to honor Sleigh for her 20 years of service to the city in August. A few days before her death in December, Sleigh went on medical leave.
“She started getting weaker toward the end,” said Communications Supervisor Gail Hall, who knew Sleigh for about 14 years.
Hall said employees kept Sleigh in their prayers and sent her support as her health began to fade.
“We were concerned when she went on leave,” she said. “She was supposed to retire next month, so it’s sad that she didn’t get to enjoy that time with her husband and kids.”
According to her obituary, Sleigh is survived by her husband of 24 years, Ben Sleigh, who also is an officer with the Lake Dallas Police Department.
She and her husband had six children: Holly Cheshier, Amber Knupp, Robin Conway, Bryan Sleigh, Brad Sleigh and Chris Sleigh. Sleigh also had 29 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
She graduated from Dallas’ Woodrow Wilson High School in 1965 and moved to Hickory Creek in 1977.
During her time in the Lake Cities area, she served on the volunteer fire department and she also worked for the Denton County Sheriff’s Office as a 911 dispatcher for two years.
She then joined the Lake Dallas Police Department, beginning a 20-year career in which she served as a dispatcher, secretary to the police chief, police officer and records manager.
Lake Dallas City Hall will close at 1:30 p.m. Thursday so employees can attend the memorial.
The building will reopen at 3:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers for the family, donations may be made in Sleigh’s honor to the Lake Dallas Animal Shelter through the Lake Dallas Police Department or to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org .
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .