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Staff photo by Don Himsel

Hudson man Scott Slattery, left, is remembering his late brother Sean this week, 10 years after he died during a vacation with his family at Disneyworld.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brother recalls Sean Slattery, 10 years after his tragic death at Disney World

HUDSON – School vacation in April often brings rest and relaxation, but it only stirs tragic memories for Scott Slattery and his family.

Ten years ago Wednesday, Slattery received a call that his brother, Sean, was missing. A day later, divers pulled Sean Slattery’s body from the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney World. He was vacationing with his wife, Megan, and his four young children. He was 36.

“It was every family’s worst nightmare,” Scott Slattery said in an interview Tuesday.

Sean Slattery had been drinking when he fell off the pier – fully clothed in a suit, his brother said – and into the man-made lagoon on the night of April 25, 2002. Police called it an accidental drowning.

Sean Slattery was a Nashua native and third-generation teacher, having followed his mother and grandmother into the profession.

He taught social studies at Alvirne High School for six years.

Scott has carried on a scholarship in his brother’s name ever since.

“He was everybody’s favorite teacher,” Scott said. “He made history and social studies fun.”

Scott, 43, still has many letters from his brother’s former students, who recall memories of Mr. Slattery and his quirky ties.

“He was a terrible dresser,” Scott said, smiling. “His ties never matched his clothes. He wore corduroys in the summer.”

Scott added his mother’s name, Judith Slattery, to the scholarship after she died six months following Sean’s death. Scott said she was “never the same” after that day.

“It’s an accident that changed our lives forever,” Scott said.

The family will be together this week to remember Sean and visit his grave at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Hudson.

“We’ll cook a meal, sit around the house and talk a bit,” Scott said. “Those things you take for granted, you don’t take for granted anymore. Life’s too short. It’s not just something I say. I know.”

The family is planning a larger gathering this summer to remember Sean and raise donations for his scholarship fund. Scott said friends can look for details on the “Friends of Sean Slattery” Facebook page.

The Judith and Sean Slattery Memorial Scholarship is given out each spring to a graduating senior entering the field of education or teaching. Donations from family and friends keep the fund going, Scott said, and they give out $500 or $1,000, depending on how much is in the account.

Scott said the time spent together is especially important to his brother’s four children, who were all younger than 10 when he died.

Sean Slattery left behind three sons – Padraic, now 19, Peter, 16, and Kieran, 13 – and one daughter, Katherine, 11. Kieran and Katherine live with their mother, Megan, in Merrimack, while Padraic and Peter live with Sean Slattery’s first wife, Alexandra Pineros, in Salem, Mass.

“There are days they remember and smile, and days when they remember and cry,” Scott said. “Just remembering and thinking, that’s all we can ever ask of them. He would be very proud of his children and the young men and woman they’ve become.”

Scott said he and his brother were always close, but they grew even closer when their father, James, who ran Nashua Wallpaper Co., died in 1983, the same year Sean graduated from Nashua High School.

“I have always wanted to be like him,” Scott said. “I still look for his guidance as my older brother.”

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or